Franchesca Cox is the Founder and Editor of Still Standing Magazine. She is a former art teacher going back to school for her Master’s in Occupational Therapy. She has lived to tell the tale of what it means to grieve the loss of her firstborn daughter, and fought for the privilege to love life again. She has spearheaded many little and big projects locally and worldwide in her daughter’s name since her loss, but she found the most healing came from living life to the fullest. She is the author of Facets of Grief: a creative workbook for grieving mothers, and Celebrating Pregnancy Again.
Alexis Marie Chute is the author of the multi-award-winning memoir Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing and Pregnancy After Loss. Her next book, the first in a fantasy series, will be released May 2018. Alexis Marie is also a distinguished artist, photographer, and filmmaker. She has her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art and Design and her Masters of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Alexis Marie is the director-producer of a feature film to accompany her book, called Expecting Sunshine: The Truth about Pregnancy After Loss. Her writing is widely published in places such as TIME, Today’s Parent, Savvy Mom, and Canadian Family. Her artwork is represented by the AR&S Gallery at the Art Gallery of Alberta. www.AlexisMarieChute.com
Amanda Ross-White is the proud mother of four beautiful children, including her twin boys Nate and Sam, who were stillborn in 2007. She is eternally grateful to watch her rainbow children, daughter Rebecca and son Alex, grow around her. Since joining the sad world of the babylost, she has become dedicated to furthering research into stillbirth and neonatal death, as well as the unique parenting and relationship challenges for babylost mothers. In her day job, she helps connect people to the medical and health information they need, and sees the need for better communication between babylost mothers and their health care providers. She is also the author of Joy At The End of The Rainbow: A Guide to Pregnancy After a Loss. (Photo courtesy of Courtesy Maryl Cook Photography).
Find Amanda here: facebook
Amie Lands is a wife, mother, teacher, and author of Navigating the Unknown and Our Only Time. She is the proud founder of The Ruthie Lou Foundation and a Certified Grief Recovery Specialist®. Her most sacred role in life is being “mama” to 3 beautiful children: her daughter, who she held for 33 days, and her two sons who she has the privilege to watch grow. When Amie learned that her daughter would not survive, writing became her emotional outlet, used as a way to process her emotions and to educate others on the grieving process. Through grief work, soul searching and heart healing, joy has found its way into Amie’s life once again. This has become her passion and calling: to write, to educate, to advocate and to offer hope for bereaved families.
Amy is a wife, mother, and lover of details living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. Her and her husband, Jason, married in 2014. Their beautiful daughter, Savannah Grace, was inexplicably born still on March 29, 2016 at 39 weeks. In the months following Savannah’s death, Amy and Jason worked endlessly to adjust to the altered dynamics of their family. They welcomed their second child, Harrison Daniel, in June 2017 after navigating a stressful and frightening pregnancy.
Amy was formerly a contributor to the blog Still Mothers and found that sharing her heart restored her sense of purpose and confidence after having so much tragically torn away. Writing has become a way to continue to protect her daughter’s legacy and her family’s story as well as build awareness around, not only stillbirth, but child loss within our society. She looks forward to sharing her intricate journey through the reality of grief blended with renewed hope and joy.
Carly Marie Dudley is a mother of 4 children from Perth Western Australia. On January 26th 2007 Carly and her husband Sam experienced the stillbirth of their 2nd child and only son Christian. 18 months later Carly created Christian’s Beach – A childrens memorial website. Carly visits the beach around 6 nights a week where she engraves in the sand, the names of babies and children that have passed away. She then photographs the names under the sunset. Carly receives thousands of requests from around the globe each year. In 2010 Carly founded the International Bereaved Mothers and Fathers Days. She also shares a card line with Franchesca Cox (Still Standing’s editor). The card line called Lost For Words specializes in pregnancy and infant loss. Carly maintains her website at Project Heal where she writes on ways to inspire people to heal after the death of their baby or child. Carly can capture beauty and find miracles in just about anything and that is what she will be writing about here at Still Standing.
