On Losing A Child: A Birth Story About Love, Loss and A Heartbreaking Choice (Part 2)


(This story is part two of a two-part series documenting our experience of losing a child and ending a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons. Read part one here).

Nobody gets pregnant expecting to have an abortion. This is my story about terminating a wanted pregnancy and losing a child before he was even born.Labour and delivery

One of the nurses returned to the room and offered her condolences. She gave me a pill and said I could take it and go back to the hotel for the night. I didn’t have to stay at the hospital. The next morning morning I was scheduled to come back and be fully induced.

I thanked her and we left. I was numb. I couldn’t speak. Couldn’t feel. Couldn’t wrap my head around what had just happened. But worst of all, I couldn’t feel any tiny movements in my belly anymore. I was still carrying my child. I was still physically connected to him and nourishing his body with mine. But he was gone. How could this be?

We spent the night at the hotel and I fell asleep holding my daughter in bed. I could barely let her go that night. I needed to love and to physically hold a child of mine. I needed reassurance that I was a good mother who would do anything for her children. I needed her at that moment more than she needed me.

The next morning came, and we took our time getting to the hospital. Luckily the nursing staff were great about it and told us there was no rush. We could take as much time as we needed. So we did. Truth be told, I was trying to drag out every last moment with this baby. I didn’t want to let go. But I felt my body letting go already. My body intuitively knew it was time to let go soon. But my heart wasn’t ready.

We arrived at the hospital at 10:30 in the morning. We checked in at the desk in the maternity ward and the nurses behind the counter went from laughing and joking together to solemn and quiet when I said my name. Clearly they were expecting me.

I was hurried to the antepartum ward into my own private room, around the corner and far enough away from the maternity ward full of joyous families and excited parents about to birth their living children. Far enough away that I wouldn’t have to hear the cries of new babies at the start of their hopefully long and happy lives.

A nurse came in to comfort me and to get me ready to begin the process of induction. I was given another pill and told to wait a few hours to see if anything started to happen.

My first labour with Evelyn was not an easy one. I was induced with her too because I went past my due date and had gestational diabetes, so the doctors were worried about her getting too big. Labour took around 10 hours until ending in a c-section shortly after midnight. I asked how long this labour would take, and was told anywhere from a few hours to a few days. Somehow I knew mine would be somewhere in between.

Sure enough, hours went by and still no active labour. Then, at around 6 p.m. I started contractions. The process ticked along slowly from there and by about 11:00 I was in a fair amount of pain but still declined any drugs. I wanted to feel the pain. I wanted that connection to and experience with my child. I wanted to feel the pain so that he wouldn’t have to. I needed a physical reminder of why I was doing this: So that my child would never have to experience pain.

I kept repeating in my mind “I would endure any amount of pain so that my children won’t suffer.” That kept me going for a while, but when the nurse said “don’t be a hero,” I started to consider some painkillers.

I was given some morphine around midnight, which helped to calm the pain of contractions and let me get a long enough break to regain some strength. But by 2 a.m. I was writhing in pain again. I had an epidural which really helped to ease the pain and give me a chance to get some sleep. I slept for about 2 or 3 hours and awoke at 5 a.m. to the nurse standing over me telling me I was fully dilated and it was time to push.

I tried pushing for an hour as the doctor, the nurse and my husband stood over me staring. I felt like I was under pressure to deliver this baby, and I could barely even feel anything below the waist. I made the connection to my child having no feeling in his own lower body, and found it ironic.

I had never pushed before since I’d had a c-section with Evelyn, so I really wasn’t quite sure what to do. After about an hour of trying, I finally got the hang of it and knew that I was ready to deliver the baby. Still I held on. I knew that once he was out, that was it. I would get to hold his body for a few hours and then it was goodbye forever. I wasn’t ready to let go, but my body said “it’s time,” and with a couple pushes he was out, and everything was quiet.

There were no cries. No chatter from the nurse or doctor. No happy congratulations. Just quiet. 

