Footprints On Our Hearts
#60 Miscarriage, meditation and finding joy after loss with Sheri Johnson

#60 Miscarriage, meditation and finding joy after loss with Sheri Johnson

June 4, 2021

In the final episode of this season, I talk to Sheri Johnson about how she found joy in life after loss. Sheri suffered three miscarriages and infertility before deciding not to undergo further fertility treatment. She now helps others find healing and joy after pregnancy loss.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Sheri’s first miscarriage and delivering her baby on the toilet (13:37)
  • Struggling to get pregnant again, miscarrying and a suspect ectopic pregnancy (19:42)
  • Hearing a heartbeat for the first time, only to then miscarry a third child (23:38)
  • Exploring spiritual healing to come to terms with her grief (35:54)
  • Discussing donor conception and deciding not to continue with fertility treatment (39:50)
  • Accepting life without kids and finding healing and joy after loss (45:52)
  • Self-love and the power of meditation (57:15)

You can connect with Sheri on Instagram @miscarriageloveandloss or join her Facebook group at Miscarriage Love and Loss. She has a free roadmap – From Grief to Joy After a Miscarriage – which you can download at sherijohnson.ca/roadmap.

I’m taking a break from the podcast, so this will be the final episode for a while. If you’re a new listener, please do check out the backlist – there are 60 episodes to listen to, covering a range of experiences. This is the club that none of us wanted to join, but I hope listening to other people’s stories helps you on your journey through grief.

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing the show.

If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app.

#59 Grace’s Story, Help from Tommy’s and a Grandmother’s Grief with Hannah and Rachael

#59 Grace’s Story, Help from Tommy’s and a Grandmother’s Grief with Hannah and Rachael

May 21, 2021

In episode 59 of Footprints on our Hearts, I chat to Rachael and Hannah about their experience of baby loss and pregnancy after loss. Rachael is Hannah’s mother and grandmother to Grace who died shortly after she was born in 2018.

In the interview we talk about:

  • Hannah’s pregnancy with Grace and going into premature labour when she was 21 weeks pregnant (5:44)
  • Having Grace whisked away and not being told that she had been born alive (15:24)
  • Hannah’s experience of grief and how Rachael felt trying to support her daughter through her dark days (23:32)
  • Receiving support from Tommy’s following Grace’s death and when pregnant with her son, Jude (30:39)
  • How Rachael felt when she found out Hannah was pregnant again (35:14)
  • Hannah’s experience of pregnancy after loss and going into premature labour for the second time (38:39)
  • Jude’s birth, NICU journey and how nearly losing him triggered Hannah’s grief over Grace (43:04)
  • Why fundraising for Tommy’s is so important to Rachael (53:29)

You can connect with Rachael on Instagram @cyclingthighs and find out more about her latest endurance challenge to raise money for Tommys @run.swim.bike.hike.

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing the show.

If you have any feedback on the show, suggestions for guests or would like to share your story, you can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

#58 DJ, Premature Babies and Supporting Bereaved Parents with Ali Ande

#58 DJ, Premature Babies and Supporting Bereaved Parents with Ali Ande

May 7, 2021

In Episode 58 of Footprints on our Hearts, I talk to Ali Ande, whose first son, DJ was sadly stillborn in 2016. Her second son Grayson and her third son, Gavin were both born prematurely, Gavin at the height of the covid-19 pandemic last year.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Ali’s journey to getting pregnant and the naivety of pregnancy before loss (09:13)
  • Going into hospital to give birth to DJ and spending time with him after he was born (20:44)
  • How a nurse’s wise words helped prepare Ali for grief (27:08)
  • Experiencing anxiety while pregnant with her second son, Grayson, and how she felt when he was in NICU (31:10)
  • Her third pregnancy with Gavin and giving birth during a global pandemic (38:41)
  • Why she created a platform to support other bereaved parents (44:04)
  • How she feels raising black kids in America today (50:48)

You can connect with Ali on Instagram @aliandeenterprise and find out more about her on her website: https://www.aliandeenterprise.com/.

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing the show.

If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

#57 Adoption After Baby Loss and Infertility with Ruth Hopkins

#57 Adoption After Baby Loss and Infertility with Ruth Hopkins

April 23, 2021

In Episode 57 of Footprints on our Hearts, I welcome Ruth Hopkins back to the podcast! Ruth was my guest in Episode 4, when we talked about her ectopic pregnancy, her son, Dexter, who was stillborn, and her subsequent miscarriage. Last year, Ruth and Dave decided to apply to become adoptive parents and Ruth kindly agreed to come back onto the podcast to talk about the process their went through and the emotional aspect of deciding to grow their family in a different way.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Ruth’s experience of baby loss and unexplained secondary infertility (05:05)
  • Why they decided to explore adoption (17.33)
  • The process Ruth and Dave went through to become prospective adoptive parents (21:55)
  • How counselling has helped her process her grief and put her in a position to empathise with children who have been through traumatic experiences (31:45)
  • Finding out they’d been approved as p (38:23)
  • De-Dextering Dexter’s room and preparing their home for a new child (47:25)
  • Coming to terms with not being able to involve Dexter in their child’s life in the same way as they would have done had he had a biological sibling (53.05)

You can connect with Ruth on Instagram @ruth_and_her_bear and @born_from_the_heart.