Diana blogs at Diana Wrote. Married at a young age, her and her husband Sam waited 6 years to have their first little girl Bella in 2009. In 2012 they learned they were expecting baby 2 – and 3! Identical twin boys Preston and Julian. In May at 19 weeks, her water broke. After a week of hanging onto them, the boys were born and died in her arms. Turning to adoption, they spent 6 months working towards bringing a son home only to be told for various reasons that adoption at that time wasn’t ideal. Shortly after, they were expecting another son, Kaden. After months of a high risk pregnancy that came with all kinds of medical procedures, he arrived full term and healthy in August 2013. 4 days later he was found to have a severe heart condition, and after 2 weeks in Children’s they discovered a rare virus had attacked his heart, making him ineligible for a transplant. He died shortly after surrounded by family and in her arms. Now she writes about putting the pieces of their life back together. You can also find her work on Babble, Liberating Working Moms, She Reads Truth, The New York Times, and The Huffington Post. Smaller glimpses into her day are on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
Elizabeth Lamie is the proud mother of identical twin boys in heaven- William Matthew Lamie and Harrison Michael Lamie who passed away a few hours after birth on August 1, 2015. She resides in Northern Virginia and is married to the love of her life, Nicholas. Their godchildren Olivia and Hudson bring so much joy to their lives, along with their Golden Retriever Pup, Barley.
Elizabeth’s goal is to help others get through the painful, confusing journey of child loss, while honoring her twin boys. She is currently working on a book series in memory of her boys and a book on grief and child loss.
Emily is the mother of two daughters gone-to-soon. In college, she experienced the death of her fiancé. Several months later, their daughter, Grace, was born still. After many years, Emily finally sought support and created a community that helped her to find the beauty in life again after her losses. When she experienced the miscarriage of her second daughter, Lily, providing support for other grieving parents became a passion and a mission. Emily is an author, Life Archeologist, and advocate for all families living the unspeakable. She is the author of the books, “Invisible Mothers: When Love Doesn’t Die,” “You Are Not Alone: Love Letters from Loss Mom to Loss Mom,” “From Father to Father: Letters from Loss Dad to Loss Dad,” and more.
Emily brings a balance of personal and professional experience to her work with grieving families. In addition to providing support individually to grieving mothers and fathers, Emily strives to educate and improve care for bereaved mothers from medical professionals and other counseling professionals. She writes and educates through her website at http://emilyrlong.com.
Emmy Kissinger is a school psychologist, spirited wife, and millennial mama. Outside of her professional and domestic responsibilities she uses every spare second to write about what she loves on her blog, Bright little Mama. In some rare instances, Emmy will decide to rest which generally means that she is dreaming about new opportunities, using social media or drinking coffee early in the morning before the sun comes up. Emmy is currently authoring her first ebook, which outlines the healing journey of several women who experienced psychological trauma due to an overwhelming early motherhood experience. The ebook will also include strategies to approach this unique healing process.
Ginny Limer is a mother of five, teacher, and adventurer from Fort Worth, Texas. On October 1, 2012 her fourth child, Cullin, passed away from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at six months young. She founded Scared Sidless a 501(c)3 nonprofit in order to support bereaved families, unite grieving siblings, and promote a lifestyle of creative, healthy grieving. Her family raises money throughout the year in order to provide an annual camp called Camp Cullin, a Retreat from Grief, for siblings of loss and their families. Just as you exhale grief, Ginny encourages you to inhale hope.
In 2008, Heather’s world as she knew it changed forever, with the sudden loss of her 14 year old son, Austin. Therapy, and often survival, came in the form of writing, beginning at a memorial blog remembering him. Along the way, she realized the pouring out of her story was also helping others. With a gentle nudging, she chose to take another path, challenging herself to find the JOY in every day, despite the sadness she still felt. She loves and misses Austin daily but is living her life to honor him – and celebrating every moment it brings. Aside from writing for Still Standing, you can also find Heather at Joyful Challenge. It’s an honor as well to be among the contributing authors for the book, “360 Degrees of Grief” and the sister book, “Still Standing – Because they Lived.” but she has also had the privilege of being featured on BlogHer, Exhale Literary Magazine. Her joys today include being a wife and a mom to Austin’s younger brother.
