Both books are recommended to those who are grieving a loss as they provide guidance on how to cope from the perspective of two mothers who have travelled this journey.
The first book review is from @honouringaddison on Instagram, her first born, Addision, died during labour on November 10, 2020. The book is titled, 'The Baby Loss Guide' by Zoë Clark-Coates. Zoe is a baby loss support expert and has faced the loss of five babies. I personally follow Zoë on Instagram since she has many inspirational and relatable quotes on her page (@zoeadelle).
Book Review 1: 'The Baby Loss Guide' by @honouringaddison
"My favourite part is the day-by-day readings. I do not know about other loss moms, but a lot of the time reading is exhausting. So, to have small sections to read is working very well for me.
Each daily reading is accompanied with a quote and a task. The tasks often involve writing and there is space in the book to do so. Others are meditative, an emotion releasing activity, and self care.
Sometimes I stay on the same page for days because it is one that really hit home for me. Or when the task that is suggested with it is hard for me. I have found the more difficult ones have been most healing. I mark these pages and go back through them from time to time.
I am only halfway through the daily readings. She touches on a wide variety of topics that have helped normalize a lot of emotions I have felt. Sometimes as I read it’s as if I’m having a revelation - she is describing a feeling or thought that I’d been having but hadn’t been able to make sense of it.”
Please visit The Baby Loss Guide - a book by Zoë Clark-Coates - The Baby Loss Guide for more information on this book and Zoe Clark-Coates’ Personal Story for Zoe’s personal story.
Our second review is by Myra, Silent Auction Director for the Butterfly Run Ottawa. Myra’s son Leo passed away shortly after being born prematurely at 22 weeks. The book Myra reviewed is called, 'Notes for the Everlost: A field guide to grief' by Kate Inglis. Kate’s twin boys were born prematurely; one survived, the other did not. Kate has used her experience to help many bereaved parents.
Book Review 2: 'Notes for the Everlost' by Myra Chronopoulos
“When my son died, I found myself feeling extremely isolated and still trying to comprehend my devastation. Shortly after returning home from the hospital, another loss mom gave me a book and told me that while nothing will make my son’s passing “feel better”, I might not feel as alone.
In Notes for the Ever Lost: A Field Guide to Grief, Kate Inglis describes her own journey through grief. A story of twin boys born prematurely, fighting for their lives, one survives, the other does not. Inglis navigates through all the aspects of bereavement and reflects on the emotional survival that one faces in that first year of grief and the years following. Her words are raw, honest, comforting, and relatable. She provides her own account of experiences but also wisdom and warnings to the newly bereaved of situations to come, and how you might prepare for them.
In my darkest moments, I felt seen by someone who truly understood the complex array of emotions that only a bereaved parent comes to know. Inglis offers a vulnerability and compassion in her writing that gave me hope in the early months of my grief that I might survive this and one day, be ready to face the world again. I would recommend this book to anyone suffering the loss of their child.”
Please visit Notes for the Everlost — Kate Inglis writes books for more information on the book and the author.
These are two books of many that can help you through your journey. I hope they will help you as much as they have helped our community members.
Please see below for some other titles that may be helpful during a difficult time.
Commercials and ads show happy moments with mothers being gifted beautiful bouquets of flowers; hand drawn cards; and wonderful brunches with their children. I knew I would never get to have that type of experience on Mother’s Day because my daughter was not here with me. I sobbed in pain because I grieved the precious moments that were robbed from me. Am I really a mother? Would others recognize me as a mother on that day? Even though she died, part of me felt like that day was for me too. At first, it was hard to think of myself as a mother because I was not experiencing motherhood as I had hoped. I was not facing sleepless nights or celebrating milestones. I did not know what it was like having a newborn at home. After a month of going back and forth, I suddenly realized, I wanted to be treated as a mom. I carried my baby for her entire life. I nourished her, I sang to her, I took care of her and even though I do not
physically carry her around in my arms, I still carry her with me everyday in my heart. I hoped that others would recognize me as a mother. I hoped that they would recognize that day was meant for me too. I cannot really put into words why that was so important for me, but it just was. When that day came and I received amazing gifts and kind words from several loved ones, it really made me feel like Zalayah was/is loved and remembered. I realized how valuable it was to me to be able to talk about her with others, to keep her memory alive. I wanted to be honoured and celebrated as Zalayah’s mother and it meant a lot to me that I was because even though she was born still, I am still her mother.
This week I listened to two podcasts that were very meaningful to me.
The first podcast is Special Episode 19: Mother's Day with Taylor Ashley Bates. Taylor walks us through her first Mother’s Day experience after her son, Ellis, was stillborn. She also struggled with whether she was a mother since she did not have a living child. A lot of the feelings she had experienced, I did as well. Taylor not only goes through her personal story and how she felt, she also recognizes that it is okay if you do not want to be recognized on Mother’s Day or if you feel positive feelings related to that day showing us there is no “right” way to feel or experience that day. She recognizes that motherhood is often defined by its challenges after bringing baby home, but what I really liked is that she stated bereaved mothers face challenges as well, and although they are different from the traditional ones, they are worth celebrating and that really resonated with me. The podcast ends with a meditation which has been something that I have been doing more lately. Meditation reduces my stress, helps me to control my anxiety and has increased my self-awareness. I really enjoyed this podcast and hope you will too.
The second is 5 Ways to Love a Grieving Mom on Mother's Day | Episode 78 — The Morning with Ashlee Proffitt. This podcast validated how I was feeling around Mother’s Day in 2020. It is something I wish I had listened to at the time as it can help others know how to show up for and support a grieving loved one on Mother’s Day. It also demonstrated to me that I am not alone in how I was feeling since Ashlee shares messages from bereaved mothers. I really appreciate that Ashlee Proffitt thanks those who are supporting their loved ones through grief. Without the friends and family who have helped me through this difficult time, it would have been a lot harder for me to get through it and I am truly grateful for them. There are a few minutes where Ashlee is reciting bible verses and I must be honest, my faith was shattered when my daughter died, and I am still bothered when people refer to God and God’s will etc. when it comes to her passing so that part was not for me, not yet anyway. But I can appreciate that it may mean a lot to others and I have a great respect for those who have maintained their faith. Overall, I believe this is truly an amazing podcast that should be shared with support systems as she really gets what is important for a mother who is grieving their child on Mother’s Day. She is right, we are mothers to, I want to be recognized as a mother, I want to know that my baby is not forgotten, and my motherhood is valued and worth celebrating. I hope that her words resonate with you as they did with me.