RaeAnne Fredrickson is mama to Samuel Evan, who was carried to birth with all her love, after receiving a fatal diagnosis early in pregnancy. She is the co-founder, owner, and editor of Still Mothers. She is also the founding owner of All That Love Can Do, a resource for families who continue pregnancy after a fatal diagnosis. She is a contributing author of Still Standing Magazine, and All That Love Can Do, and her own blog, The Love We Carry. Her story is featured in Still Standing: Because They Lived and appears in the book, Invisible Mothers. She is the creator of the groups originally called Empty Arms, and Parenting Without a Rainbow, and the co-founder of Still Mothers. She lives in Indiana with her loving husband, Bryan.
She speaks openly about life and loss, the joy of carrying her son, and the heartache of living without him. She believes no one should have to face a life of loss alone.
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Amy Cirksena is 30 and currently living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. She married her incredible husband, Jason, in 2014 and they have one unbelievably bossy cat, Ziggy. She is the mother to their forever sassy daughter, Savannah Grace, who was stillborn at 39 weeks in March 2016- just a week after Amy’s 30th birthday.
Amy continues to search for ways to build purpose and promise back into her life as she fights to honor the story, and memory, of her only child. Through writing, crafting and the occasional dabble in photography she works to process her new, altered reality. When she is not working as an Event Coordinator she can be found hiking, baking, or reading one of the many books she has piled in her living room.
Alex Hopper is a freelance writer living in North Carolina. She has been happily married to Trent for 7 years. Their son, Cyrus, was diagnosed with a rare fatal birth defect at their 12 week ultrasound. They chose to fight for his life and to carry him with love for as long as they could. He was born on November 25, 2013 at 33 weeks and lived for a precious 1 hour and 9 minutes. They are heartbroken that he is gone but thankful for his life and know that he will never be forgotten. He is their only child. Now Alex chooses to write openly and honestly about her grieving process and hopes that her words will help others feel less alone. She created and writes at her blog Hope in the Heartache, and is a writer for All That Love Can Do.
Kelly Isaacs and her husband, Stephen, were married in 2008 on a beautiful fall day. After Kelly finished her master’s degree and Stephen found a banking career he enjoyed, they were excited to try to extend their family. Their first child was born in May of 2014 at 9 weeks gestation. Their second son, William Robert, was born on Jan. 5, 2016. He was such an active baby, constantly kicking and moving when Kelly and Stephen were able to see him on ultrasounds. His strong heartbeat gave them hope that he would be born healthfully. Kelly and Stephen lost William suddenly after she had carried him for 15 weeks and 3 days. While trying to navigate her way through this unexpected journey, Kelly leans heavily on a support network of other bereaved mothers, along with friends and family. She and Stephen have one dog, Sadie, and two cats, Sam and Sully. Kelly teaches special education at a middle school in Massachusetts. When she is not working, Kelly can be found blogging, taking her dog on walks, exercising or relaxing with friends
Emily Long is the mother of two much-loved daughters, both gone-too-soon. Several months after the death of her fiancé, their daughter Grace was born still. For many years, Emily lived with this loss in silence and isolation. It wasn’t until she experienced the death of her second daughter, Lily, that she finally sought support and created a community of people who helped her find the beauty and joy in life again. Through her own healing process, Emily became an advocate for all families grieving the loss of their children. Emily is a grief counselor in private practice and the author of the book, “Invisible Mothers.”
Emily works hard to increase education and improve care for bereaved mothers with medical professionals and other counselors. She also works with clients individually to provide support for grieving mothers and fathers. She writes and educates through her website, Emily Long: Archaeologist of the Living.
Andrea Manning is 37 and lives in Canada, with her husband Rob. They are ruled by 3 miniature dachshunds; Andrea finds chocolate is the answer to most questions and baking is one of her favourite therapies. They lost their only son, Thomas, in 2012. The following years have been filled with recovering both physically and emotionally, a journey that continues to this day. More of Andrea’s ramblings can be found at andreamanning.com or on Facebook at Footprints on Our Heart.
