Minimalizing Your Grief

Hey, all—

It’s been brought to my attention that a review in my book, written by a kind English professor, has caused some pain.

Part of my process of writing this book was to be 100%, totally, completely honest-raw and untouched so that it was all out there for other women to know the thoughts that I had, whether they were right or not.

Initially, after my loss, I felt so much anger at the fact that people didn’t understand what I went through, that I was hurt when someone referred to my twins dying as a miscarriage. I was so desperate for people to know what I had actually lived through, to try to explain why I was grieving and why I couldn’t just move on. I write about this because I want people to know they are not alone in their thoughts.

I go on to write, I have since heard this type of feeling dubbed the “Pain Olympics,” and when you’re in the thick of grief, you are a champion player. Of course, I know now that nothing is ever really as simple as “Mine is worse than yours.” It wasn’t long until I realized that other people thought it was more painful to lose a full-term baby than a preemie. They thought it was more painful to lose a five-year-old than an infant.

People started throwing out the phrase, “At least,” to me. “At least you didn’t lose the babies after you got to know them.” “At least it wasn’t like what happened to my cousin/uncle/friend’s sister—they lost a toddler/high schooler.” And by me saying that a miscarriage wasn’t “as bad” as what I experienced, I was doing the same thing to miscarriage sufferers as people were doing to me—I was minimizing them. I was putting their pain on a scale based on my opinions or observations, and it wasn’t fair.

I have come to the conclusion that there is no way to measure or marginalize grief. I have met and gotten to know hundreds of women over the last few years, many of whom have stories very similar to mine, and we all have a different grief journey. Sure, we find many things in common, such as things that bother us or things that people have said to us, but our feelings are all unique. We all move through the stages of grief at varying speeds, and the decisions we make on how to cope with our grief are all different. We have varying degrees of faith, support, resources; all of that plays a part. Even our ages or how many kids we already had or how many kids we wanted, they all change what we are thinking and feeling.

When the reviewer put in a sentence about how I felt that I wanted people to know my loss was different than others, if read away from the context of that chapter, it could imply that I don’t feel you have an identity as a mother if you have a miscarriage, or that somehow my loss was WORSE because Sophie grasped my hand.

Of course, those of you that know me in real life know that could never, would never, tell someone their miscarriage wasn’t as hard as my loss. I have spent the last 9 years fighting for all of us to be understood–all of us.

It is all loss, all of it awful, none of it is worse than any other. I know that I did NOT say this in the book, but I want to make it extremely clear that I do not feel that way. I don’t personally know the reviewer, but I know that she meant no ill will whatsoever.

I painstakingly read my own words hundreds of times but will admit that I did NOT painstakingly read the words of my reviewers to make sure there was nothing in there that could be offensive.

Any books printed from today on will have that sentence redacted, and if you have been hurt by that review, I am deeply sorry.

You got this, yo.




WE are making waves, and NINE.

I know that some of you follow this blog because I post funny stuff about my energetic children and my hilarious students, and some of you are here because you have to be, but today, I am writing a post to share with you what your support of me means.

In the past 2 weeks since my book launched, I have been totally and completely surrounded by love, and support.

Sure, I did stand outside of a room and hear someone talk about me behind my back saying she “just doesn’t understand why I’m still a mess about this,” which is totally interesting because I most certainly am NOT a mess. But, you know, whatever.

This week, my friends at work threw Aiden and Sophie a birthday party. I have to tell you that I was so surprised and so touched, and mostly I just felt … happy.


For the past month, my bff has been sneaking into my classroom before I get to work and leaving paragraphs that my friends and family have written about me, just to cheer me up. Every day, you guys. Sometimes there’s adorable office supplies with it, too. There are messages that just make my heart soar.

There have been donations to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.

There have been messages and texts from friends. And from complete strangers. Total and complete strangers. Thanking me, sending me love, telling me about their babies.

A new friend, for HER birthday, bought two of my books and took them to local hospitals to the NICU and donated them, along with bookmarks that said Sophie and Aiden’s name.

A total and complete stranger is buying a few copies, and she has a plan to send them around the world. Around the WORLD. She wants to mail it to a friend, have her write her baby’s name in it and a message, and then send it on to another mom who has had a loss. I can’t believe it.

Everywhere I go, I meet someone who needs this book. At this conference, I connected with many women. I met the president of the women’s national book association who helps choose a national book list for book clubs, and she encouraged me to send my book for consideration.

The fact that you can walk into Barnes and Noble right now, and see my book staring at you from a table, my dreams have come true. Would I like for it to spread farther, wider? Of course.

But if it doesn’t, I know that my babies names will live on in a book. Forever.

This weekend, my babies would have turned 9. NINE. It’s kind of unbelievable.

Like usual, many people ignored the fact that it was their birthday, and I didn’t hear from them. But instead of letting that turn me into a puddle of tears this year, I fluffed up my feathers and told myself that it doesn’t matter, because I know that I am being the best mom I can be to my babies. And I reveled in the fact that I am here for others who need me, whenever I can be.

Thank you so much for supporting me. For leaving reviews. For liking and commenting and sharing. WE are making a difference, y’all. We are.



Holding on


I’ve never really cared about stuff. Well, actually, I like to buy stuff. But I’m not very sentimental about it is what I mean.

