create. heal. inspire. carly marie dudley.

This month has gone by so incredibly quick and it’s hard to believe we’ve reached our last inspiring guest post for our International Creativity Month series. Carly Marie Dudley is such an incredible force in the babyloss community and I am so glad to have her closing us out today. Please check out her generous giveaway below and be sure to visit her over at her website Project Heal. ~Beryl

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Year 11 Art – Fail. Year 12 Art – Fail. The reason for the fail – None of my artwork was inspired by a famous artist. They pretty much failed me because I was original. I left school thinking I was a failure at what I loved most. Without a second thought I gave up on what my heart wanted because in my 17 year old mind I could not see past my teacher’s bad report. She had given me a D (which in Australia is a fail) What was the point in doing something that I apparently sucked at? So I graduated highschool and went and got a seriously boring job. My last job was working for the Department of Planning and Infrastructure. I sat in a call center all day and answered inquiries from people who were having issues with their licence and vehicle registration. The job itself was mind numbing and the only reason why I didn’t leave after the first month was the people that I worked with – they were fun!

In 2005 I fell pregnant with our first child. As my belly grew I felt the urge to pick up a camera, I photographed my beautiful growing baby belly and flowers – I loved flowers. I photographed them in my garden from when they were born as tiny buds all the way through to their full and magnificent blooms. Scarlett was born at full term but she was very unwell. She could not breathe on her own and she spent the beginning of her life in the NICU. She did not bloom as easily as the flowers I had been photographing in the months prior to her traumatic birth. After she was able to come home with us I lost my passion for taking photos. Everytime I looked at Scarlett’s photos I felt sick. She was all tied up with tubes and drips. She was bruised from head to toe. I put my camera away.

Fast forward to 2 1/2 years later. I am sitting at my dinner table holding a plastic sachet that held the ashes of Scarlett’s little brother Christian who was stillborn 18 months beforehand. Christian was just over a ruler length long. He had chubby cheeks and a button nose. Christian had a condition called Hyrdocephalus and because he did not have enough brain matter to tell him to swallow he never really grew a stomach and so at 21 weeks he pretty much stopped growing and he died at around 25-26 weeks. My life had stopped at his fatal diagnosis and 18 months later I still felt like I had no pulse. As I sat at the table holding his ashes I cried. I could not picture his face anymore. I had hit rock bottom. How could a mother possibly forget her son’s face?

That night I wrote on my blog about how terrible I was feeling. A friend in Colorado commented and said that she would pray that my next day would bring me some hope. That night I dreamed of Christian for the first time. My Earth and his Heaven had collided for a brief moment and we were together again. He was alive and well. I had found him and his friends. They were writing their names in the sand on one of Heaven’s beaches. As I looked down at their names Christian and his two friends ran off giggling with fun and laughter. I watched him disappear into the sand dunes and as I looked back down at his name in the sand the water came in and took his name out to sea. Then I woke up.

The next day keeping the dream to myself I picked up my little point and shoot digital camera and late that afternoon as the sun was beginning to set I drove down to the beach to write Christian’s name in the sand for the first time. It was an epic sunset to my surprise. I hadn’t seen a sunset since the day he was born. I wrote his name and started taking some photos. I remember standing in the water praying. I wondered if I should start doing this for people that I know have experienced the death of their babies and children. As I left the beach I blew a kiss out to the sea and drove to my parents house. I loaded the photos onto their computer. I showed my Dad “Oh that is really nice Pod” (He calls me Pod – long story) I told my parents that I was thinking of doing this for families who have lost children and that I was hoping that I might be able to do around 3 names each week for families here in my home town of Perth.

3 years and 4 months later I have written and photographed the names of 14,224 babies and children who are no longer here with us on Earth. I now spend any spare time that I have drawing butterflies, dragonflies and now peace doves in the sand on my son’s beach. My wait list is constantly filled with names of children from all over the world. It is tragic and beautiful all at the same time. I never imagined this would become my life.

I was given my creative gift from my grandad and even though it may have been taken away from me and that it took Heaven and Earth to come together to give it back to me, my son is the reason I am able to spend every sunset doing what I love so much. Art.