The nurse handed us our baby all wrapped up. He looked so peaceful. His eyes were closed and his mouth was open just a little bit. His tiny hands had all five fingers and his face had both ears, eyes and a mouth and nose. He looked angelic and perfect and like nothing at all was wrong with him. But as we slowly unwrapped his blanket to take a look at his legs, we knew without a doubt that we had made the right decision.

His legs were crossed over each other and his lower leg and calf was scrawny and lacking any meat. The doctor told us the umbilical cord had been wrapped around his leg, and unable to kick it off, it seemed to have restricted the growth of his leg. We didn’t look at his back. I couldn’t bear to get a closer look. I wanted to remember him wrapped up and perfect.

I asked the nurse what the gender was because we still couldn’t see under his crossed little legs. She checked carefully and was able to confirm it was a boy. 

“It’s a boy, Ry,” I said to Ryan as tears welled in my eyes. And as I did, he started crying too.

We were given as much time as we needed to hold him and be with him before it was time to go. I put him down on the bed between Ryan and I and we played beautiful, sad music on our iPhones and fell asleep together for about an hour. It was the best hour of this entire experience, and I felt very much at peace.

Finally a nurse came in to ask us the necessary questions, including what we were naming our baby boy. We decided to name him Phoenix Rain: Phoenix to rise from the ashes and Rain for the sadness we felt in losing him.

Nobody gets pregnant expecting to have an abortion. This is my story about terminating a wanted pregnancy and losing a child before he was even born.

I felt very at peace during the hours immediately following Phoenix’s birth. I knew we had made the right choice. The hardest parts were over with. His soul was free. We had experienced what I believe we were meant to experience. And now our healing could begin. 

I looked at my son and at his tiny body and I knew that he wasn’t in there. It was just his body; His vessel. And I was glad I was able to free him from that vessel which wasn’t built to serve him in his life, and to give him a chance at a better one.

Then again, sometimes I wonder if our son was an angel from the beginning. Did he come to us to teach us a lesson about love and life? Or maybe even to give another soul who is meant to come into our lives the opportunity to do so when the time is right? Maybe he was never meant to be born at all, but was merely an angel meant to visit us for a short while to help us along our own spiritual journey.

 

On faith, destiny, purpose and unconditional love

Nobody gets pregnant expecting to have an abortion. This is my story about terminating a wanted pregnancy and losing a child before he was even born.

Phoenix Rain: Born June 15, 2018. Died June 13, 2018. Forever and always our second child.

I believe very strongly that we are spiritual beings having a human experience, and while I don’t know the reasons why life unfolds as it does, I do believe it is meant to unfold exactly as it should. I believe all things happen for a reason, and that our purpose in life is for our souls to experience the things necessary for them to grow and fulfill their full potential. I don’t understand it, but I believe it.

And so I take comfort in believing that my son was able to fulfill his own soul’s purpose before he was even born. Most of us take decades to fulfill ours, if we do at all while we’re here, so it’s a pretty special thing for him to have been able to leave a legacy like he did in only 24 weeks of gestation.

As we sat in the delivery room with him by our side, family members filed in to offer love, comfort and condolences. We sat together and told stories and laughed and cried and smiled. Phoenix got to be part of his first and last family get together, and it was as happy as it could be in that moment.

My daughter came into the room bright-eyed and yelled “mommy!” as she ran to my bed and I lifted her onto my lap. Seeing her brought me great joy but also made me feel sad beyond words that I would never get to hear my son say “mommy” as I lifted him onto my lap and held him tight. 

A hospital worker came in and brought us a round, blue box with a heart painted on it. In it was Phoenix’s hospital bracelet, the measuring tape used to measure him with his measurements and weight scrolled on it, and a card with his hand and footprints stamped in it.

Nobody gets pregnant expecting to have an abortion. This is my story about terminating a wanted pregnancy and losing a child before he was even born.Nobody gets pregnant expecting to have an abortion. This is my story about terminating a wanted pregnancy and losing a child before he was even born.Nobody gets pregnant expecting to have an abortion. This is my story about terminating a wanted pregnancy and losing a child before he was even born.

