06: Jan’s advice to prep coworkers after infant loss


In this advice podcast episode, mom Jan tells how she prepared herself and coworkers for her return after her daughter’s death, due to complications of necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

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Full Transcription

Introduction:

Winter 0:10
This is Still A Part of Us, a podcast where moms and dads share the story of their child who was stillborn or who died in infancy. I’m Winter Redd and in this episode of Advice and Encouragement from a Loss Mom, I chat with Jan, whose daughter Alice was diagnosed with necrotizing enterocolitis when she was born prematurely and died 55 days after her birth.

By the way, you can hear both Jan’s and Scott’s episodes about the birth of their child Alice on episodes 2.1 and 2.3. Today we discuss with Jan how grief is a rollercoaster, and how she went about prepping herself, as well as her co-workers, when she returned back to work.

As a word of caution to our listeners, this discussion contains emotional triggers of stillbirth and infant loss. Please keep yourself emotionally and mentally healthy and seek help if needed. Hope help someone out there.

Become a patron:

Hey guys, we felt like this podcast has been something we’ve needed to do since our son Brandon passed away. It takes time and money to produce the show, and we hope we can do it long term because we know it will help others.

Lee 1:25
If you feel the show has been beneficial to you or somebody you love. Please consider becoming a patron of the show for a few dollars a month. You do get the warm fuzzy of helping us and supporting the show. And there are some other pretty cool bonuses, including our daughter, telling stories. Go to our website StillAPartofUs.com to get more details. Thanks.

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Winter 1:46
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Winter 2:34
I really like her. I listen to a podcast that she does, so I’m excited for her too.

Lee 2:38
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Winter 2:42
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Winter 2:59
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Lee 3:22
See you there.

Winter 3:23
Jan, thanks again for coming on our podcast and chatting with us today. Obviously, this part of the episodes are to talk about, kind of, your experience of what helps, what didn’t help, and hopefully will lend some, a hand to somebody that may need it in the future. So just to give a little bit of context, how long ago was your child born? And when when did she pass away?

Jan 3:47
Alice. Yeah, Alice was born February 16, 2015. And she passed April 12, 2015.

Winter 3:54
Just to let everybody know, you can hear Jan, Jan’s and actually Scott’s episodes about the birth story and when she passed away in other episodes, so go look at for those there.

So I’m curious, what has the grieving process been like for you since that time, maybe kind of giving me a comparison of what it was like right after she passed away? And now, which is what four and a half years from then?

Jan 4:21
Yeah. So you’re in survival mode for the, for after it, after you lose your baby. And that was really, really hard. I was grateful to have Scott with me, I think that I would not have anyone else with me through that. He was the best person to be, experience that with, and I feel like we experienced it together and…,which is great, which was great. Everybody copes differently, right? And so there were times, there were definitely times where we were on different pages, but I feel like most times, in general, you know, we got through that together. I think in the–it’s so hard, but underneath everything in the beginning, even after she, after we lost her, there was a base of “It’s okay.” It’s going to be okay. Underneath everything, was that base. That didn’t mean that it was easy or anything, but there was that underneath it, was “it’s okay”. It’s going to be alright.

Winter 5:22
So where does that stem from, Jan, for you?

Jan 5:26
I think, probably my faith. I really think that Scott and I were–we’ve gone through a lot of things in our lives, and I feel like we were really prepared for this. Not that we were ready for it, but we had gone through things, that got us to the point of that base “It’s going to be all right”. Okay, so I’m grateful that we had those horrible experiences earlier in our life.

Winter 5:54
Terrible to say, but sometimes that is a little bit of a blessing in disguise.

Jan 5:59
Yeah, absolutely.

Winter 6:00
Oh, yeah. So your faith and also just your experiences. So you’re in survival mode early on, obviously. How long did you feel like you guys were–?

