Struggling & How to Help

Struggling & How to Help

Having a baby after losing a baby is hard. Then you add a complication to the pregnancy and everything spirals. To be honest, I am struggling right now.   What has happened in the last five days: I had my 20 week ultrasound last Tuesday. That night, our doctor called and said there may be something wrong with my baby’s heart and that it could be an indicator of a larger problem. I was making dinner at the time. The torrent of emotions nearly knocked me off my feet. I wept so hard both nostrils started bleeding. There was blood on my clothing and on my three-year-old son who ran to comfort me. Though I was making a new recipe that night, both Aaron and I lost our appetites after the call. At the same time, our instinctual coping mechanisms kicked-in. All I...

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Bereaved Dads Needed for Documentary

Bereaved Dads Needed for Documentary

My team and I are still diligently working away at our first documentary, Brave New Normal: Five Mothers Break the Silence on Baby Loss. I am always planning for the future and am setting the groundwork down to make the sequel: Five Fathers Break the Silence on Baby Loss. Bereaved Dads Needed for Documentary If you or someone you know is a bereaved father, please consider being a part of this project. You can email me to get in touch: info@alexismariechute.com Here is the trailer for Brave New Normal: Five Mothers Break the Silence on Baby Loss. BRAVE NEW NORMAL: Five Mothers Break the Silence on Baby Loss Click here to view the trailer on YouTube. Hugs Alexis Marie Chute Here are other posts on the topic of documentaries: Brave New Normal, View the Trailer...

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Zuckerberg & Chan Pregnancy Announcement

Zuckerberg & Chan Pregnancy Announcement

I am always so impressed when people are brave in sharing about their losses. It is not an easy thing to do in our culture. On July 31, the Facebook founder updated his public profile with the news of their growing family. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s pregnancy announcement confirmed the couple is pregnant – and with a baby girl, but also that they have been trying for years. Three miscarriages later, they posted a smiling maternity photo, Priscilla with a radiant smile and the glow of motherhood. For those of you not on Facebook, or may have missed the announcement, here it is. Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pregnancy announcement:     The announcement shares with the world some of the challenges and confusion around miscarriage. “You feel...

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Baby Steps Memorial Walk: Dates

Baby Steps Memorial Walk: Dates

Save the Dates for the two upcoming Baby Steps Memorial Walks. This year there are two locations, and I am honoured to give the keynote speech at both. Here are the details: SHERWOOD PARK, ALBERTA: Sunday, August 30th, 2015 Festival Place Peace Park 100 Festival Way, Sherwood Park, AB T8A 5T2 – And – EDMONTON, ALBERTA: Sunday, October 4, 2015 Rundle Park 2909 113 Ave NW, Edmonton, AB T5W 0P3   Mission of the events: “A special time to recognize all our babies who have died during pregnancy or anytime after birth. Walk with us to remember, with love, the precious moments of your little one’s life.”   Click here to visit the Baby Steps Memorial Walk website.   Learn more about the Walks by clicking here.   There will be a teddy bear...

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Having a Baby after Loss

Having a Baby after Loss

I have not yet shared here, on Wanted Chosen Planned, that I am pregnant. Nor have I shared this news with all of my baby-loss friends and colleagues. My intent was to be sensitive to the grief of others. I remember when I was recently bereaved. Pregnancy announcements bothered me and the sight of round bellies had me in tears. Having a baby after loss is HARD. This blog is about life after the loss of a child and that often includes family planning and subsequent pregnancies. It is an important topic, although one I am having a hard time addressing these days… I am having a hard time because my coping mechanism this go around happens to be avoidance. It is very likely I would have avoided writing about this pregnancy at all if I didn’t feel the need to be...

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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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