It was a beautiful gesture and I’m so happy I have this much of my son to remember him by, but still I was in disbelief that while other mothers were leaving with their babies, I was leaving with a box.

The nurses wrapped our boy up in a blue knitted blanket that somebody obviously handmade for a baby like him, and put a tiny knitted toque on his head. They told us we could keep them both as mementos.

I took the blanket when we were about to leave as he was still wrapped in another blanket underneath that one. But I couldn’t take the hat. His forehead had started to shrivel up as he lay there and I didn’t want to remember him that way. I couldn’t bring myself to strip him of the few things that were his. We left the hat on him, and we kissed him and said goodbye. And that was it.

When we returned home that day, I had that strange feeling you often get when someone close to you dies: The feeling of wondering “how is time still ticking and life still going on when this beautiful, amazing, unique life just ended? When our life is forever changed? How will things ever be the same?”

And the truth is, they won’t. Life won’t ever be the same for us, just as it’s not the same for anyone when a loved one dies. But life does go on. Death is an inherent part of life, and just like we cannot know joy without sadness, we cannot know life without death. It makes us aware of our own mortality in this world, and hopefully of our soul’s immortality and our infinite connection with all that is, was or ever will be. 

I know that Phoenix is with me all the time. I’m not sure of what form he is in, but I know that our souls will always be connected and probably always have been. I know that he can hear me when I talk to him, even if I don’t say the words out loud. When I read my daughter a story before bed, I read it to my son too. I know that when I cuddle his blanket at night, that he can feel me holding him. And I know that he forgives me for the choice I had to make, because he knows I did it out of nothing but love and compassion. 

It’s been three weeks now since I lost my baby boy. We brought his urn home yesterday, and when we did, Evelyn, our not-quite-two-year-old daughter said out of the blue, “there’s my brother! My brother’s here!” Ryan and I looked at each other in bewilderment. How did she know that? A question neither one of us could answer. But it reaffirmed my faith that Phoenix is here with us in spirit, and I’m glad our daughter can perceive him and feel him here too.

Nobody gets pregnant expecting to have an abortion. This is my story about terminating a wanted pregnancy and losing a child before he was even born.

The little heart-shaped urn that contains Phoenix’s ashes now sits atop our mantel. It’s no bigger than my fist and probably weighs more than he did at birth. It’s a sad but beautiful reminder of our son.

Not a day goes by when I don’t think of our sweet boy. But I worry sometimes that I will forget. That one day when I’m old and grey, if I make it that long on Earth, that I’ll have trouble remembering my second child. I’ll forget what his tiny punches felt like in my womb. I’ll forget what he looked like. I’ll forget the pain of this experience.

I confided this in a dear friend of mine who also lost a child at birth. She reassured me that the mind might forget, but the heart will always remember, and I know she’s right.

Because regardless of how many healthy, living children I have in my life, my second child will always be the one I lost. I will always be his mother. He will always be my son. 

Now at night when I hold his blanket in my arms and the thought of him in my heart, I remind him of that when I repeat the famous lines from the Robert Munsch book, “Love You Forever”:

 

 

I’ll love you forever

I’ll like you for always

As long as I’m living

My baby you’ll be.

 

I love you beyond words my son. You’ve inspired me to be a better person and a more grateful, appreciative, compassionate human being. You’ll always be with me in my heart wherever I go. 

Be at peace my sweet child, for now you are free.

 

** Recommended Reading: If you or someone you now has faced or is facing a situation like ours, I highly recommend the following book, Our Heartbreaking Choices: Forty-Six Women Share Their Stories Of Interrupting A Much-Wanted Pregnancy

This book is written by real people who have face the choice of ending a wanted pregnancy for medical reasons. It has helped me to know that I am not alone as I go through this process and I sincerely hope it can do the same for someone else as well. 