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create. heal. inspire. angie yingst.

Today I am honored to introduce you to Angie from the Still Life With Circles blog. Today she share with us the story of her daughter Lucia, and her healing through careful scheduling of writing and art time into each and every day.  For more ideas and inspiration with Angie be sure to visit her blog and check out my favorite projects from her:  Right Where I Am & the Spoken Word blog round up. xo. ~Beryl

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I always admired people who followed their passions. Before my daughter died, I suffered from terminal self-consciousness and an acute case of perfectionitis. If I couldn’t master something immediately, I abandoned it. I loved art and painting, but I didn’t want anyone to pick out my flaws, notice my mistakes, laugh at my shaky lines, or comprehend the depth of my insecurity. Art felt like vulnerability to me, because I was so earnest in my love and passion for it. Even though as a child, I went to art school, repeatedly told I was a talented painter and a creative soul, sharing my art felt something akin to walking through town naked.

Lucia Paz, my second daughter, died on Winter Solstice in 2008. The grief overwhelmed me. I thought I understood suffering and grief and pain before her death, but I knew nothing. I began writing as a way to navigate the labyrinth of grief. When my husband was slated to return to work, I scrambled again. What was I going to do with myself and my twenty-month old daughter Beatrice? I couldn’t write during the day. Writing is a solitary, isolating experience. I felt lost. I felt I would never be whole again.

I decided the best thing to do for Beatrice and myself was to create a schedule for our day. From this time to this time, we would brush our teeth. From this time to this time, we would walk. From this time to this time, we would eat. It seemed the only way to find some path to normalcy. And in that schedule, I wrote this:

1p-2p Art Hour.

It had been years since I had consistently done art just for myself. I traded an hour of grieving for an hour of painting. I bought some watercolors and a book that read, “How To Do Watercolor.” I bought washable paints for Beatrice and set her easel up next to my own. We painted. When Beatrice painted the wall. I made the decision not to clean up her mess, or teach her how to paint. I just let both of us paint without limitations or rules or self-consciousness. When I stopped focusing on either of us painting “correctly,” I found the first moments of peace since Lucia’s death. The first painting I did was of an apple. It wasn’t miraculous in terms of technique or talent, but it was the most beautiful painting I had created. It represented an hour of peace–something that seemed impossible to me even three hours earlier.  Painting, and later craft and sculpture, were my way to meditate, to pray, to remain present in the moment, to sit still. Painting helped me feel human again, maybe even a little normal.

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create. heal. inspire. jenn stocks.

Today you get to meet Jenn and her incredible work. She is the artist behind My Tangible Peace and she creates amazing lifelike sculptures in honor of angel babies. I think the most fascinating thing behind her work is the detail. She pays such close attention to the details of our little ones and it shows in her craftsmanship. Her post is her heartfelt of the inspiration her daughter left her to create and she is giving away one of her pieces here today too. ~Beryl

When it comes to grieving there are no rules, guidelines or handbook that will fully prepare you for the complete emotional devastation that rips through your soul after you are informed that you most precious and priceless asset, your child, has just died. My daughter was 16 months old when she was discovered “blue” and “not breathing” during her afternoon nap.

