Have someone who loves to camp on your holiday shopping list? How about these pine cone fire-starters we have available for our craft and bake sale?! Set in wax with a candle wick woven through the pine cone, those outdoor enthusiasts will love the ease they have of starting their next bonfire! Just $0.75/each - and you can pre-order yours today if you can't make it to the sale on the 19th.
How about a gift to pamper someone (including yourself)? We also have these peppermint bath salts made with essential oils - just $4/jar - and you can pre-order these today, too!
We are getting more items ready for our fundraising efforts at the Holiday Expo on Saturday, November 19th in Mankato at the Madison East Center. Keep checking our site for updates and sneak peeks. Hope to see you there on the 19th!
The Wings of Hope committee continues to prepare for the craft and bake sale on November 19th! This is the first time we will be participating in the annual event at the Madison East Center from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., where vendors of all kinds will have tables set up with their handmade designs, crafts, and delicious baked goods. Come and shop for a good cause at our booth and help support families in Southern MN who experience pregnancy and newborn loss. All proceeds from the sale at our booth go to Wings of Hope and the services we provide.
Have something to share that we can add to our booth? We still need donations of crafts of all kinds and baked goods - please consider helping us reach our fundraising goals! And remember, you can shop early by looking at the items we have already available on our blog and sending us an email to let us know what you would like!
Help support Wings of Hope and do your holiday shopping at the same time! Items like these handcrafted bookmarks will be on sale at our next fundraiser. Can't make it on the 19th to the sale? Send us an email or give us a call to pre-order your crafts. We'll keep posting pictures of items as they are ready for shopping!
Saturday, November 19
Madison East Center
Check out these adorable ceramic coasters made by one of our committee members! Awesome crafts like these - and baked goods - will be available at our craft sale on November 19th. Do your holiday shopping and help Wings of Hope provide support and resources to families in Southern MN - the best of both worlds!
Saturday, November 19th
9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Madison East Center
Craft and Bake Sale
I'm one of the faces behind Wings of Hope. And I'm 1 in 4. As I prepare my candles for the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day service on Saturday, I reflect about how I can finally share the name I gave my child - the child no one else held but me. I also reflect on the idea that I am encouraging our community to end the silence around pregnancy and infant loss, but I haven't necessarily done my full part. So, today I'm speaking out and sharing my own story behind what propelled me to this place.
We were expecting our second child and my sister-in-law Shari was expecting her first. We had just spent a Sunday afternoon together shopping for our babies – two pregnant women joined in sweet expectation of being pregnant with children who would soon grow up as cousins, getting into mischief and creating wonderful mayhem. I was in the final stretch of the first trimester and Shari was in the final stretch of the third, and we were both giddy with pregnancy happiness.
Our beautiful day came to a close and Shari and I embraced, her swelling belly reaching out to touch me first, and we laughed that the cousins were hugging good-bye, too. Little did we know just how accurate this sentiment was. We had no idea of the kinds of goodbyes we would have to say in the days that followed.
Later that same night, after starting to spot and cramp, I ended up in the hospital, and the next day learned that my baby died. I wanted to jump out of my body that had betrayed me. Or had I betrayed my baby? I wanted to run away from myself, to leave behind the anguish that was prickling me all over.
I failed my baby. I failed my husband. I failed my daughter. I failed my family. I failed my friends. I failed myself. These thoughts consumed me.
Had I failed God? Was this a punishment? Was this a test?
Or, had God failed me? Writing that now is painful, for I have come to deeper and stronger understandings and beliefs, but I cannot hide the fact that I questioned God. I questioned why a loving God would allow mothers and families this type of pain.
I just wanted to be back in that space and time when Shari and I were shopping for baby supplies together. I felt an envy creeping in like a dark fog that settles heavily and makes it difficult to see clearly. I grew even angrier with God and more envious of Shari every second. Even though I was seething with an anger that I directed to the Heavens, I asked – or perhaps demanded – of Him to take those next few weeks before Shari gives birth and find some way to heal my heart so that when I looked into the eyes of my niece or nephew I would feel joy, and not sad longing. It was almost as if I was challenging God, giving him a time limit to heal my pain. I told Him it was the least he could do for me after he let my child die.
For two days my world was the anguishing pain of this thing we call miscarriage. That word just doesn’t describe this process, this pain, this occasion. And then on the third day the pain became so strong and severe I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the bathroom. I knew I wouldn’t make it to the door to call for Steve. Like a wave crashing on the ocean, blood burst forth from me with such intensity that it felt like my heart was going to be sucked out, too.
In that moment, I realized it. This was me saying goodbye. I rocked back and forth and apologized to my child.
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry I couldn’t do it right. I’m so sorry I let you down as your mom. I’m so sorry. I love you. I miss you. Please don’t go!”
As those words poured out of me, so did the remains of my child. No tiny toes or whispers of fine dark hair, but my child’s broken remains. I wanted to gather those pools of blood in my hands and never let them go.
At the Evening of Remembrance Pastor Brad read a poem that reflects many of the questions and emotions parents have after losing a child in pregnancy or newborn death. We've heard from many who wanted a copy of that poem, so we're including it here. It is an adaptation from the original by Jennifer Wasik, What Makes a Mother?. We love her original poem, but just wanted a way to include the dads in our expression of remembrance.
As the Wings of Hope committee continues to plan and prepare for the Evening of Remembrance, we are reminded of the generosity of the community of Southern MN. In less than a year we have gone from a bare plot of ground at the cemetery to planning for the first burial and remembrance service - the circle of the monument site representing this full-circle moment. And none of this would be possible without the support from the community.
An example about this support comes in the way of flowers - but it is much more than just flowers. Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse will be donating white carnations for each family who wishes to recognize their children lost in pregnancy. During our Evening of Remembrance these families will be invited to place a flower at the burial urn, and say the name of that child if they wish. Each carnation will represent the life of a cherished child, and will provide an opportunity for some of these families to, for the first time, publicly recognize that significant loss.
At the entrance to the memorial site we have two pillars, and in preparation for the Evening of Remembrance, a family touched deeply by the grief of pregnancy loss is donating two beautiful planters to rest atop these pillars and welcome visitors to the site. So when you go to the memorial site, you'll see not just the flowers, but symbols of love and support - in memory of the Demuth 9.
These are more than just donations of flowers. The generosity of Hilltop Florist and Greenhouse is a demonstration of the kind of community support that we need and so appreciate, a way of embracing all of those in the area affected by pregnancy loss. The generosity of the family donating in memory of the Demuth 9 reminds us all that in grief we can rise to help lift others. These flowers are hope.
Thank you to all who have donated time, money, and resources to help support families of Southern MN who have experienced pregnancy loss - and for a future in the area where those who experience this type of loss will feel embraced by our community.
Please join us for our very first service to remember the lives of children lost during pregnancy and newborn death. We would also love it if you could help share the word - you never know who might need this in their lives and how showing your support at this service might affect those in our community.
The members of our committee have all been on the journey of pregnancy loss, but in different ways. Learn more about why they are all so passionate about bringing awareness and comfort to families who lose a child during pregnancy.