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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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
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.
Caitlin Robbins is 26, and has been married to her best friend, Brandon, for six years. Their two fur-babies (2 cats, Sophie and Milo) preceded their two human babies. Carter Mckay was born sleeping a week before his due date on October 27, 2016 due to a cord accident. He had the darkest head of hair, and feet too big for his little body. After taking a few months to recover and deal with other health issues, Caitlin and Brandon discovered they were pregnant again. At 14 weeks, they learned that their baby girl had Trisomy 13, and would likely not make it much longer. They lost their Little Bean five days later. In her spare time, Caitlin talks and writes about their babies on her blog, Freckle Eye Fancy. She believes that no parent should believe they are alone in child loss, and speaks openly of her children so that others may do the same. In her spare, spare time, you can find her watching movies, playing with the cats, or working on her novels.
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.
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.