 

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42 Comments

  1. Kelly

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am pregnant with my first little one and will have to be going through this same thing shortly. I’m… I don’t really have a word to describe my brokenness but whatever’s beyond that, that’s what I am. Your story truly truly has helped me. I hope one day I can articulate the words as you have and find the courage to share my story one day, to hopefully help someone else not feel alone as you’ve done for me. Thank you x a million.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Kelly,
      I’m so sorry to hear about what you’re going through. Nobody will ever understand it unless they’ve been through it before. But know that you’re far from alone. There are so many other women like us who are too afraid to speak about what they’ve gone through for fear of judgment on top of the incredible pain we’re already going through, but I believe our children deserve to have their stories told. I hope you do find the courage to tell your story someday, but in the meantime I will email you the invite to the support group. I’ve found a lot of solace there. Sending love and healing thoughts ❤️

      Reply
  2. Nicole

    Thank you Anna for sharing your story. It really helps. I have so much sadness for the baby girl I have in me, who I’ll have to say goodbye to in a week. I also have a toddler who is almost 2 and would have been a big sister by July, a few months past her birthday. I don’t know how to deal with this loss yet. It’s a hard decision to make- to end a baby’s life because their life would be full of pain and difficulty. I want this baby so badly, it’s almost selfish to consider having her anyway and just seeing how things play out. Maybe her life won’t be as bad as I think it would be. But I know that her life would be fragile, possibly short and full of obstacles, however mild her disease. And for you to say that you and your husband wouldn’t want to live the life that your baby would lead….that makes perfect sense. I wouldn’t want to be in my baby girls place, and have so many complications and surgeries for my whole life. It makes sense, but I wish I could still hold her, kiss her, dance with her, take her on adventures, and keep her safe. It’s a weird feeling to be compelled to want to protect and keep your baby safe and give them the best life, and then to have to choose an abortion as their best outcome. I don’t know how to feel about it.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Hi Nicole,

      I completely understand what you’re going through and I’m so sorry. I understand wanting to hold and kiss and love your baby but knowing that the kindest and most loving thing you can do for her is to spare her from suffering. I don’t think you’re supposed to feel one way or another about it. It’s a complicated type of grief that only those of us who have walked this difficult path can understand. If you’d like some additional support, please email me at anna@thehouseandhomestead.com and I will send you the information to a fantastic online support group I’m a part of. Sending love and healing to you and your precious girl ♥️

      Reply
      • Kelly

        Anna, Could you also send me the support group ??

        Reply
  3. Denise Cortez

    It took me this long to read your beautiful words. God Bless your family. Thank you for sharing your life with us.

    Reply
  4. helen

    What a beautiful, brave tribute to your angel boy. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you Helen<3

      Reply
  5. Aria

    Thank you for having the courage to share your story. I’m sorry about all the negative reactions you may have received, both publicly and privately. No one has the right to judge or ‘throw stones,’ and more people could use a refresher on what it means to have compassion and empathy. Not to dig too deep into politics, but your story and others like it are so important. Many folks don’t seem to realize just how much can ‘go wrong’ during a pregnancy; indeed, like you said, it’s a miracle so many pregnancies lead to healthy babies. I recently visited the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia, PA, and it highlighted just how many things can go wrong. It was hard to see them…they were real human babies, not wax dolls. Your choice came from a place of love. It is never an easy choice, especially when a baby is so longed for in joyous excitement. I wish peace upon your heart, mind, and spirit. I know my words cannot ease your pain and heartbreak. But please know that many people support you in your choice and in your grief. I hope writing out this two-part post was cathartic for you. If you and your husband feel a need, I would suggest that you look for a trustworthy professional to talk to about your loss, whether that is a spiritual adviser, a grief counselor, an online loss group/forum, or whomever. Sometimes it can help to speak to someone who is nonjudgmental and whose only goal is to offer you support. Not everyone will feel a need for this, but if you or your husband do, there is nothing wrong in seeking such support. Wishing you peace in these challenging days to come, and wishing you happiness and joy all the years of your lives.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you so much for your kind words. I am honestly floored by the overwhelmingly positive and supportive response I’ve received. Sure there have been a few cruel responses, but I expected that. There will always be some people who choose judgment and hate over understanding and love, but going through hard life experiences such as losing my sweet boy has taught me to always choose the latter in my own life, so I send those people love in return. Ryan and I have spoken to a counsellor and are taking the necessary steps to work throughout grief in a positive, healthy way. We’ve been through some loss and trauma together before, so we were a bit better prepared this time around to handle the process. Thank you so much for reaching out. Love and light to you.