I am a “boymom” through and through with two very spirited boys here on earth and our middle son probably causing havoc in the clouds. My husband and I found out that our son, Wyatt, had passed away when we went in for a scheduled c-section. There were no blaring alarms that something had gone wrong; there was no reason to think that over that week we would be planning a funeral instead of a joyous homecoming. I spent a very short seven weeks at home before returning to a classroom full of students needing me for everything and beyond. On the five month anniversary of Wyatt’s death, I learned that I pregnant again. Navigating through my pregnancy while still trying to get a grasp on living with grief was, by far, one of the toughest things I’ve done, aside from losing Wyatt.
I kept a journal for myself but decided that writing and posting some of my thoughts could potentially help others get a better picture of what this lose really is and what it does. I started A Heart Rearranged blog to simply start a dialogue, but it quickly became a platform for me to showcase organizations and help local hospitals have the supplies they need to help grieving families such as mine. Everyday is a new day for me to learn how to use my grief constructively as a mother, a wife, a friend, and a teacher.
Heidi Beltran is the mother of Talia Luna, who was lost to a missed miscarriage at 11 weeks in April of 2016, and her yet-unnamed Rainbow Baby due December 2017. The miscarriage of her first child was violent and isolating. At twenty-two, Heidi knew very little about infertility of any kind. The loss of her baby catapulted her and her husband, Sergio, into a different world entirely. She found solace in doing what she knew best, writing. She has spent most of the last year working with her grief and finally reached a place where she felt ready to embark on the journey of pregnancy again. Aside from completing and hoping to publish the two poetry collections she has written, Heidi also has a book review blog and is working on her first novel. Heidi is very excited to be writing for Still Standing Magazine and hopes to bring awareness of pregnancy loss to those in their early twenties. At twenty-three she never imagined she would endure such heartbreak but she also never imagined how strong she could be. You can follow her on Instagram to see her journey through pregnancy after loss.
Henderson Lafond is a wife, dreamer and mother to three children from Mint Hill, North Carolina. Her second child, a daughter named Madison Reid, was born asleep on October 17, 2015. Through her grief, Henderson discovered a passion to help her fellow sisters in loss and launched Madison’s Closet on April 2, 2016. Their mission is to comfort and clothe moms who have suffered a perinatal loss by providing complimentary donated clothing to help them reclaim their self-confidence. When you have something nice to wear, you feel better about yourself. The women who donate to Madison’s Closet do so thinking of the women they will help. They want to be of service in a helpless situation. Please visit Madison’s Closet to learn more about their mission or to receive or donate clothing. Henderson can also be found on The Huffington Post.
Julz Scott suffered her first loss in 2003 at 10 weeks gestation, then went on to have two children. After beginning a new relationship in 2009, Julz once again suffered two further early miscarriages, so once the couple had married, they began actively trying for a rainbow baby, late 2011 she fell pregnant with her daughter Melody, born at 26+6 weeks to HELLP syndrome, in February 2012. Melody did remarkably well, until the end of her 4th week, developing Sepsis from which she never recovered, at 5 weeks old she lost her battle, throwing them into the world of bereaved parents, with not a lot of support for their loss, Julz took to writing, which helped her through the very darkest of times. She’s since gone on to have two more girls with another miscarriage in between. Through the writing she’s been nominated twice for a Butterfly Award, whilst helping to run a face to face group with a local Charity. She feels very honoured to have been given the opportunity to join the team, looking forward to sharing not only Melody’s story with you, but parenting after loss too. Life has never been the same since.