Jan 6:10
I don’t know. I went back to work. I think I went back to work in June. So I have the best co-workers. I had the best situation there could be. I’m a social worker. And I work with social workers. And they were like jumping at the chance to like, Tell me how we can help you. Yeah, you know, like, it really was an ideal situation. So yeah, survival mode. And we talked in other episode about how, you know, you would I would lose it. And I would go to her room and, and all of that. And, you know, definitely a blank slate at times. I don’t–do I eat something? Like, kind of, have to be reminded to eat, reminded to sleep. And that’s doing it, you know, like–

Winter 6:53
–and that’s good enough.

Jan 6:54
It really is absolutely great. And we didn’t have any other children to care for at the time. We had our dog. And that was good. Because our dog kind of, I think, kind of helped. We got to feed him. And we got to do some things. But we weren’t overwhelmed by toddlers or by, you know, other kids. I can’t imagine having to deal with that at the same time. We were able to focus on ourselves, I think, you know. The dog started sleeping on the bed for the first time and getting a lot of more cuddles than he was used to. And that was really helpful. But before I went to work, and obviously this won’t apply to everybody, but I did a couple things that I think were helpful. My boss, and I mean my boss really, my boss was the best boss ever I could have had, like she really is and was and she dealt with HR for me. I got a call shortly after Alice died that was like, well, the death cancels your some kind of leave. Like the death makes it so that we got to different forms. And so I had that conversation with HR person, and I cried and hung up and called my boss and said, Please deal with this. And she did, which was wonderful. It was really great.

And so before I went back, I wrote an email to my co-workers like that I work closely with and told the story, from my perspective. Not going into intimate details, but just you know, this is what happened. This is how I’m feeling about it. And just a couple like, please don’t say that: “You know what, maybe if they’d caught it sooner.” Please don’t say like, “What if this had happened differently?” No, this happened. And I feel like it happened as it was supposed to happen. And I don’t need that. I don’t want that from you.

Winter 8:47
That was very proactive of you.

Jan 8:49
It was–well, I have good co-workers. And they probably suggested it. So I did that email. And I sent it to like, good close. The one workers couldn’t said, Please read this first. Yeah, make sure there’s nothing weirdo in it. And they did and said it was good. So sent that and then I work really closely with two people in the same room as me. And I brought the photo album, and I met with them. And I showed pictures. And it was a very special time where I could share about Alice. Because I did not want to feel like I had failed or Alice had failed or God had failed. I wanted the story from me. And I wanted them to hear that. They could respect it or not. But I asked them to respect that. And they did. And they saw her and they saw how beautiful she was. And I wanted that. It wasn’t just you know, you were gone and you have nothing to show for it. It was “Look at this beautiful baby.” And I have her and I’m always going to have her. Which the ICU doctor said too. He was like, I don’t care how long–my OB said, I don’t care how long you carried her–you made a great home. And that ICU doc said, You know, she’s going to be yours forever. And I wanted people to understand that, and they respected that for me, which I really appreciate it. So I did that. And went back.

And we did a couple things we got–my cousin suggested getting rings, some jewelry, some kind of jewelry, and we were able to get her fingerprint. We got her prints from the hospital, which was wonderful. And we got, Scott and I, ordered rings with her birth stone with her finger print inside.

Winter 10:32
Oh, that’s wonderful.

Jan 10:33
Yeah, and we wear it on the same finger, the print is from. Yeah, both of us do. And that really gave us something to look forward to in the beginning, was we’re going to have this tangible thing that we can have forever. And both of us will have it. And we both know what it is. And it’s meaningful to both of us. So that was really great.

Winter 10:39
That was really cool.

Jan 10:55
It really is. I love it.

Winter 10:56
That was a nice suggestion from–who was it that–? Your cousin. Yeah, because it’s something tangible that you can hold on to that’s kind of, it’s tricky.

Jan 11:05
And there’s not a lot you’re looking forward to at that time. They’re in survival mode. But it was really great to have that look forward to have the gravestone to look forward to that we can see and we can go to, that was great. I had my friend, is an artist, and I asked her for Christmas to draw a picture of Alice in Christ’s arms. And she did that. And that was a surprise for Scott. So that was a fun thing to look forward to. We kept her picture in our house, it’s always been there and always will be there. She’s a part of us. Not everyone feels that way. Some people, that’s hard, and they don’t want to share that. But for us, that was important. So we did it. Her prints, you know, were wonderful. And gosh, what else?

