Heading to TCF Conference

Heading to TCF Conference

This weekend, July 9 to 12, is The Compassionate Friends of America National Conference, held this year in Dallas Texas. I have never been to Dallas before but it will be my second year at the conference. Last time I presented on the use of art and creativity in healing after the death of a child. This year I am leading two workshops on rejuvenating the bereavement leader and volunteer. Knowing what to expect, I will carry my package of tissue to all the sessions. It is an emotion filled conference. The Compassionate Friends do a great job of creating an atmosphere where people can be themselves, grieve, celebrate and find community. If you have never heard of The Compassionate Friends, click here to learn more about them. What makes them unique is that they...

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Remembering Ruby: Guest Post by Sara Kalke

Remembering Ruby: Guest Post by Sara Kalke

I am pleased to introduce Sara Kalke. It is an honor for me to share Sara’s story here on Wanted Chosen Planned. I met Sara over three years ago shortly after her daughter Ruby passed away. We had an instant connection based on our losses and now I am proud to call her friend. I invited Sara to share her story here on Wanted Chosen Planned and I’m honored she agreed. Welcome Sara! Sara’s Story  My daughter, Ruby Jayne, weighed 6 pounds 10 ounces when she was born.  She had beautiful dark curly hair.  She had ten fingers and ten toes.  She had her daddy’s nose and my lips.  She filled my arms just like a newborn should.  She fit perfectly into the pink onesie I had ready for her in my hospital bag.  She looked sweet and kind and full of the...

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Encouraging Quotes

Encouraging Quotes

Every once and a while it is lovely to read quotes that inspire reflection and ignite revelation. As I put together this list of five quotes that spoke to me, I came away with the strong sense that: Blessings can be found in our sorrows. I have seen this to be true in my own life. I never would have imagined being thankful for all I have learned from Zachary’s death, but I have grown a great deal as a person as a result. Yes, I want my son back every day, but I see that I have discovered so many gifts in this life post-loss. My son helped me find my voice as a writer and artist. He helped me appreciate my living children and life in general. He gave me a mission: to support people like myself who are forced to live this “new normal” after loss. Zachary helped me...

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Happy Father’s Day to all Dads

Happy Father’s Day to all Dads

Dads: you matter. Your children, all of them, even the ones that have died, even if that was your only child: they matter. Love is the bond that holds us all together. Love is unbreakable, is unchanging and never lost – even after death. Happy Father’s Day to all dads! Today is for you. Please comment below and share your story. Or join the discussion on Twitter using the hashtags #stilladad and #babyloss. My handle is @_Alexis_Marie – I look forward to celebrating with you. Share on...

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How to Celebrate Bereaved Dads on Father’s Day

How to Celebrate Bereaved Dads on Father’s Day

Bereaved dads don’t get enough support – and our society doesn’t encourage them to ask for it when they need it. My husband Aaron grieved so differently than me. We were night and day. I was open, crying, needing to talk about our loss all the time, and could not focus on day to day concerns; they were meaningless to me for so long. For Aaron on the other hand, he shoved his emotions down and threw himself into his work. He didn’t talk about Zachary very often, if ever, unless I brought him up. He said all the right things to me, but was disassociated from our loss and our relationship. This was his way of coping. It was an extremely challenging time for us both. I have learned that the typical male and female grief patterns are not right and wrong in themselves,...

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It’s not too late to participate in Celebrating Sweeties

It’s not too late to participate in Celebrating Sweeties

I am always encouraged to see the children remembered on the Celebrating Sweeties page here on Wanted Chosen Planned. Their faces and names remind me why I write this blog and encourage me to keep going with my passion for baby-loss advocacy. All our children matter. Celebrating Sweeties is an ongoing project and I welcome anyone to participate. If you would like your child celebrated, please email me at info@alexismariechute.com Send me your child’s name, birthday and a photo if you have one. A picture is not required. “I thought I would have to teach my child about the world. It turns out I have to teach the world about my child.” -Anonymous   Share on...

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Today’s Parent Wins Editorial Package Award for Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Campaign

Today’s Parent Wins Editorial Package Award for Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss Campaign

I am happy to announce that the online campaign on Today’s Parent Magazine, called: Miscarriage and Pregnancy Loss, has won a National Magazine Award for Best Editorial Package. The campaign features the stories of three mothers who suffered from the loss of a baby at various stages of pregnancy. I highly encourage everyone to read the stories and articles featured in the campaign. One of the three stories featured in the campaign is mine – the story of how I lost my son Zachary, from the excitement of first discovering I was pregnant to the moment he passed away in my arms. My story is told through an interview with me combined with an overarching narrative. “My husband and I both held Zachary skin to skin, which was really important to us. We only had...