The weeks following her death are still very much a blur to me. We had the fortune, if you can call it that considering the circumstances, to be able to have her wake and funeral services at our family home. The funeral director that we used encouraged us to take her home. I remember him looking me directly in the eye and saying, “You can do this. It wasn’t very long ago that we used to take care of our own. You brought her into the world, now you need to see her out.” At that moment my maternal mama bear found the strength to follow his advice and we left, together. As I look back on that moment today, 11 years later, I whole heartedly believe that I did the right thing. Instead of leaving her in the care of strangers, and to only be allowed to see her body at specific calling hours, I took her home to where our memories of her radiated off of the walls. I brought her home to a warm and loving shelter that smelled of her and felt safe. I took the time to be alone with her and inspect every inch of her perfect little body. I traced my fingers over the sewn up violations from the medical examiner. I took in this unbelievable reality that was dream-like and quite surreal. We laid her out in the Moses basket that she slept in as an infant and placed her surrounded by daisies on our family table. The very same table that we, to this day, share holiday and birthday meals on. We kept her body with us for two days. Over that time I talked to her, I cried over her, and I stroked her hair. I kept her body in my room during the nighttime hours part for comfort because I wasn’t ready to let her go, and just in the slight chance that this whole thing was a just a horrific nightmare and once I woke up I would find her giggling and chatting and the experiences from the previous two days would melt away with the sunrise. It was on the morning of the second day that I knew that this wasn’t a dream and that it was time to let her go. I could see the changes that death had brought to her body. It wasn’t scary or gross, but it was time. We made that breathless call to the funeral home informing them that it was time and they gave us the okay to bring her to the crematorium. I really don’t remember much of the car ride, I just remember her face. Handing her over to the caring hands of the funeral director left me dizzy and gasping. This was real. My daughter was dead. And this was the end. No more pictures. No more holidays. No more books, or dolls, or shoes (she loved shoes). My world as I knew it just slammed on it’s breaks and didn’t care that I wasn’t buckled in.

In Memory of Madison my family and friends raised money to build a playground in the same college housing that we used to live in, and we also started a scholarship for single parents. For the first three years, although I missed her greatly, I felt satisfied that we did all that we could do to Honor her Memory. It wasn’t until her 5th birthday that I started struggling with my grief again. Once again the tidal waves of loss came crashing down on my soul and I was instantly time-warped back to the day that she died. I was wrecked with emotions and once again raw with her loss. Then her 6th birthday came, and I felt as if I needed to do more, but what? Then the 5th aniversary of her death came and went and my heart ached for something that brough a piece of her back to me. I started reading books and doing some research on parental berievement, but that only soothed my ache for a short time.

As silly as this may sound I found my inspiration in an email forward. Some of you may be familiar with it, and for those of you who are not may I suggest looking it up, Camille Allen’s ‘Marzipan Babies”. The email stated that these tiny, palm sized, sculptures of these sweet little babies were sculpture out of a pastry dough called marzipan. In truth they were actually sculpted out of a polymer clay but regardless something about them spoke to my heart and I remember saying to myself, “I can do that”. You see I’ve been playing around with sculpey, which is a polymer clay that you can find in any craft/hobby store, for years. I loved the stuff. Now, up until that point I had only ever made more cartoony funny characters never something as realistic as these tiny baby sculptures, but I had to try. Within a day I had sculpted my first baby. It was rough, but there was something energizing, powerful and yet very peaceful about forming this newborn form out of a blob of clay, and I was hooked. In the summer of 2006 I was asked to create my first Memorial sculpture in Honor of a beautiful little girl who was born an angel, and from that moment on my work has found a second purpose.

My heart and soul belong to my Memorial pieces. I have mastered the art of ‘likeness’ and have used that mastery to create portrait pieces for families who have lost children in pregnancy, birth, to SIDS, or other illness. In all actuality 85% of my work falls into this realm because this is where my passion lies, my motivation behind my creations. It fills me with so much joy to know that I can share this, fairly new discovered talent with those who are still trying to find their tangible peace. Even if what I have created only fills the void for a brief moment, I’m forever glad that I was able to help with that solace for the road of grief is not mapped out very well.

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create. heal. inspire. francesca cox.

If you haven’t taken some time to get to know Fran at Small Bird Studios, you need to. I love how she describes her art and her grief in the post below. I think we can all relate to our need for a community of women who understand this road we walk and I hope you’ll take some time to see what a ray of sunshine Fran is in this community. ~Beryl

Hi there, I’m Fran – baby lost mama to Jenna Belle Cox whom we said goodbye to after 13 days in the NICU in May of 2009. Our story and grief journey are documented at Small Bird Studios, where I like to share the beautiful mess she left behind.

Since losing Jenna it feels like I have been chasing the wind. Trying to take hold of something. Something tangible, to make the world see, just how beautiful she was.