I met with EAP at work, the Employee Assistance Program at work, before when, I went back, and that was helpful. And she said something that I really like and I think is really good. And she said, You know, people are nice and they’re well-intentioned, but more than anything they want their world to make sense. And so they’re going to say some things to you that are going to be stupid, and know that it’s because they need it to make sense for themselves. And so going, facing, before facing the world, kind of having for me, some kind of meaning this, this is what Alice means to me, this is what the experience means to me. It doesn’t have to mean that for them. But this is what it is for me and I can carry that. And I carry her. Right? And so having that and doing that was helpful. And people–I was pretty lucky–people didn’t say terrible…I really, people were on the whole wonderful. And there was one lady when I first went back and, to work, and and she didn’t know and she said, How’s your baby? And I said, Actually, she passed away. And she lost it and really cried a lot, you know, right there and now moment, and I said, You know, I’m okay. It’s okay. I’m all right. And she kind of was like, Oh, and then went and took care of herself. And I don’t know–that was good for me to be like, This is my thing. Like nothing. You can take it how you will and that’s you. You know, that’s not me.

And knowing what you’re going to say to people, I think, is important. And that–

Winter 13:26
Kind of preparing yourself before you come into those situations…

Jan 13:30
Yeah, even if you don’t work, like, okay, what am I gonna say to people at church or at whatever you do. Yeah. So.

Winter 13:40
So, you prepped yourself ahead of time, that was actually really wise of your, that counselor from the EAP to say that, because that’s one thing we discovered too, is that people are well-intentioned. That’s all there–they really mean well. They’re just trying to figure stuff out to and my help you in their, in a way that they can try to help you. But it sometimes doesn’t come out the way it does. So preparation, obviously, was really huge in that way. So you prepped yourself by an email. You…it sounded like your boss was on your side to try disseminate some information, so that it wasn’t awkward. Did you prefer people talking to you about it? Or were people kind of, would they skirt around it and not even bring it up? I’m actually curious about that.

Jan 14:24
Yeah. Well, and I should say there’s a social worker at my work who lost her baby. I don’t know how long before we lost Alice. But that kind of prepped everybody, I think, you know. And my boss, and she really helped me a lot. She was so helpful and is so helpful. My boss reached out to her and said, How can I help Jan, which is so awesome. And I did in that email, say like, I love to talk about Alice. And I love questions. You know, anytime time you get to say your baby’s name, talk about your baby, is such a wonderful thing. That’s how I feel about it. And so I welcome to that, for sure. But people I didn’t know as well, I did not want to address it. And it gets really, especially I work in a really big, there’s a lot of employees there. And a lot of people you see and you don’t really interact with, they knew that you were pregnant, they knew that you’ve been gone for a while. They’re going to ask how the baby is. And so I asked my co-workers to please pass along, Alice passed away. You know, she was wonderful. We’re so happy that we had her and have her, but she’s gone right now. And that’s it, and I don’t want to talk about it. So…

Winter 15:41
A little bit of forewarning on that as well. Yeah. Because you’re right. There’s definitely, there’s a closeness to some co-workers, and then there’s more acquaintance, acquaintance-level of co-workers as well.

Jan 15:52
Exactly, yeah. And my boss was great about, like I didn’t want to go in the ICU for a while. And she was really understanding about that. And if there was a weird situation that I felt triggered by or whatever, like she was wonderful. And someone else would go and do this thing. And there was a day I totally lost it at work. And my co-workers really stepped up. And I’m so grateful for that. They just let me be in this room and brought me food and said eat and then said go home. And I did and that was very, very helpful. I had a pregnant coworker at the time, one of the two people I work with super closely. And she was so great. She was she never complained. I could tell she was so uncomfortable with her pregnancy. She never said anything. She was never, ever complaining about it. So respectful, just–I couldn’t have asked for a better response.

Winter 16:41
You really, I know, it was like, you have some really good co-workers!

Jan 16:44
We’re really blessed. Yeah, for sure.

Winter 16:46
That’s awesome. Was there anything that somebody said to you, in particular, that you remember that is maybe not the best thing to say?