Kathleen Berg is from Saint John, a small town in Northwest Indiana. She is married to her husband Ken, and has two children at home, Elanor and Eric. She is also mother to her two angel babies, Valerie and Daniel. She lost her first baby, Valerie, during her 21st week of pregnancy because of a subchorionic hemorrhage, in 2010. Kathleen found that writing poetry and journaling helped her to cope with her grief. In 2016, Daniel was lost unexpectedly during her 15th week of pregnancy also from a subchorionic hemorrhage. Once again, Kathleen is turning to her writing as a way of climbing back from the depths of sorrow. Through her writing, Kathleen wants to give hope and support to those who feel alone in their own grief journey. Kathleen is honored to be a contributor to Still Standing Magazine.
Katie Stern is a mother of two boys, a marketer in the professional services industry by day, and a grief and child loss advocate from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. On August 24, 2016, her second son, Toby, died in his sleep from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) at 12 weeks and 5 days old. Katie and her husband, Dan are working to establish The Little Fox | Toby’s Foundation as an organization that spreads joy to children and families in their region, while working on educating others about the lives of grieving parents. She blogs through her family’s website: Our Happy Place & Co. about motherhood, family, Lucas and Toby, infant loss and a parent’s journey through grief. Katie is also a contributing writer for Pittsburgh Mom’s Blog.
Katie is honored to be a part of Still Standing Magazine, and for the opportunity to share her family’s journey, following the death of Toby, and to continue to shine more light on the life of grieving parents.
Katja Faber is a single mother to three children. She runs her own avocado farm and works part-time as an English teacher, journalist and writer. Before having children she was a criminal defense barrister in London, having always been involved in human rights societies and advocacy. Her eldest son, Alex, was murdered on 30th December 2014. He was 23 years old, had just graduated from university, and was home in Zurich for the holidays. The complex nature of the police investigation, the defense team’s legal arguments and the substantial financial resources of the killer’s family led her to becoming actively involved in the prosecution of her son’s killer. Subsequently, new additional charges of attempted murder and rape (of another) were added to the indictment. International press coverage of the case brought her into contact with other bereaved parents whose children had died violent deaths, and she realized that her experience of child loss and advocacy could be used to help others. She is a contributor at Still Standing Magazine, has her own website KatjaFaber.com, and has written her story for the book Surviving My First Year of Child Loss: Personal Stories from Grieving Parents, which will be published September 2017. Her writing is also featured on Grieving Parents.
She divides her time between Zurich, Switzerland and her farm in southern Spain.
Kelly Coté is a licensed psychotherapist and the mother of three beautiful children, including the son she now carries in her heart. At the 20 week ultrasound with her first child she was told “something was wrong” and her world came crashing down around her. After several weeks and many tests later, an amniocentesis diagnosed her son with Trisomy 13, a rare chromosomal condition known for being incompatible with life. Parker James Coté was born still on June 5, 2013. In the years following the loss of her first child, she welcomed two rainbow babies into the world. Although she is grateful to have been blessed with her other children, she also feels a void without Parker in her arms. Over the years she has learned how to parent all three of her children; and for Parker, that means keeping his memory alive. She knows that although he is not physically here, he is always in her heart.
Since the loss of her son, she has become passionate about helping other bereaved parents, spreading awareness about infant and pregnancy loss, and providing hope that healing after loss is possible. She opened Evolve Counseling, LLC where she provides counseling services to individuals and families that are working towards healing after infant or pregnancy loss.
Kierra Sunae’ is Founder of Healing Footprints Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization established to support families who have experienced infant death. The foundation is a labor of love, birthed after Kierra and her husband experienced the devastating death of their one week old son, Colby. As an infant loss advocate, Kierra is dedicated to offering services that help families heal after the inconceivable and often unexpected death of their newborn baby. As a wife and mother of an amazing four year old son, Kierra is committed to sharing the highs and lows of healing after infant loss. With a strong faith, she walks with purpose determined to make grieving hearts smile again… one footprint at a time.
