At Aaron's Butterfly Run, one of our goals is to highlight and share local pregnancy and infant loss resources. You may have noticed our resources tab which includes information on a variety of support groups and infertility, pregnancy and infant loss resources in Ottawa/Gatineau. We are always adding to the list, so please email us if you come across any resources that you have found useful during your grief journey.
While Rob and I were pregnant with Aaron, we were contacted by a lovely woman named Deanna. A dear friend from church had requested a Hope Box for our family after Aaron's diagnosis. Deanna coordinates The Hope Box program in Ottawa and the surrounding area. Hope Boxes are a faith based resource filled with items and healing tools intended to support those who are grieving after losing a pregnancy or after the loss of an infant. They are made available for free to anyone who may benefit from receiving one (any age or stage of life). There are also Hope Boxes that can be tailored for subsequent pregnancy after loss. The Hope Box program started in the United States through an organization called Hope Mommies and the first Hope Box program in Ontario was started at Riverside Community Church in Swastika, Ontario. The Hope Box is now in Cobden, Kingston, Ottawa, Oxford-Brant and Swastika.
I (Rachel) was privileged to share Aaron's story at a Hope Box fundraiser this spring. The Hope Box program in Ottawa and area is holding a Ladies Hope Box info night on September 22 at 7:00pm at 35 Rob Way in Kemptville, Ontario. You can RSVP to this event at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can learn more about the Hope Box program on their website. You can also request to join their closed Facebook group to find out more information about this great resource. They will also be attending Aaron's Butterfly Run with a Hope Box, so be sure to check them out!
Yesterday, Aaron's Butterfly Run Ottawa/Gatineau was featured on Daytime Ottawa Rogers TV. Rachel Samulack (Aaron's mom and lead coordinator of Aaron's Butterfly Run) and Amanda DeGrace (one of our volunteers) spoke to Dylan Black about pregnancy and infant loss.
Rachel and Amanda highlighted some of the resources that are available to individuals and families in our community who experience such losses. For example, thanks to Mom Friends and Just Change Ottawa, our region will now have Butterfly Boxes - boxes filled with information and resources for those who experience miscarriage or infant loss. The Butterfly Box will be officially launched this evening from 7-9 PM at the Heart & Crown in the market. We would love it if you could join us to celebrate and learn more about the Butterfly Box.
They also highlighted the upcoming run on Saturday October 14th. You can register here.
You can view the full interview segment below.
Thank you Dylan Black, Daytime Ottawa and Rogers TV for your support!
If you think you can volunteer, please e-mail us at email@example.com or feel free to send us a message via our social media accounts!
Thank you so much!!!
The Butterfly Boxes of Ottawa/Gatineau will:
Our goals are to:
But we still need your help!
We would love the help of community to spread the word about these boxes so that families who are experiencing a loss will be able to access them. Thanks for telling others!
We are also looking for help from some key stakeholders to see this project through:
Please e-mail Mom Friends and let them know how you can help!
In addition to day-to-day operations, Mom Friends is working hard to launch the Butterfly Box Ottawa/Gatineau sometime this fall. We’ll keep you posted on a formal launch date, and provide more details about the Boxes as they come together.
Thank you SO much to our partners at Mom Friends and JustChange for making this happen!
And lets celebrate!
Please join us for #JustDrinks on September 19th at the Heart & Crown in the Byward Market from 7-9 PM to celebrate this $1,000 grant! Here is a link to the Facebook event.
I (Rachel) read a great article this week in Still Standing Magazine on body image and self-love after pregnancy loss. It’s (another) topic that is rarely discussed after loss, but it is something that some women struggle with. The first few weeks and months after Aaron’s death were difficult because I was emotionally and physically recovering. The physical reminders of what should have been were there every day. My milk came in the day of his memorial service. This was a painful reminder that my body was ready to nourish the life that it had carried for eight months. Two weeks after Aaron’s birth, a baby cried at the grocery store and my milk came down. I struggled into clothes that were too small because I couldn’t stand wearing my maternity clothes. At three weeks post-partum, I had someone look at my (empty) belly and ask when our baby was due. A few weeks later at a wedding, we were asked when we were going to have another baby by someone who didn’t know our story. I stood there with empty arms, my heart crushed by grief and my eyes overflowing with tears. I mumbled something and quickly ran away.
Our bodies are amazing – they can carry life, and sometimes life thrives against all odds. Over a year later, sometimes it is hard to remember what being pregnant felt like. Other times, I find that Aaron’s loss is still so fresh. While I was pregnant with Aaron, I received a care kit from a charity called String of Pearls which is based in the United States. String of Pearls was created to provide a nurturing and safe place for families as they navigate the path following a fatal prenatal diagnosis that will result in the death of their baby prior to, or shortly after birth. The keepsake box that they sent was lovingly packed with materials to make handprints and footprints, a beautiful storybook and memory making suggestions. It also included book called “A Gift of Time: Continuting Your Pregnancy When Your Baby's Life is Expected to Be Brief” by Amy Kuebelbeck and Deborah L. Davis that discusses perinatal palliative care. The kit also included (among other items) a cream with cabbage leaves in it to help ease the physical discomfort associated with milk coming in after birth. In Ottawa, Mom Friends have created a post-partum care package for new moms that would also be helpful for the physical recovery of childbirth for moms who have experienced a late term pregnancy loss.
It’s hard living with the grief of pregnancy and infant loss. I still find living in my post-partum body difficult. From the outside, you likely wouldn't guess that I have body image issues. It doesn't help that as a society, it is expected that women will have flat tummies immediately after giving birth and no stretch marks. I have been trying to be kind to myself, but it doesn't always happen. Three pregnancies in three years has changed me both physically and emotionally. The scars are there both inside and outside. I have been going to counselling which has helped immensely. I have one beautiful living child and for that I am so grateful. However, I still wish that my other two butterfly babies could be here with us. Until that time, “I'll find you in the morning sun, and when the night is new, I'll be looking at the moon, but I'll be seeing you.” Sammy Fain
DIY Style Co. will have all the supplies on hand and show you how to make these gorgeous wall hangings using yarn and dowel. Choose the colour and style you want – they will have lots of options to choose from!
For all the details, and to register, click here.