Jan 16:55
So I kind of blanked that out, I think. What I would say people is, I think the worst thing that would bug me the most is, if you were pregnant and around me and knew our background, and said, like, I just wish this baby would get out of here. You know, it still kind of bugs me when people are like, Oh, my baby’s gonna be so big. And it’s going to be so hard and seeing chubby babies is hard, you know. So I think that bugs me the most, but also petty complaints. Like I thought at work, what would be are getting back to life, what would be hard is hard things. These people are going through something hard. And that’s hard for me to see that wasn’t the case. It was someone in the hospital saying something stupid, like your vending machine doesn’t have whatever, and then just like going off. And I’m like, Are you kidding? This is what you’re upset about?

Winter 17:46
There’s bigger things and worse things that can happen.

Jan 17:49
And yeah, that’s not good. And we went to, we, one thing we did afterward that was helpful is, we went to Guatemala. Scott’s dad goes every year and does some service down there. And we went and that was super helpful. And when I was down there, someone said, someone native to Guatemala, was saying, You’ll have another baby. And to them, it’s so different. So many babies die. And that bothered me. But I understood the background. But if you’re saying something like that, just knowing having another baby is not my–that’s not her. That’s not Alice, I want Alice, you know? And having other babies, great. You know, hopefully, that’ll happen or whatever, you know, but it’s not, it’s not her still not her. Something different. So I think understanding that and please, please, please be sensitive, if you’re pregnant. You know, if you’re around them, if you can, of course, everybody slips and that’s okay. You know, you can apologize. Try to be sensitive to that.

And then know, know what that person wants. For me, I want Alice to be acknowledged. I love it, when she was in the Christmas newsletter that my mom put out the year that she passed. You know, we miss our little our, you know, she’s a member of the family, she’s one of the 14 grandkids, you know, she’s–and for some people, they might not want that and they might not be able to handle that and that’s fine. But know what your person wants and talk to them about it, find that out. And try to respect that. And be as respectful as you can about like, there’s so much unpredictability, you know, in the survival stage. Your world is you don’t know what’s happening. Try to be predictable. You know, like, if Christmas is coming up soon, and you want to try to plan. Maybe they’ll come and maybe they won’t. Maybe like, don’t give them things to do. Don’t, you know, you’re in charge of the turkey? Stop. You know, we’re not doing any of that. And maybe they’ll come. You’re invited and we’d love to see you there. And if they leave after 15 minutes, they leave after 15 minutes. And we love you and great, you know–

Winter 19:50
So a lot of acceptance and also being able to just be flexible with it–

Jan 19:54
–roll with it.

Winter 19:54
Yeah. Because it really is, like you just, you don’t know how you’re going to be on a day-to-day basis. Absolutely. Well, you may, they may have good intentions, we may have good intentions of being a certain way and showing up but sometimes grief takes hold…

Jan 20:10
Grief is a roller coaster.

Winter 20:11
Yeah, it really is. And it anything–triggers, there’s triggers everywhere, it seems like. I think what your co-workers, what everybody around you did for you, was amazing and seemed super helpful. Was there anything else that anybody did for you kind of in that survival mode that helped you, that kind of stood out to you in those kind of those early months?

Jan 20:36
Yeah, absolutely. Sorry. I’m paging through my notebook here to try to find. I’m going to miss people and I’m going to miss things. Scott’s brother and sister-in-law took us around to cemeteries to look at them and figure out where we wanted her to go and they offered to do that. And that was so helpful. It didn’t feel as hard, right, to have people with us there.

Winter 20:56
I mean, that’s a daunting task anyway. I mean, right, that…?

Jan 20:59
Who wants to do that? Yeah, but they were awesome.

Winter 21:01
Oh, that’s great.

Jan 21:02
Scott played a lot of video games with his family with it, which I think was really helpful. Yeah, him. family took me out like for a pedicure, especially like on hard days, anniversary days. Write down important dates, if you can write down when your person’s baby was born. And they passed, and they might not want to acknowledge when they pass. I don’t really like making a big deal of that day. I like making a big deal of her birthday, which is great. Try to know those dates and know what your person–do they want that acknowledge, or do they not?

