Wednesday, November 15, 2017

1 Year, 1-a-Week Journal Prompts for Bereaved Parents by Aubin

As a parent who has lost a child I know how hard it can be to work through that grief and pain. When my son Liam was born very sick in 2011, I needed an outlet and a way to remember the ups and downs of the NICU and the CDH journey. I found writing in a journal or even blogging helped me better than anything else. I could be completely honest in my journal without fear of judgment. Sometimes all I needed was to write down all my fears and worries to work past them. So why would my grief be any different? I decided to start actively working through my grief through journaling and wanted to share these prompts with you. If you use all of them, you'll have enough to write one journal entry for a whole year.

1) What would you like other people to know or do after someone loses a child?

2) Describe a time you told someone (who didn't already know) about your loss.

3) What has been confusing during your grief?

4) What has been surprising during your grief?

5) What have you been thankful for during your grief?

6) How did you choose your child's name?

7) What do you now find difficult to do that you didn't before you lost a child?

8) If I could tell my child something, I would say...

9) Some well-meaning but hurtful things people have said or done are...

10) What are some secondary losses from the loss of your child.

11) Try writing your child's story in 100 words or less.

12) What quote or scripture has been meaningful or comforting? Why?

13) Write a bucket list for yourself.

14) Plan something in honor of your child on a day that means something.

15) Write a letter to your child.

16) Write an acrostic poem using your child's name.

17) Make a list of goals for yourself that you hope to accomplish by a year from now or what you would like to be different in a year.

18) Create a word cloud, print it or paste it in your paper journal or on your blog. You can use Wordle or Tagxedo.

19) What have you learned about yourself through the loss of your child?

20) How do you feel different than you did before you lost your child?

21) Have your priorities changed since you lost your child?

22) Pick a common, well-meaning quote someone has said to you. Do you believe that it's true? Why or why not?

23) What do you do when you feel like you're the only one grieving?

24) Has your faith changed? How?

25) What are the ways of grieving you feel society expects of you because you are a man or woman? Do you break these "rules"?

26) Which ways of grieving seem to bring you and your partner closer? Further apart?

27) What is one of your favorite memories from your child's life, even if he/she only lived in the womb?

28) What would you like your friends and family to do to honor and remember your child?

29) Is there anything that happens or anything you do that makes you feel most connected to your child?

30) What song has been meaningful or comforting? Why?

31) Write a list of words that describe your child.

32) If you could keep only one memory of your child, what would it be?

33) When you're having a particularly hard day, week, etc, what do you wish others would understand?

34) What are the questions people asked that you appreciated?

35) How have your relationships changed since you lost your child?

36) Do you have any new fears or worries since you lost your child?

37) How has your response to grief been different from those closest to you?

38) What emotion has been the most overwhelming through your grief?

39) What unanswered questions do you have?

40) What things are you still able to find joy in?

41) "Grief ambushes" are times when you experience a flood of emotions at an unexpected time. Describe some of the grief ambushes you have experienced.

42) Do you think your grief will ever end? Why or why not?

43) Although the Bible shares specific details about heaven, our human understanding is limited. What do you wish you knew about heaven?

44) Identify your own ideas about how you as a man or woman are supposed to "handle" your grief. Are you following these ideas?

45) No one can imagine what it's like to lose a child until they have actually experienced it. Has anything about your grief journey been different than you imagined it would be?

46) Are you doing anything unhealthy in response to grief or are you tempted to?

47) If death is a natural process of life, why do you think so many people act uncomfortable talking about it and various aspects of grief?

48) Identify the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs you have right now.

49) Has anyone said anything that made you feel they were trying to rush you through your grief?

50) How can you use your grief journey to help others?

51) Is anger about the loss of your child a good or bad thing?

52) How has grief impacted you physically?

53) Name a flower than reminds you of your child.
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Thursday, November 9, 2017

A peek into my journal

The following are unedited excerpts from my journal entries after my miscarriages. Some of these excerpts were prompted by a book I read called Hannah's Hope, which I highly recommend for Christians who are struggling with miscarriage, infertility, or failed adoptions. We also have some other journal prompt ideas for child loss parents.

written Dec. 2, 2015

"It's been two weeks and a day since our precious baby Taylor departed this world to be with you, God. We spent several hours at a friend's house today. I was SO tired at the end. It took so much energy out of me. She's such a fun mom, and I'm not so much.