I started blogging two months after her death, and slowly got back into my art. It has been *the* best therapy a girl could ask for. I cringed at the thought that anyone would have to go this alone. That is what the blog was for me – a sense of community. A real group of women from all over the world that understood. They got it. They hurt like I did. The bond has been unbreakable.

Everything took on new meaning when we lost our little girl. Things that I would have overlooked became little miracles. Like butterflies, small birds and dragonflies.

One project especially close to my heart is one that I share with the beautiful Carly Marie, Lost for Words. It is a card line specializing in child loss, miscarriage and infertility. Please click on the button if you wish to learn more about it. We also have designed two calendars with beautiful quotes and photographs to inspire healing.

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create. heal. inspire. beryl ayn young.

I am always looking for ways to share how healing photography was for me after the loss of our first daughter Bella Rose in 2009. A few months ago, as I prepped the post you’ll see below to be shared with the Faces of Loss family, I realized how many of us there are using our own combination of art, creativity, and writing on our own healing journey. And so this January series of posts was born. We are just over half way through the month and it’s my hope that you’ve been inspired by one of the lovely ladies feautured here thus far. We have many more wonderful baby loss moms still to come, but today I am honored to be the one to share the story of our Bella and the birth of her Illuminate e-course with all of you. xo. ~beryl

3 years ago I picked up a camera with one goal in mind. We were starting a family and I didn’t want to pay a professional photographer to take photos that I thought I could learn to achieve on on my own. I was quickly bitten by the photography bug and when we fell pregnant on Mother’s Day 2009 everything seemed to be falling into place. I was gifted a brand new camera and upon the baby’s arrival I was confident I’d be able to capture beautiful newborn portraits of our bundle of joy.

I never expected that things were going to go terribly wrong.

At our 20 week sonogram a few defects were discovered and we were alarmingly referred to a high risk practice to have them investigated. The vivid memories of our trip to that high risk office will haunt me until the day I die.  I sat in that waiting room pondering what a terrible job it must be working there. I wondered how many times in a day they had to deliver bad news to expecting parents. I wondered if we’d be their next ‘victim’ but hoped (and ironically expected) that things would be fine. The technician called us back and rushed us through a series of sonogram photos. She was rough on my belly, she pressed a little to intensely, I could feel our baby kick her back as if staying “Stop!”. I wanted the technician to stop too. Finally she left.  Minutes dragged on like hours.

Then, the doctor finally walked in and broke the silence with 5 little words that would change our world forever: “Your baby has multiple problems”.

Without stopping for air, he continued to spout out medical jargon about this syndrome, or that syndrome. Things we had never even heard of before.  He listed off the numerous organs you were missing one by one.  So cold. So heartless. We were just another number to him.  Pretty soon, I felt like I was in a Peanuts episode where the teacher is speaking but the words come out as gibberish. He rushed us into an amnio and sent us away with orders to return to his office in 2 weeks. I was numb but held it together in that office, I didn’t want that doctor seeing me cry. My husband almost fainted on the way out. He didn’t want to believe what he was hearing. That evening, as I googled every little snippet of medical jargon that doctor threw around at us that day I completely fell apart in my husband’s arms.

We sought a 2nd opinion at Children’s Hospital in Washington DC where a fatal diagnosis was confirmed. Our daughter Bella’s defects were 1 in 20,000. No expects to be the 1 in 20,000. But somehow the devastating baby loss lottery struck us. And our lives were forever changed.

Bella was stillborn on September 11th, 2009. When we arrived home from the hospital empty handed and broken hearted the emails, calls, and cards came rolling in. Flowers began to arrive in mass quantities and I wanted a way to collect their beauty and preserve them for when I might be able to truly be enjoy them.  That’s when I remembered I had her camera. The one intended to be used to to take beautiful images of newborn Bella to fill the walls with canvas and framed prints in our home.

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create. heal. inspire. casey wiegand.

Today we welcome Casey Wiegand who is sharing the raw perspective of her own loss as it unfolded only days after occurring. Pieces of this post are excerpts from those difficult first days and the roller coaster of feelings and emotions we encounter. I am sure you will all be able to relate to her familiar perspective and find comfort in her ability to find healing through art, writing, and painting. ~beryl

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My name is Casey Wiegand, I am a freelance artist, wife and mama.