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What books have you found helpful?

What books have you found helpful?

Books can be tremendously helpful after loss. When we read the stories of others – in memoirs, blogs and personal essays – we can feel less alone in our own experiences. Self-help books do just what the category name suggests – they help us get out of the rut we cannot seem to escape on our own.   I love books. On the journey after the death of a child, they can be great companions. What books have you found helpful? I have added a new section to the resources on Wanted Chosen Planned. You guessed it: a BOOK LIST! Happy reading!     Share on...

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Good Grief, It’s Mother’s Day

Good Grief, It’s Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms!  You know who you are – never question your motherhood, no matter how society might make you feel. Nurture and care for yourself today. You are special and worthy of celebration.   I was speaking with my own mother just a few days ago and we agreed that it is not the duration of the child’s life that matters. The love, the bond and the connection – that is what counts, what lingers long after loss.     When I saw this children’s book as I dug through the bookshelf with my living kids, I was immediately halted by the title. Good Grief, It’s Mother’s Day! The Peanuts book is based on the comic strip by Charles M. Schulz. The book shows all the Peanut characters and their beliefs about the day, and their sometimes kooky...

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Exciting Updates: CTV & Shaw TV Features, Curious Arts, Brave New Normal Documentary, Today’s Parent, and the Yeggies Awards Night (Now that’s a mouthful!)

Exciting Updates: CTV & Shaw TV Features, Curious Arts, Brave New Normal Documentary, Today’s Parent, and the Yeggies Awards Night (Now that’s a mouthful!)

Spring is a busy time of year – are you feeling it as well? There are a lot of exciting updates here at Wanted Chosen Planned that I’m eager to share with you.   CTV Feature on Wanted Chosen Planned – Airs Thursday, May 7, 2015 I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Dez Melenka and her cameraman, Mike, from CTV. The interview discussed Wanted Chosen Planned and the need for community for bereaved parents. They also filmed me photographing Tara, a bereaved local Mom, for my art project called The Quiet Rebuild – Portraits of Healing. Tara was also able to share her story.   The feature will be promoted this Wednesday night (May 6) and aired on Thursday, May 7 at 6:00pm during the evening news.   Shaw TV Feature on BRAVE NEW NORMAL...

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“Brave New Normal” Documentary, View the Trailer Today on International Bereaved Mother’s Day

“Brave New Normal” Documentary, View the Trailer Today on International Bereaved Mother’s Day

Today is a remembrance day that many do not know about unless they have experienced the death of a child. International Bereaved Mother’s Day is virtually unpublicized or acknowledged – and only partially so, I believe, because of the lack of consumer-targeted marketing by big gift companies.   The larger issue may spur from the difficult nature of the day itself. Mother’s Day is seen in a positive light, but bereaved motherhood is not all roses and chocolates.     Mothers who have miscarried, had a stillbirth or another type of early infant loss – or even those who have survived the death of a grown child – often find themselves within a society where their grief is misunderstood.   Historically, how are we taught to respond to things...

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International Bereaved Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 3

International Bereaved Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 3

Mother’s Day is just over a week away, on May 10th, but International Bereaved Mother’s Day is THIS SUNDAY, May 3, 2015. This is a time to celebrate all the different manifestations of motherhood and I am going to do this is three ways: (1) I have made a documentary short film featuring five bereaved mothers talking about their experiences of loss, what the early days were like after their child died and which words and actions were helpful and which really hurt. The video will be posted here AND also on my YouTube channel (free to view). Please share and respond to the video in the comments section. I hope the film will spark meaningful discussion and openness. (2) I will be posting here on Wanted Chosen Planned, encouraging women to share their stories and to...

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Lori-Ann’s Angels – Guest Blog Post

Lori-Ann’s Angels – Guest Blog Post

  I am pleased to introduce Lori-Ann, one of the founders of Angel Whispers. It is an honour for me to share Lori-Ann’s story here on Wanted Chosen Planned. Lori-Ann probably does not remember this, but almost five years ago I contacted her about the loss of my son Zachary and she sent me a lovely care package. I have never forgotten that. It is true that small gestures of kindness go a long way. I truly appreciate how Lori-Ann finds the good in all she has endured. Thank you Lori-Ann for sharing with us today.   Lori-Ann’s Story:   My grief journey began in 1998, our daughter Sabrina was almost 2 years old when we found out we were pregnant…we were ecstatic! Our plan was to have our children approximately 2½ years apart so the timing...