I still fear losing more babies but feel a little better about it today. I don't know if I can be excited about being pregnant though, and I feel bad for Joseph [my husband] for that."

written Dec. 9. 2015

"It's been hard to be expected to live normally when I don't feel that way. I'm still deeply sad! Getting dressed, going to the bathroom, preparing food, and so many other things remind me [of the baby I lost]. I gained a few pounds while pregnant and now none of my pants fit well! ... All the impending waiting is making me crazy! Waiting for a period, then to take a test, then going to my OB, then the next appointment, and finding out the baby's gender"

written March 29, 2016 (after my second miscarriage)

"Oh, how I feel strange telling others that I have one son who is already 3.5 years-old! I know the questions in their head as in my own when faced with similar info: Did she adopt? Is she pregnant? Does she want more kids? -- I want to tell them I have two kids in heaven also, gone too soon from my life. Perhaps someday I will tell others this but I'm not ready now. I just want to ball my eyes out now and be able to believe that we can bring another baby into this world.

written March 30, 2016

"God, I want Philippians 4:6-7 to ring true for me, but it's difficult to do or feel any of those things! Don't be anxious?! Be thankful?! Know your peace?! How?! I want to get to these things, Lord. Show me Your way. I don't feel hope but only anxiety for the future."

written April 5, 2016

"I have wondered if God took our babies because we tried to have too much control of it. Since we didn't trust God fully with the situation, he chose to take our babies. However, this is punishment for my control and selfish desires, which God doesn't do...

God, please help me to know when I'm emotionally healed from our losses. At this time I commit to trying to have another baby, no matter when it may be born. Children are a blessing that I need to accept when You are ready to give them."

written April 9, 2016

"God, some days and times I feel depressed and other times I don't. I know you're working through these times. I'm feeling more at peace about the past but still restless for the future...Please lessen the despair and anguish. Amen."

written April 12, 2016

"Help me, Lord, to store up my treasure in heaven instead of earth...I can't let my treasure rest in my family or my things. Help me live for You!"

written May 4, 2016

"Mother's Day is fast approaching. I would have been very pregnant with Taylor or noticeably so with Aryn. I would have received a flower at church for being the soonest expectant mother. Now, I would rather not be there.

written July 24, 2016

"Today my friends announced that they're expecting a baby. I'm thrilled for them but a flood of negative emotions came over me. I'm healthy, so why can't I keep a baby? How am I to remain faithful to God in this? I feel like an inadequate failure. My story in this isn't over, I know, and that scares me. What if it doesn't get better? I want to hold my babies. What if I lose another baby? I know that I'm not healed from this, but I don't know if I can keep waiting. Everyone else is having their third child while I sit awkwardly with one. One big blessing contained in my sweet son. I don't understand this at all but I know, God, that you can use it. Taylor would have been about a month old now, but I'm just left with empty arms, and a hurt heart."

About a month after this last entry, I learned I was pregnant with our rainbow baby boy. I should have journaled through my pregnancy because I had a roller coaster of emotions throughout it! I hope you have found this enlightening or comforting. Select Amanda's Story from the menu to read my journey through child loss and life after loss.
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Child Loss Memorial 2017

October is child loss awareness month and this year we held our very first memorial service to remember our babies gone too soon.

We invited our guests to write the names of their angels on our chalk board, allowing us to see them and pray for each and every one of their parents.

Aubin opened up the service by thanking everyone who came and talking about how she faces each day after her loss.

Candace and Rob Feely blessed us with beautiful music to worship God too.

Kim, the nurse from Care Pregnancy Resource Center came and spoke to us about the importance of our ministry as well as what they do at CPRC.

Amanda spoke about Psalm 13, 40:1-2 and 23. John 3:16. It was a powerful message of hope.
Amanda also took the time to record her message and you can view it here:

We provided paper for our guests to write letters to their angels to attach to balloons we released.
It was a beautiful moment as we let them fly. Everyone took a moment to take in the scene and many of us teared up.

Amanda and I would like to thank everyone who came to support the families who have suffered the loss of a child. We also want to thank everyone for supporting our ministry and making it possible for us to help others through their pain. God has blessed us with the passion to share our stories and help others and paved a way for our work through each and every one of you. Thank you!

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Sunday, November 5, 2017

Journaling through grief

My journal is like my best friend who keeps all my secrets, always listens to me, and never offers strange advice. As I write in my best friend (AKA: my journal), my negative feelings slowly begin to fade. Sometimes I find myself writing things that I didn't even know I was thinking or feeling. Often I end up in a puddle of tears while trying to scratch out the final words of an entry. Pen and paper can bring feelings to the surface which I didn't even know were there--and sometimes those feelings are scary. But, at least I'm then aware of them and can deal with them.

Sometimes it's difficult to know where to start in your journaling though because you're completely overwhelmed by all the thoughts swirling around in your head, so here are some prompts to help you focus your journal writing.

There are 10 journaling prompts in the image created by, but they can be used for any type of child loss and other times of grieving:
  1. I feel God's presence most when...
  2. Sometimes I feel guilty because...
  3. I feel like I'm missing out on...
  4. I feel angry because...
  5. I'm grateful for...
  6. I feel shame when...
  7. A Scripture that's helping is...
  8. God's showing me that He is...
  9. The hardest time of day is...
  10. I find the most hope when...
If you have experienced miscarriage, still birth, or early infant loss, then Sweet Julian's beautiful, free Baby Loss Journal PDF is another good option for journal prompts. They're particularly helpful for writing your story. And if you do write your story, we would love to share it with our audience, so please contact us if you want to share it!
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