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing the show.

 If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

#56 IVF, Ectopic Pregnancies and Robo-Babies with Laura Gallagher

#56 IVF, Ectopic Pregnancies and Robo-Babies with Laura Gallagher

April 9, 2021

This week, I talk with Laura Gallagher, the author of Robo-Babies a children’s book that explains the many varied ways in which families can form. We discuss Laura’s experience of IVF, parenting after infertility, birth trauma and loss, and the two ectopic pregnancies she sadly experienced after her son’s birth.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Feeling embarrassed and alone having been told they would need to go through IVF to conceive (15:02)
  • The pressure of only having one viable embryo and Rafe’s birth (19:46)
  • The challenges of bonding with your baby after infertility, birth trauma or loss (26:56)
  • Getting pregnant naturally and finding out it was ectopic (35:04)
  • Experiencing a second ectopic pregnancy and why this was so much harder (42:14)
  • Laura’s experience of grief after loss (48:45)
  • Why she decided to write Robo-Babies (58:00)

You can connect with Laura on Instagram @robomummy and get a copy of Robo-Babies from Owlet Press or all good bookstores!

In the introduction, I talk about the Channel 4 documentary, The Black Maternity Scandal, and Chine McDonald’s article in the Independent on why she used her husband’s whiteness to keep her safe.

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing the show.

If you have any feedback on the show, suggestions for guests or would like to share your story, you can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

#55 Finn’s Story, Heart Surgery and Sibling Grief with Claire Cassidy

#55 Finn’s Story, Heart Surgery and Sibling Grief with Claire Cassidy

March 26, 2021

This week, I talk to Claire Cassidy about her son, Finn, who lost his fight for life after 34 days. Finn was diagnosed with three congenital heart defects and underwent multiple surgeries before he sadly passed away. We chat about Finn, Claire’s grief and the impact on her older son, Lucas, who wasn’t allowed into the hospital to see his brother due to Covid-19 regulations.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Realising Finn wasn’t well, being rushed to the NICU then transferred to Glasgow Children’s Hospital (6:56)
  • Receiving a diagnosis of three heart conditions and watching Finn undergo two open-heart surgeries (14:26)
  • Finding out there had been catastrophic complications during further surgery and holding Finn while he passed away (20:13)
  • Why Lucas wasn’t able to see his baby brother in hospital and how that impacted his grief (29:27)
  • Claire’s experience of grief and a bereaved mother’s guilt (34:45)
  • What Finn has taught her about life and celebrating his memory (37:56)

You can connect with Claire on Instagram @clairecassidy96. Claire and Mark received support from two charities who they’re now fundraising for: Brightest Star and The Zak Braveheart Foundation.

If you have any feedback on the show, suggestions for guests or would like to share your story, you can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing this episode.

#54 Eliza’s story, IVF and Parenting After Loss with Sarah Chapman

#54 Eliza’s story, IVF and Parenting After Loss with Sarah Chapman

March 12, 2021

In Episode 54, I chat with Sarah Chapman about her daughter Eliza, who was stillborn in 2018, and her rainbow baby, Liberty. We discuss grief, secondary infertility, IVF and parenting after loss, plus how they include Eliza in their day-to-day family life.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Sarah’s pregnancy with Eliza, going into labour and finding out her baby had died (7:38)
  • How Sarah felt about meeting Eliza after she was born (16:31)
  • How having her parents live in the States and suffering a further family bereavement shortly after Eliza’s death impacted on Sarah and her husband’s grief (26:57)
  • Sharing Eliza’s story and fundraising in her memory (33:24)
  • Deciding to try again and having to go through IVF to get pregnant with their second daughter (37:07)
  • How covid 19 had a positive impact on Sarah’s experience of pregnancy after loss (43:04)
  • Parenting after loss and how they include Eliza in their family (44:56)

You can connect with Sarah on Instagram @ourlittlesnowdrop and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/elizasmummy.

Sarah mentions a couple of her favourite books for talking to children about baby loss and IVF. These are These Precious Little People by Frankie Brunker (@thesepreciouslittlepeople) and Robo-Babies by Laura Gallagher (@robomummy).

If you have any feedback on the show, suggestions for guests or would like to share your story, you can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing this episode.