Larissa is happily married to Marcus, and has been since 2011. In 2012, she was thrilled to discover that she was pregnant with their first child. After a smooth, complication free pregnancy, her baby girl’s heart stopped beating at 39 weeks. On January 30, 2013, Ariella was born still, but reason was ever found for her death. Larissa turned to writing as a way of processing her grief and keeping people updated on how her and her husband were going. As time went on, she became passionate about sharing with people about baby loss, and wrestling with how the concepts of faith and loss can possibly work together. For Mother’s Day 2013, Larissa received the perfect present: the discovery that she was pregnant again. Her son was born safely in January 2014, just weeks before Ariella’s first birthday. In August 2015, after a stressful pregnancy, Larissa’s second daughter was born alive and healthy. Her fourth baby is due late 2017.
Laura loves having the opportunity to connect with the many others who share similar journeys, and with those who just want to better understand the loss of a child and parenting a rainbow baby. She shares her story, along with her current parenting journey, on her blog Sophia’s Story. She has also been featured on the parenting websites Chocolate and Chaos, and Scary Mommy.
Articles by Lauren
Lori Ennis battled infertility for eleven-and-a-half years before she turned to IVF and became a mother in November of 2009. Her first son, John “Matthew”, died in his father’s arms ten hours after he was born due to a very rare and undiagnosed labor complication called Vasa Previa. Lori continued IVF treatments and brought home her second son, Samuel “Luke” in January 2011. In April 2012, Lori suffered a miscarriage and lost another little boy, Trey, at fifteen weeks, but continues to find the joy in all of her many blessings.
Lori became the owner and editor of Still Standing Magazine in December, 2013, and is grateful to facilitate a resource that didn’t exist when her first son died. A writer, speaker, amateur photographer and former elementary teacher, Lori and her United States Marine Corps pilot-husband John are enjoying raising Luke in many different places. Lori and her family currently reside in Jupiter, Florida, with their Golden Retriever, Dixie. Though Lori has a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Studies and Psychology from Virginia Tech, as well as a Master’s of Science in Curriculum and Instruction from Radford University, her favorite job by far is Mom.
Find Lori here: blog
Melissa is the wife to a handsome man, a stepmom to 3 great kids and a mom to twin boys in heaven. The name of her blog is “Just a Girl, With A Lot To Say” and she does have a lot to say. About infertility, family, IVF, twin pregnancy and most recently, twin loss. She has been featured in Redbook Magazines, “Truth About Trying” campaign as she documented her fertility journey and now she is walking the journey of a grieving mother after the loss of her twin boys, Tucker and Fletcher.
Melissa Russell lost her first child, Aiden, in 2010 when he was 19 days old. Her pregnancy with Aiden had been normal and uncomplicated. However, two days after his birth it was discovered something was wrong with his digestive system. Exploratory surgery revealed he was born missing almost all of his small intestine. Melissa and her husband spent two weeks in the NICU before bringing Aiden home for the last five days of his life. He died in Melissa’s arms, holding his daddy’s finger.
Fourteen months after Aiden’s death, Melissa and her husband anxiously, but joyfully, welcomed their rainbow baby, Emily. Melissa will forever be grateful for the light, love, hope and joy Emily brought back into their lives. Three years later, they gratefully welcomed another son, Gavin, into their family. Melissa faced several scary and stressful complications during both of her pregnancies after losing Aiden. The journey was not easy, but pregnancy after loss never is.
Losing Aiden was heart breaking. Having to watch Aiden suffer and eventually take his last breath was agonizing. His short life impacted and changed Melissa’s life in every way possible. Melissa is still learning to process the trauma of his diagnosis and death.
Writing has given Melissa the opportunity to work through so much of her pain and grief. Sharing what she is learning on this journey through grief has allowed her to find some peace and healing for her own heart, and connect with other bereaved parents. Sharing Aiden’s life and legacy is an important part of her journey to move forward with hope, love and remembrance in her heart.
Melissa blogs at Simple Lionheart Life, where she writes about creating a simple and intentional life as she figures out how to navigate the world again after losing Aiden.