I love painting and sharing our life through my blog…where you can expect pieces of my perspective on life, faith, kids, marriage, with touches of art, creative inspiration, projects and things I love along the way. I have two little ones in the hopes of lots more and am married to the love of my life :).
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I lost my baby in september.

Being honest, at first, even with some tears I felt like I needed to be strong. I thought I can’t be sad…I have so much to be thankful for and people have suffered many losses like this before…Casey be strong. My mind is able to have good perspective, I know that I am blessed with 2 beautiful babies, I know we have never suffered a miscarriage before or dealt with any kind of infertility but the truth is…

But the truth is…I am hurt, heartbroken, sad, empty.
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I decided though that I dont care if anyone out there in the world thinks it is silly that I am sad, devastated, heartbroken over this loss- because I need to be real about how I feel.

I am an artist and painting was a big part of my healing process, my outlet. Being outside and being able to express my feelings onto a canvas was huge for me.  But above all, I also think it’s important to talk about it…if it’s too hard to talk then express those feelings/ that hurt in some way, like painting. It’s a healthy release.

I looked at a baby that looked just like my Aiden and Ainseigh at 3 months…and I know it would have grown up to look just like them and love me the way they do….and that little person is gone. It’s strange having a loss after having two children because I naturally imagine it looking and acting very similar to them…

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create. heal. inspire. beth morey.

I just recently had the pleasure of being introduced to Beth Morey of Epiphany Art Studio and I am so glad she is sharing the newness of her journey through loss with all of you today. After losing her precious baby only a few short weeks ago, she has turned to art to process her feelings on grief and life.  I love the concrete ideas she gives today for incorporating art and creativity into your own loss journey and she’s graciously giving away one of her art prints here today too. ~beryl

Everything feels hard.  Eating, breathing, waking up and laying down, shopping, showering, thinking, being – each movement of each day feels impossibly large.

This is grief.

This is where I am living – and, if you are reading this, chances are that you or someone you love is living in this place, too.  Here we all are, each trying to piece our broken hearts back together, trying to stitch together a new life, because the old was shattered by the loss of a baby.

My baby’s name was Eve.  On Friday, November 18, 2011, at 31 weeks of pregnancy, I realized that I had not felt her move all day.  My husband and I went to the hospital and were told the worst – that she had died.  I birthed her little body into this world on November 20.  She had my dark curly hair and her daddy’s face.  Even after an autopsy, no cause of death could be determined.

I can’t believe that this happened to me – or rather, that it is happening to me.  Because losing a child is not a one-time event.  Instead, it is a daily loss, an everyday accumulation of pain as a new aspect of  her gone-ness is realized.  Even though my faith in God’s promises is somehow stronger now than it ever has been, and even though I believe that there is always hope, I have a hard time seeing what my life could possibly become after this.  Because I did not just lose Eve – I also lost a lifetime shared with her.  I was supposed to start raising my daughter this January, but instead all I have are empty arms and an aching heart and a container full of ashes on my mantle to remind me that I was ever a mother at all.

I know that I am not alone in my pain, in this confusing emotional gamut of grief.  So I must ask, for all of us – what are we to do now?  How are we supposed to go on after experiencing what can only be described as senseless, horrifying death?  How in the world are we supposed to heal?

Obviously, I have not been walking this path of grief for very long – only seven weeks at the time of this writing.  In that time, however, I have discovered that there is profound comfort to be found in the act of creating.  I had already known this to some degree; earlier this year I found that making art was pivotal in freeing me from a seventeen year battle with a disordered eating.  After Eve died, however, I wondered if art would remain the same safe haven of healing and catharsis that it once had been.  I wondered if perhaps art would become a source of grief, as it was something that I did “with” Eve when I was pregnant.

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create. heal. inspire. stephanie dyer.