#53 Praying for Healing, Preparing for Death with Clint Watkins

#53 Praying for Healing, Preparing for Death with Clint Watkins

February 26, 2021

In Episode 53 of Footprints on our Hearts, I chat to Clint Watkins who lost two sons at different stages of pregnancy. We discuss Clint and his wife’s dilemma over whether to continue with her pregnancy after having been told their son would not survive and what plans they made to honour their son both during pregnancy and after he was born.

We also chat about Clint’s faith and the role of grief and lamentation in faith.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Getting pregnant and finding out that their baby had anencephaly (2:18)
  • Facing an impossible decision and deciding to continue with the pregnancy (8:53)
  • Preparing for Eli’s birth and death and making memories during pregnancy (15:33)
  • Meeting Eli after his birth and planning his funeral (24:48)
  • The role of lamentation in faith (31:09)
  • Losing their second son, Rowe to miscarriage (35:40)
  • Why he decided to speak out about baby loss (41:27)

You can connect with Clint on Instagram @clintdwatkins and read his blog - www.frailfather.com.

If you have any feedback on the show, suggestions for guests or would like to share your story, you can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing this episode.

#52 One Year of Footprints on our Hearts

#52 One Year of Footprints on our Hearts

February 19, 2021

This week, I have a special bonus episode to celebrate one year of the podcast! I’ve been catching up with a few of my past guests, reflecting on what I’ve learned from talking to so many parents about their experiences of baby loss and sharing my own reflections on the past year.

In Part One, I share seven things I’ve learned from the stories that I’ve shared on Footprints on our Hearts. (3:10)

In Part Two (18:00), I share some reflections on the past year.

In my mini interview with Karl, we talk about the healing that his third child has brought to their lives, the motivation behind his sporting challenges, how training helps him reflect and his upcoming endurance challenge raising money for Tommy’s. (19:27)

You can listen to Karl’s story in Episode 20 of the podcast and connect with him on Instagram @the_ambitious_endurance. You can also support him and the team completing the West Highland Way challenge @run.swim.bike.hike.

In my mini interview with Lucy, we talk about the meaning of balance, how to prioritise self-care when you’re juggling too many plates and why asking for help isn’t a failure. (30:18)

You can listen to Lucy’s story in Episode 20 and connect with her on Instagram @_mother_of_one_. You can find out more about the Rainbow Running and Yoga Club and all the events Lucy and her team organise at https://www.rainbowrunningclub.co.uk/.

In my reflections on the past year, I talk about passing key grief milestones, pregnancy after loss and searching for balance in my life. (44:05)

I wrap up the episode by reflecting on the seasons of life we find ourselves in and accepting that there is a time for everything.

If you have any feedback on the show, suggestions for guests or would like to share your story, you can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

#51 Neo-Natal Loss, Organ Donation and Pregnancy After Loss with Claire and Andrew

#51 Neo-Natal Loss, Organ Donation and Pregnancy After Loss with Claire and Andrew

February 12, 2021

In Episode 51 of Footprints on our Hearts, I chat with Claire and Andrew about their daughter Alexandra who died shortly after she was born. Claire describes Alexandra as having the dubious accolade of being “the biggest and the sickest baby on the NICU”.

We discuss why they chose to explore organ donation, grief, counselling, and pregnancy and parenting after loss. Following the arrival of the couple’s second daughter, Ophelia, they experienced two years of unexplained infertility. At the time of recording the interview, Claire was pregnant with their third child and they have since welcomed baby Daphne into the world.

In the interview, we talk about:

  • Claire’s pregnancy with Alexandra and being rushed for an emergency c-section the day before her planned induction (10:27)
  • Alexandra’s birth (14:11)
  • Trying to keep Alexandra alive (25:40)
  • Deciding to donate her organs and how this affected their search for answers (32:22)
  • Grief, going back to work and receiving counselling (34:55)
  • Getting pregnant again and pregnancy after loss (39:59)
  • Parenting after loss while grieving Alexandra (46:36)
  • Experiencing unexplained secondary infertility (51:46)

You can connect with Claire on Instagram @afteralexandra36 and find out more about Alexandra on her blog www.afteralexandra.co.uk.

In the introduction, I mention my husband’s latest endurance challenge to raise money for Tommy’s. He’s part of the @run.swim.bike.hike team planning a triathlon version of the West Highland Way this summer. Please do check out their Instagram page to support them!

If you have any feedback on the show, suggestions for guests or would like to share your story, you can connect with me on Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/footprintsonourhearts/), Twitter (https://twitter.com/skyesfootprints) or email alison@footprintsonourhearts.com. If you enjoy the podcast, please leave a rating or review on your podcast app! You can support the show on Patreon - https://www.patreon.com/footprintsonourhearts

Thanks to Izzy Syme for editing and producing this episode.

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