Gosh, my sister-in-law made a scrapbook, which I never would have gotten to. And she made it quick. She made it soon. So that I had those pictures of Alice and I can look at them. And when I went in her room and lost it, I could look at them. If I needed to cry, I can look at them. And it would take me there. My sister took her clothes and I got to the point where–so respect, you know, if you want to keep your room as it is keep it as long as you want. When I when I wanted that gone, my sister did that for me. So she took all of, I said like, anything she wore I want and I want you to put it in this place. And she did that and the rest, she took care of. My co-worker returned things for me, which was horrible going into stores…

Winter 22:27
—like a Babies-R-Us, no, no!

Jan 22:29
Oh my gosh, a nightmare. It’s so, so painful. So she did that for me–it was so awesome. You don’t, like people don’t understand how important that is and how appreciated like any little thing, like bringing cookies over, like so wonderful and makes your day so much. Being flexible like at, if you go to church, if you have a calling at church, like if you’re a church leader, being respectful. “What do you want to do about your calling? There’s no stress, if you want to show up, great. If you don’t, you don’t need to.” And that service trip was ,was so helpful.

Winter 23:07
So going to that service trip, you said it was it was helpful-in what way was that helpful for you?

Jan 23:12
It got time under our belt was I think the biggest thing. I think we went like the next month

Winter 23:18
And was it a couple weeks or a month?

Jan 23:19
It was like a week? I think a week long. We were it took us out of where we were, you know, and got us somewhere else for a while. It’s always good to help other people. That was a good thing. But I think mostly being somewhere else for a little bit and getting time under your belt. Time does help. I think a lot of people think and say it will never get better. Alice isn’t going to come back while I’m here on this earth. And that’s–nothing’s going to fix that. But time helps. You get out of the survival mode at some point. You start laughing. You start enjoying watching a movie or whatever. You get back to eating normal. And that’s happy and that’s sad. Everything about it is bittersweet. You know, you’ll laugh and you’ll feel guilty about Don’t. You know, your baby remembers and knows you. You remember know your baby. And that’s, it’s not a bad thing. It’s okay.

Winter 24:15
Yeah. Now we’re, like you said four and a half years out. What has helped now, what do you? How do you guys incorporate Alice?

Jan 24:24
Yeah, good question. So first of all, like having other babies after a loss, that’s a whole different podcast. It’s a whole different thing. And I’m sure for people who have a loss after having a healthy baby–that’s a whole different thing. There’s so many things about that. Was it how do you keep Alice? How do you recognize Alice?

Winter 24:44
Yeah, how do you recognize Alice? Or do you guys try and keep her in your daily life? What do you guys do? You have a baby right now, I mean, you have a–

Jan 24:53
Yeah, he’s almost a two year old. Yeah.

Winter 24:55
A two-year old now. And how does that look?

Jan 24:58
Yeah, we’re learning as we go, right? I think grief really is a roller coaster. Like you’ll be fine for a while. And then I think it was a month ago, I went to work. And I cried. And I told my co-workers, I need a little time to just be myself. It’s a roller coaster, and I was going to answer your question…

Winter 25:23
We can go back to it, it’s no big deal. But tell me, yeah, keep your thought about…

Jan 25:27
I’m trying to think of where I was going with it…Oh, please, respect, for yourself, like you don’t have to do, you don’t have to do anything. There’s no supposed-tos. There’s no, there’s no have-tos, no supposed-tos with grief, things are going to change. Do what feels okay and right to you. And have that be okay with yourself. So on her birthdays, what I was doing was, I would bring a gift to the hospital we delivered at, and write a note to a mother who had either had a stillbirth or an infant loss, you know. I was doing that every year. I didn’t do that this last year. And that’s okay. That’s something I was doing, something I didn’t do last year. One thing that I’ve learned now is I take her birthday off of work, and I take the–No I don’t think I’d take the day she died off of work. Maybe…I take the day she died. I think both–I take those off of work. I didn’t do that this year with the day she died. And I felt it. And I had to take like a different day off. Because I noticed that. I needed that. Like I need to not–I just need that. I need Alice time, you know. And I don’t have to do anything regarding Alice that day. I don’t have to I just need to have that. We wear our rings, you know, I wear my ring. It makes me think of her, you know, every day. You know her first birthday, we did a big thing. Going to the cemetery for us is not a big deal. We don’t feel the need to go all the time. And I know like in different cultures that’s different too. We know that she’s where her spirit is. And that’s more important to us, and I feel like she’s with us. Her pictures up, you know. So I think those are the main things.