Today hear the story of how Stephanie from Beyond Words Designs used art and painting on her healing journey.  I have one of Stephanie’s gorgeous canvases hanging prominently on display in my office, and it’s a beautiful reminder that our daughter was real and she was here even if only a short time. ~Beryl

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The Dr. said “Your baby is very sick . . . ”

As I lay there with my belly exposed and the warm gel turning cold, a feeling of total violation swept over me. “Wait, we are supposed to be here to see if I am carrying twins because I am so big already! There has to be some mistake. Please tell me that this is a mistake!”

The joyful tickle of waiting to hear “TWINS” quickly turned into an icy dread . . . a stone in my stomach. In a space of a few seconds, my life had turned upside down.

For the next 16 weeks of my pregnancy, I faced the nightmare of planning Amelia’s funeral at the same time as I planned her birth. I was crazed all wrapped up in a functioning facade. How can I survive this . . . HOW!?

Like a boiling tea kettle, the pressure built each day. I was a pregnant mother of three very active children who was now overshadowed by a terrible grief. I knew what was coming. Amelia’s little body would not be able to survive without mine. I had to anticipate things that no parent should ever have to deal with.

I was obsessed with the idea that Amelia’s name be spoken aloud long after her death. That her life, no matter how short, not be forgotten. So, I decided to do everything that I could to create tangible memories of her for my family.

Art became my distraction, my sole purpose in life, my survival mechanism. My house and the job of keeping it didn’t seem nearly as important as using the time we had left with Amelia. It was as simple as that. I was given time and I threw myself into my role as Amelia’s memory maker. I painted, I wrote, I created during my pregnancy and after her birth. It gave me hope and helped me remember that I was still alive and that I had a purpose ~ a reason to keep going.

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create. heal. inspire. kara jones (mother henna).

So glad to have Kara Jones sharing her ideas here with you today. Kara is such a beautiful creative soul and I know you’re just going to appreciate her healing prompt and artistic vision. She is also including a giveaway here today for oue readers, so be sure to read through to the end of the post for the details. xo. ~Beryl

Body Map 
creative prompt from Coach & heARTist Kara LC Jones
inspired by Arts For Social Change by Beverly Naidus

When my son died at birth, I quickly checked out of my body.  There was so much disappointment, so much grief, and feelings of how my body betrayed me and him entirely.  Later on when talking with a local law maker about getting a state law changed for stillbirth documentation, I was told to my face that I did not give birth to a child.  I was told I had a fetus and *it* was dead.  The law makers were trying to intimidate and shame me — and other mothers like me — into being quiet, leaving them alone, to cease our efforts in the fight for women’s rights.  While I knew intellectually what they were doing, it was hard on me emotionally because I was still in a crisis of faith about how my body failed me.  With time, conscious processing, and art making, I’ve been able to explore these issues and try to find ways back into my Power.

So today’s prompt is a share for you to explore your relationship with body.  Of course this could work for anyone, but I’m also offering this specifically to women who’ve had pregnancy or infant death losses.  Just seems to me that this kind of loss complicates our relationships with our bodies, and however empowered we felt prior to the death, there is some shake up with our bodies in grief’s wake.  So here’s how you can creatively explore this:

  •     The first thing you need is the outline of your body or a body shape you feel represents you.  You can either:
    -Get large sheets of butcher paper on which you outline your real body, full size.  This can be a very powerful way to work because you are looking at your actual body shape.
    -OR you can do line drawings in a more representative shape — click the image at the top of this post to see full size version.  You’ll see that I used a very simple outline.  For me, this worked to show the plump, roundness of my body – and it also showed how dis-empowered I felt in my arms.  Empty arms idea.
  •     Once you have your body shape, duplicate it three times.
  •     Then consider how you feel/felt in your body
    1) at the moment of trauma,
    2) when in an unsafe environment, and
    3) when you feel like you are in a safe environment
  •     Ask yourself what color represents each of these times?  Consider how your body felt in each of these times?  Are there areas that felt achy or soothed?  Are there words to represent various parts of your body?  What did the areas surrounding your body feel like?

create. heal. inspire. kristin cook.