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Needed: Volunteer Model for a portrait in The Quiet Rebuild during a CTV News Feature – NEXT WEEK

Needed: Volunteer Model for a portrait in The Quiet Rebuild during a CTV News Feature – NEXT WEEK

I have been contacted by CTV Television and they want to interview me about baby loss awareness. They have specifically asked to film me taking photographs during a photo shoot for The Quiet Rebuild portraits. These are portraits that exemplify the resiliency of the human spirit to press on in the face of hardship. Click here to see examples from The Quiet Rebuild, which I also call Portraits of Healing here on Wanted Chosen Planned.  If you are a bereaved parent and are free next Thursday, April 23 at around 3pm, please email me:  info@alexismariechute.com It will be an expedited process for you to complete the questionnaire and for me to conceptualize your photo shoot – but it will also be a very special way to commemorate your baby and your portrait....

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My Life Line – Guest Blog by Patti Walker

My Life Line – Guest Blog by Patti Walker

I am pleased to introduce a wonderful woman, Patti Walker, the Regional Bereavement Coordinator at Alberta Health Services. It is an honour for me to share Patti’s story here on Wanted Chosen Planned. She was a support for me after Zach died, and for so many other bereaved families – and after reading her story you will understand where her compassion comes from. Love you Patti.   Patti’s Story:     I have been asked by Alexis Marie to share my story and how important ParentCare has been in my healing. I am not a writer – but here we go………..   My husband (Cam) and I were married June 11, 1988. We immediately moved from Calgary were I had grown up and all my support system was. We moved to Edmonton. We had talked about...

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Celebrating Sweeties Launch

Celebrating Sweeties Launch

I am so proud to launch “Celebrating Sweeties” on Wanted Chosen Planned! This website is more than just a blog; Wanted Chosen Planned is a community where all are welcome to share their experience of losing a child and what life entails afterwards.     I passionately believe we are stronger together – and that is what this community is built on: sharing, support and compassion. Celebrating Sweeties is a dedication page for Wanted Chosen Planned. It is a place to honour and remember. I invite families to email me at info@alexismariechute.com with three things: Your child’s name (or nickname or your last name, for example Baby Smith) Your child’s birthday A photograph if you have one (not required)   I will place your child’s name, birth date and...

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Yeggies New Media Nomination for Wanted Chosen Planned

Yeggies New Media Nomination for Wanted Chosen Planned

I am honoured that Wanted Chosen Planned has been nominated for a Yeggie, an Edmonton media and blogging award, for three years in a row. That tells me that people are reading – thank you so much for that! Sharing my life since losing my son Zachary is both a blessing and a challenging reminder, but I am so thankful for the opportunity to help other people. That is what makes everything worth while. When Zach died, I felt so alone in the world. I believed that no one understood and that my burden was mine to carry alone. I have since found, through opening up about my experience, that we as a community of bereaved families can lean on each other and offer hard earned wisdom that only those who have walked through the valley of the shadow of death couple...

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Will My Family Ever Be Complete? The Decision to have a Child after Loss

Will My Family Ever Be Complete? The Decision to have a Child after Loss

Having children after the death of a child can be one of the scariest decisions and processes there is. For some, conception alone is not an easy road. For others, the stress only begins when the two pink lines appear… side-by-side with the realization that nine months is a long time to worry for the safety and health of your next child. BUT, before all these joys and worries, is the decision to have another child in the first place. I believe it is important to note that not everyone has this ability to chose – and that is a loss worth grieving in itself. The very question of whether or not to try again can cause an emotional rollercoaster. Of course the decision to have more children is influenced by many factors – yet for people who have previously lost...

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The Compassionate Friends National Conference 2015

The Compassionate Friends National Conference 2015

I will be presenting at the 38th annual National Conference for The Compassionate Friends. The conference is for people to remember, celebrate and grieve the death of their child, grandchild or sibling. The event will take place July 10 to 12, 2015 in Dallas Texas.   My two workshop sessions are: Art-Making to Rejuvenate Bereavement Professionals and Volunteers Creative Writing to Rejuvenate Bereavement Professionals and Volunteers While it is always emotional being in community with other bereaved parents, grandparents, siblings and friends, the opportunity to reflect and grow through grief is a time I treasure. If you want more information about The Compassionate Friends National Conference, please click here.   If you would like to bring these or...

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The Ripple Effects of Loss

The Ripple Effects of Loss

On the outside I look like a normal functioning person, but the ripple effects of my son’s death still startle me. Just this week, the day home woman who cares for my two living kids asked me if I was okay if she ran an errand taking her daughter and my two-year-old son Eden with her (the older kids were still in school). Her request shouldn’t have bothered me since she takes the two toddlers to music class every week – but for some reason I was petrified. Maybe it was my mood that day, but all I could picture was a car crash and my son being badly injured… Or worse. Since Zachary, I tend to imagine the unthinkable in terms of my living children’s safety. I fixated on that car trip all morning and texted the woman asking her to let me know once they were...

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