Winter 27:19
Awesome. And do you talk to your son about Alice?

Jan 27:22
Yeah, absolutely. I forgot too–Can we talk about Share? Yeah, totally support group, Share. I’ve only been like three times or four times, probably but they do a Festival of Trees, a tree at the Festival of Trees every year. They’ve been doing that. And we always buy an ornament. And we take an ornament home. And that’s important to me. I like having, I like doing that at Christmas time for her. Where were we at though? Oh, definitely. We tell our son about Alice. And, and he’s looks at the picture, and he says Jesus, and he knows Jesus is in the picture. And will always do that. And I hope I don’t. Hard thing is, like I don’t want him to feel like he can’t compare to Alice or something. You know, that’s a hard, that’s a whole another thing too. But yes, he knows he has a sister, he will know he has a sister.

Winter 28:15
That’s awesome. So you don’t shy away from talking about it in your home or around others it sounds like?

Jan 28:20
No.

Winter 28:20
Okay. How has Scott handled it, your husband? How has that gone for him? I’m wondering if you’ve done anything to help support him and to support each other as a couple. Because, you know, they do say that something like this something kind of tragic, these losses can actually be basically tear a couple apart. And how has that been for you as a couple?

Jan 28:46
I don’t think I’ll talk much about that. We went through it together. And we came home together. And I just feel like–I don’t know why it happened like that, so much as really, I feel like our faith did that. And we definitely have coped differently, and sometimes that’s hard. Mother’s Day is hard. Communicating is–we learned that. I need to tell you what I expect and what I need. And yeah, we’ve have learned that, I guess, is talking like that.

Winter 29:31
It sounds like though, most of the time you guys are, you’ve been–

Jan 29:34
–we’re pretty much on the same page.

Winter 29:36
And pretty supportive of each other and where you’re at.

Jan 29:39
Yeah, and Scott’s really great with–I’m kind of crazy. Some of the thoughts I have sometimes. And I had a lot of anxiety after Alice died, was born and died. And a lot of anxiety with the subsequent baby. And I say those, I say those weird things to Scott and he can handle them. And I think that’s huge.

Winter 30:01
Yeah. Yeah, I’m just like, Okay, I get where you’re coming from.

Jan 30:06
Yeah, every once in a while, I feel like I get triggered more than Scott does, if we’re watching something or whatever. And I think that can be probably hard for Scott to understand. Like anything with babies or dogs or like movies, books, anything like that I can’t really handle. And that’s kind of hard for him to understand. I think with your partner, just like accept it, try to understand and accept it and deal with it

Winter 30:33
Looks like, also have some good communication about like, your expectations for certain things. Like, I can’t watch this movie because I just know it’s gonna…yeah. That’s tricky, so…

Jan 30:47
You asked if I was really open about Alice? And I said, Yes. And I just want to say, I don’t want people to think that they have to be open about their baby. Like, there’s times when people ask how many kids I have and I say one, when I have two. And that’s okay. Like, know, just do what feels right for you. You know, I just wanted to say that.

Winter 31:09
Well, and that’s I mean, you bring up a good point, because once again, it’s that, like, How close are you to the person you’re talking to? And if it’s just the person that’s handing you change at the whatever they, you’re not going to see them again? Or you may, it’s just more of an acquaintance. See how you are at that time. So were there any kind of, any aha moments that you had any turning points that you had about, during this entire process, whether it’s with grief or life and death, that Alice helped you learn?