Today, I get to introduce you to our first guest poster who certainly shouldn’t be considered a guest around this place at all. Kristin is the founder and mastermind behind Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope and is one incredibly talented, creative, hard-working soul who has used her love of writing to help heal the hearts of thousands of women across the globe. Today she’s here to share a special project idea and giveaway with all of you. Get your pens, journals, and laptops ready! ~Beryl

Hi everyone. My name is Kristin, and you may or may not know me as the founder of, or “the face” behind Faces. I became a part of this ‘babyloss club’ about a year and a half ago, in May 2010, when my daughter Stevie was stillborn at 26 weeks. Losing Stevie has been hands-down the worst, most difficult thing that I’ve ever had to go through. But it has also taught me so much, brought new fulfillment to my life, and allowed me to rediscover passions that had been laying dormant for quite some time. While of course I would do just about anything to have her back, I truly believe Stevie had (and continues to have!) a beautiful purpose for existing in this world, even if was only for a few short months.

Since I was a little girl, I’ve always been a writer. My mom has boxes and boxes full of the ‘stories’ I would write from as young as four years old. In middle school, I would spend my evenings on the computer, typing up literally hundreds of pages of ‘chapter books,’ then read them to my friends on the bus on the way to school in the mornings. I even got my Bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Writing in college. Then real life began and unless I was doing it for my job, the writing pretty much stopped.

Then May 8th, 2010 happened, and that all changed. After Stevie died, I had so many crazy feelings and emotions running through my head all the time, and it seemed the only way to get any relief from them was to get them out and write them down. So write them down, I did. I began recording my feelings, in the form of letters to my daughter, on my blog, Dear Stevie, a few days after her death (click here for a list of some of my ‘best of’ earlier posts). At first I was writing just for myself, as a form of therapy almost. But within a couple weeks, all of a sudden I was getting emails and comments from other girls who had also lost a baby, telling me how much they could resonate with my words; thanking me for putting into words the exact things they had been feeling.

That summer, I poured myself into my blog, my writing, and the whole process brought me incredible healing. It felt so freeing to take the jumbled mess of thoughts in my head and sort of ‘package them up’ into cohesive ideas that other people were able to relate to. I found so much validation from others who were commenting and writing on their own blogs. Coming to the realization that I was not alone, and that I wasn’t crazy or weird for feeling the things I did, was one of the single most important stops on my healing journey.

Writing letters to Stevie has also helped me stay connected to my daughter over the last 18 months. It’s hard to put into words without sounding slightly crazy, but although I know she can’t actually read the words I write to her, I believe she can feel them somehow. I feel a deep, unexplainable bond with my child that I think has been greatly strengthened by the act of writing to her.

Other forms of creativity have been important to me as on this journey as well–photography, crafting, my work with Faces–but writing has been by far the most crucial to my healing, definitely.

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create.heal.inspire. it begins

Hi, I’m Beryl. Mom to an angel, Bella Rose born September 11, 2009 at 20 weeks gestation; and her rainbow sister Brielle a 15 month old miracle. I am a teacher. A photographer.  Founder of the Illuminate e-course. And a true believer the magic and beauty of using photography to heal the soul.  You’ll get to know a bit more about me, Bella, and our family a little later this month, but I wanted to give a proper introduction as I’ll be your ‘tour guide’ of sorts  as we take time this January to explore the link between our grief, creativity, and healing. Let’s begin, shall we?  It’s time to:

The start of a new year is a lot like cracking open the freshly pressed pages of a brand new book.  That first day you settle in, anxious anticipation washing over you as you wait to meet a new cast of characters and watch the story unfold.

Unfortunately, all of us in this community have had a story that didn’t end in “happily ever after”.

It’s why we’re here.

For some of us that story was last year. For others it may have been many years ago. And for some of us this tragic story may be repeating over and over again.

But, the wonderful thing about starting a new year, and writing a new chapter in our story is the HOPE that we can feel as we are granted a “fresh start”. Not to wipe away the past, but to start to build a stronger tomorrow.

January is International Creativity Month.  And this year at Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope we thought it would be fitting to get the story of 2012 started off right by sharing some incredibly creative baby loss mamas and their angels with you. As I’ve learned myself over the past two years, creativity was key to me learning to love life again and live a life without our Bella.

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