When my husband and I moved in together, I couldn’t handle all his things. We still joke about how I would look at something and say, “Uh, is this going in the garage, your classroom, or in the garbage?” We had a pretty hilarious argument about how he wanted to keep a box of blank VHS tape labels.  LABELS. Can you back me up on that one?

Anyway, when people in my family started dying, then all the stuff started coming. Do you want these 10 boxes of China? How about this? Or this? And, you guys, I had SUCH a difficult time! I wanted to say no-because my initial reaction is that I didn’t want that stuff. Clutter makes my anxiety soar, and I just didn’t really think I need things to remember people.

But, of course, you can’t really just come right out and say that, because it seems horrible and rude, and so you should know I DO have a lot of China settings (which I actually love, so don’t be a hater) and various other items.

I’ve been trying to become a minimalist. This is hard for me because:

*I have children.
*I have a semi-hoarder husband.
*I like to buy things.
*When I’m stressed, I go to Target.
*I have too many books.
*Office supplies make me happy.
*I buy too much crap for my kids.

Ok, so now that we all know I’m a terrible adult, I really do try to keep our house de-cluttered. One thing I know about myself and my anxiety is that, like I mentioned before, I need order and routine in my house, or that loss of control amps up my anxiousness.

When I was in college, I needed a root canal. I went home for the weekend to have the procedure and recover. I went back to college and a few days later got a phone call that my parents were getting divorced.

I was never allowed back in my house, so whatever my mom grabbed when she left is what I have. And some of that I don’t have because she moved around a lot after the divorce, and I kinda feel like a lot of it is in random storage buildings around our state. LOL! Anyway, I used to have a running list in my head of all the things I would demand if I ever had the chance. All my CDs, the stuff off my dresser, my framed caricature from Fisherman’s Wharf, and the embarrassing binder of emails I printed for a reason I don’t really want to talk about right now. Oh, and my diaries! I mean, what if someday I really wanted to read about how every day in 8th grade I was going on a diet?

A few months ago, I randomly asked my mom if I could have her pots and pans. I loved the story of how she got them–she bought them when she was 16 from a traveling salesman, who put her on a payment plan and promised her they would last her forever. Well, truthfully, they have. The handles are falling off a little, but they can be tightened. Everything else about them is perfect.

My mom cooked quite simple dishes when I was young, but there is just something about these pots that I love. Something that makes me feel sentimental. And in the box with the pots, there were a few random pieces of silverware.

My heart kinda flopped when I saw the pieces. It’s incredible what our mind can do, how it can protect us from memories and keep things buried way deep down. Since that phone call in my college apartment announcing that my parents were splitting up, I have had to put my head down and forge forward. I have had to learn resilience. I’ve had to survive estrangement, death, infant death, divorce, watching family struggle with cancer. I haven’t let myself be that little girl again, the one who spread peanut butter on her bread and folded it in half as her after school snack, in years. So many years, that I forgot.

My childhood memories are just not there. I don’t know why; they just aren’t. But, my feelings about stuff are changing.

Whenever I reach into our silverware drawer, I reach for that “childhood” fork. If I have one in my hand when I’m setting the table, I make sure it gets set next to my plate. My husband thinks it’s so odd that I’m suddenly ok with having a mix-up of different styles of silverware. But really, I think I’m reaching for the past. I’m trying to hold onto a little tiny bit of my childhood.

Because, dang, life is moving fast. Scarily fast.

How do you all feel about stuff? Do you get sentimental about it? Do you keep it? Do you have a favorite hand-me-down?

Only read if you…

want to support a starving artist shameless self-promoter a small-town-girl from Wisconsin someone who wants to be on Good Morning America  an author you follow on social media.

I’m gonna put a TON of info below-even if you only do one thing I would be so grateful. Please just ignore this whole post if you aren’t interested in my book-I totally understand. I’ve kinda got a little of everything going on on this page, and this may not be your thing. I promise I’ll stop posting about this very soon!  🙂

*Subscribe to my website Newsletter. (scroll down to the bottom and you’ll see a form).

*If you haven’t ordered my book, please order it from




*If you HAVE read it, please, please leave a review (positive or negative, although I may look you up if it’s negative. I have one 4-star review already and it made me over-think everything in my life, but my book is not everyone’s jam, you know?).

*You can leave a review at (even if you didn’t purchase it there)



Barnes and Noble

*If you have Goodreads—could you vote for Almost a Mother on something called Listopia?

To get there, you log in to Goodreads.

You find Almost a Mother.

Make sure you mark it read, and give it a star review.  OOH, and recommend it to your Goodreads friends. 🙂

Then, in the search bar, do a search for “grief.”

The top list, “Books About Grief” will have my book on it somewhere (it changes rank). Please vote for it.

*The most important thing you could do is send e-mails or private messages to people, with the link to the book, telling them why you think they should read it. Suggest it to people you know that run book clubs. Write your local library (sometimes they have a form you can fill out) to suggest they purchase copies.  You could purchase an extra copy and donate to a hospital or a library.

My dream is to see this book on the actual shelves of Barnes and Noble, so when someone NEEDS it, they can find it. It has been my dream all along-and I think we can do this!

THANK YOU, Everyone!!!!