Jan 31:39
Yes, thank you. So there’s one quote that I really like, and it’s HHow lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard.” And I think that, that’s really a lot of what I think about Alice. Part of the thing is, she motivates me to be good ,so that I can see her again, right? And she also gives me kind of an anchor. I’m not as afraid of death or whatever, because Alice is on the other side. So I feel really blessed that I have that. My dad passed, like a year after she died. He died two years ago. And it was not as hard as losing Alice. And I think a lot of it is, you know that she’s there with him, you know. But I do feel lucky. It’s an important reframe. Like, sometimes it’s so hard. But just thinking about how lucky you are to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard, how lucky you are to have that hard thing. Because you know what, your baby’s not here with you physically, but they still affect you. And they live on in you, even if that looks ugly. Even if living on in you looks like anxiety, or depression, or PTSD, or losing it. Even if it looks bad, you know, that’s still your baby in you. And how amazing and wonderful is that.

And I’ve come away with just thinking, this little baby who lived for 55 days is so incredibly important. And it makes me think of how important every single person is in this world and in this life, that I think about her every day. And look how important she is and beautiful and wonderful. And guess what? Anybody listening to this podcast is too, you know, you really are.

Learning that I can’t fill the hole that she left, sometimes I feel like we need to have more, we need to have more kids, we need to have another and another and, and no matter how many kids I have, I’m not going to be happy because it’s not going to be her. That’s an important thing. I feel like I just recently have kind of put together because I man I feel that biological clock going. And just realizing that recently, recently of I can’t have Alice again, right now. And and that sucks. That’s really painful. But that’s what it is, you know, when I came to work like a month ago when I lost it, and I was so frustrated about how Alice, losing Alice has affected my parenting now. I am anxious a lot of the time. I’m worried about our little two-year-old and I worry I don’t do this for him or I’m not stimulating him enough. Or he’s not learning this or this or that. You know, I want his life to be as great as it can be. And just reframing that to how that–even if that looks ugly, that’s Alice, in my life. I’m so grateful that whatever that looks like, it’s her. And it’s been four-and-a-half years. And sometimes it’s still really hard. And it’s still affecting me presently. And that’s awesome. That’s so beautiful that she’s still here with me.

Winter 34:54
You’re forever changed.

Jan 34:57
Absolutely. And how wonderful how terrible, but how wonderful.

Winter 35:02
Yes, that’s exactly right. Jan, this was awesome. Thank you.

Jan 35:06
Thank you for the opportunity.

Winter 35:08
Oh, of course, that was wonderful. I’m so glad that we got to talk about Alice. Thank you for the very smart things that you’ve done to kind of help yourself and your family. And, and I love that you’re honoring Alice. And we didn’t talk about this earlier, but I was grateful when we met. We met at a support group just briefly, and it was–when you said that you had lost it. I think you had just said, I lost it at work. And I was like, oh man, she’s she’s a few years out from her daughter’s death and it still happens. And so I’m grateful that you acknowledged that it can–grief is a roller coaster. And it can be, it can be tough. And it can be beautiful. And it can be ugly. And it can be just all of the above. But that’s kind of part of it. Right?

Jan 35:51
Yeah, absolutely.

Winter 35:52
So thank you again, I really appreciate it–this was delightful.

Jan 35:56
Absolutely. Thank you.

Winter 35:59
A huge thank you to Jan for shedding some light on how her process has looked, how the grief has looked for her as she has mourned Alice these last four-and-a-half years. It really shed some light for me on some things that I need to kind of work on, and I hope it’s helped you as well today.

Head over to our website Stillapartofus.com, where you can find the show notes including a full transcript of this interview and any resources that were mentioned, where you can sign up for our short and helpful email newsletter, where you can learn how you can become a patron and support the work it takes to produce the show for just a few dollars a month, and lastly, where you can find out how to get in touch with us if you want to share your child’s story on the show.

The show was produced and edited by Winter and Lee Redd. Thanks to Josh Woodward for letting us use his song “Vanishing Note”. You can find him at JoshWoodward.com.

Lastly, subscribe to this podcast and share it with a friend that might need it and tell them to subscribe. Why? Because people need to know that even though our babies are no longer with us, they’re still a part of us.

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