Danielle Ridgway is (almost) 23 and lives in small-town Ohio with her two cats, Leo and Poe. Her life was changed forever when her son, Jensen Grey, was born asleep on April 5, 2016. He was identical to his mommy from his face to his toes, the only difference in them: his blond hair. Even though Jensen was born so silently in this world, Danielle refuses to keep quiet about her son’s life and the stigma around loss. This was never the type of motherhood Danielle expected, but she embraces being Jensen’s mom. She finds comfort in sharing Jensen’s story and her journey through grief on her blog, JensenGrey.
When she’s not writing, she continues to share Jensen’s name through crafts and saying his names while she shops at flea markets. You can find her visual journey on Instagram.
Maureen Schaefer (known as Reen to her online friends) has been married to her husband since March of 2011. They started trying to add to their family shortly after the wedding but soon found themselves batting infertility and recurrent miscarriage. Maureen found information and solidarity in her online support groups and eventually began to help moderate a group for those pursuing advanced methods of trying to conceive. She also co-founded a group for those actively trying to conceive who have experienced two or more pregnancy losses or babies born still. Now, after five pregnancy losses, Maureen is coming to terms with living a childless life. Join her on BabyCenter: Actively Trying with Repeat Loss, and Still Mothers – Living Childless after Loss.
Lisa Sissons is mother to Finley Arthur Sissons, who was born and died in Naples, Italy at 3 days old in 2012. Finley was diagnosed with a very severe case of Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy, after enduring a lengthy period without oxygen during labour and after his birth. After years of investigation, it was determined that Finley’s death was caused by many counts of medical negligence by the military hospital where he was born. Lisa found it to be incredibly important to hold the hospital and medical staff responsible for their actions, and recently Lisa and her husband have been offered a wrongful death settlement from the United States government for the death of their son. They hope that by holding the hospital legally accountable, that it will prevent other babies from dying in a similarly needless way.
Lisa is just a normal girl trying to help her son’s memory live on by writing honestly and openly about life, love and loss. She was the co-founder and web designer at Still Mothers, blogs at The Stars Apart (formerly Dear Finley) about all things life and babyloss, and has also written articles for Still Standing Magazine and Circle of Moms. Lisa lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with her husband Steve and their cheeky dog, a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called Jacob. She tries to find meaning in life by pursuing her many hobbies and interests, which include photography, crafting and web design.
Amber Smiley met Chris when she was in high school and married him as soon as she could at the age of 18. She was certain that she wanted children right away but that was not how things were going to work out. They lived in Las Vegas for over 10 years before they finally became pregnant via intervention and plenty of patience. Jasper’s heart stopped at 40 weeks and that was the beginning of what has become a sometimes brutal and sometimes hopeful, new way of life.
They knew they wanted more children and have since suffered many early miscarriages during the process of multiple IVF and IUI cycles which have left them with broken hearts. Feeling defeated and alone, the bereaved parents moved to Connecticut in search of a much needed new start.
Amber was inspired to work towards becoming a therapist during her process of trying to find support after her loss. She is currently a freelance graphic designer, artist and marriage and family therapy graduate student. She takes comfort in the idea that their son was a driving force for her to help other people through a time that she and her husband felt so alone.
Chloë Sóleyjarmóðir is 27, and a high school teacher. But before anything else, she’s Soley’s mom. Soley was diagnosed at age 3 months with an aggressive kind of brain cancer called ATRT. She showed an amazing fight through months of hospital and chemotherapy, but treatment was ineffective and she died at 11 months. Soley is her only baby, and remains her whole world. You can read about her story on her blog, Soley Keeps Shining.
Éva Zsák is 39. She lives in Hungary and Italy. She’s a teacher, an interpreter, and also a med school student. Her little angel, Peter is her only child. He died five years ago due to a premature rupture of membranes. This experience changed her life completely. She started to learn about grief and child-loss and the importance of the human factor in doctor-patient relationships. She like reading, poetry and literature in general.