Melissa is grateful and honoured to be a part of Still Standing Magazine, and for the opportunity to share more about her family’s journey through loss and life after loss.
Nathalie Himmelrich the author of the book Grieving Parents – Surviving Loss As A Couple and May We All Heal – Playbook For Creative Healing After Loss. As a relationship coach and grief recovery expert and bereaved mother herself she believes that relationships (intimate and to other support people) are the foundation for a healthy grieving experience.
She works privately with individuals or couples as a grief counsellor.
Her passion is writing and re-thinking human behaving and emoting. She’s processing her own experiences using her blog and you can also read her daughter Ananda Mae’s blog, where she writes letters to her identical twin sister, who left her body at a young age of 3 days.
Robynne Knight is a writer, educator, acupuncturist, and mother to her beautiful daughter, Zoë Amara, who was stillborn on July 25, 2011. After a healthy, full-term pregnancy, Zoë was born still into her mother’s arms after a traumatic labor and birth, with no official cause of death identified. This experience changed Robynne forever, as she was forced to carry the greatest love alongside the most intense grief she had ever experienced. Along the way, she has learned to find beauty in the present moment, growth and healing in the depths of grief and loss, and gratitude for the connection and support of others who have experienced grief and trauma. Robynne started The Zoë Project in 2012, donating teddy bears to bereaved parents in maternity wards, and offering supportive resources and information to families who have experienced neonatal loss. She is currently working on a memoir about her experience with loss and healing. She is passionate about helping others, and loves traveling, spending time in nature, writing, and practicing yoga.
In April 2011, Samantha’s world came crashing down around her when her first born daughter stopped breathing three weeks before she was due to be born. She delivered her still, via C-section, in a quiet and sterile operating room and knew her life would never be the same again.
Although Sam and her husband did not have fertility issues with their first pregnancy, they were suddenly faced with problem after problem when they were ready to try to grow their family again. Their journey eventually took them down the path to adoption and almost two years after their loss, they brought home a happy and very much alive baby girl.
Staci is a mom to many; two children who walk this earth, two who left too soon, and children in foster care who pass through their home. When she lost her son, Barrett, she found healing and passion in a love for writing and has been blogging faithfully since his passing. She found that through writing she could relate to others in a way she never had before and connect with people around her as well as people around the world walking similar paths in life. She has authored several books & enjoys connecting with other families by writing about life after loss. Staci resides with her family in Alabama and when she isn’t writing or with her family, she can often be found in a local coffee shop gathered around a table with friends and a warm cup of coffee.
Stephanie Reid is wife to Jeff and proud Mama to three wonderful daughters, Kenley, Blake and unnamed baby due in July. Typical life came to a halt in April 2016 when Blake was diagnosed with a terminal genetic neuromuscular disease called Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), type 1 at almost 6 months old. Since losing her just 5 short months later, Stephanie has tried to live a life true to what Blake taught her: living her dash and choosing joy. She blogs on Still Finding Sunshine, about loving and losing a child with a terminal disease, mothering a toddler and expecting another shortly after loss. She doesn’t think of herself a “real” writer, but has fallen into what she considers the best way to tell her daughter’s story. Shortly after Blake’s death, Stephanie started a t-shirt shop called The Sunshine Company. Her goal is spread Blake’s sunshine by promoting laughs, love and SMA awareness.
Tracie is a writer, artist, wife and mother who has chosen to live life out loud offering words of understanding, honesty, and most of all love to those willing to lean in close with hearts open to healing.
Tracie is also a wellness coach who has passion for helping those who have experienced burnout, trauma or grief discover the value of self-care. She believes in the power of nutrition, fitness, meditation and mindfulness as part of the healing journey.
Tracie’s personal journey has mothering 7 children, 4 who were born in her heart through adoption. Three of her children have varying special needs. Her youngest son Mattie was born with significant medical challenges and lived a life of pure love and joy for almost 4 years. He died suddenly on August 21, 2014 sending Tracie into her journey through grief and healing.