      Reply
  6. Ann Cowles

    I am sending big “Hugs” to you and your husband. My heart goes out to you. It was a hard and brave decision to have to make, but for you both and your son, the right one.
    Your story brought back memories. I remember in January of 1989 getting a positive AFP test back on my second pregnancy. Had no idea what that meant. I had been a nurse working in Obstetrics for 17 years but we didn’t do that test then, not in 1987 when my daughter was born either. I read all my books to find out what it was and the worst it could be. I remember waiting for answers, going to the ultrasound ( scared to death), then the genic counseling. It was all so scary and overwhelming. Nothing showed up on the Ultrasound, he’s 29 years old now and but does have Asperger’s Syndrome. No one should judge you, they haven’t walked in your shoes. I wish you the best and thank you for sharing your story.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you so much for the kind and supportive words, and for sharing your own story! I was also born in 1987 and my mother said the same (about not testing for all the things they test for now or having as thorough of an ultrasound as they do now). I’m definitely thankful for modern technology and the ability it affords us to choose the best path forward for our families. And you’re so right: No one has the right ti judge anyone until they’ve walked in their shoes. Thank you again for reaching out <3

      Reply
  7. Deborah

    What a beautiful and sad story. I cried my way through but felt the most tears well up at Becky’s response. What a mean intentioned human being. Shame on a “Christian” for acting so unchristianly. Baby Phoenix is looking down on you, loving you both and his big sister. Love and strength to your family and your journey through life. ❤️

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for reading and reaching out. While I am forever grateful for all of the kind and beautiful responses I’ve received from so many people, I understand there will always be some who disagree with my choice. The words that some people have chosen to express their disagreement have certainly hurt in a time when I’m hurting most, but I know that what others think of me is none of my business, and the way they choose to respond says more about them than it does about me. Love to you <3

      Reply
  8. Rebecca

    Your story really resonates with me. Apart from the diagnosis and gender of your Phoenix, our story’s are so SO similar. Even down to our LC being named Evelyn, arriving by C-section, and our poor wee babies full labourcstarting around 5am after a fairk long induction. Thank you for sharing so bravely, so openly. Just know that any hate you’ve received, you have also changed someone’s view. Sending you much love and strength

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Wow! Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your story with me! So many the details are so similar! My son is my Angel in Heaven but my Evelyn is my Earth Angel, as I’m sure yours is too <3 And that hate and negativity that I've received is nothing compared to the love and positive energy I've received from so many. Love always triumphs over hate and light over darkness. Always remember that.

      Reply
  9. Christine

    I am a new subscriber and a mother of 5 children all grown up with children of their own. Your story was heartbreaking and I was in tears. As hard as it was you made the right choice, both for your son, but also for your daughter. Your son would have had a most difficult life and your life as a mother along with it, there would have been weeks of not giving your daughter your full attention even times away in hospitals. The cost of all this also would have also been a major burden. God doesn’t want anyone to suffer. Abortion for a healthy unwanted child is wrong especially when so many women want to adopt. Medical reasons and yours were severe is not wrong.
    Your daughter has been given the gift to know her brother is there, so be blessed and be happy. There will be another healthy child, look forward to that, difference in age will be insignificant. Hugs and strength from me to , as you find peace.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for the kind and supportive words Christine. Although we made the decision for our son, we certainly did consider our daughter as well. It would have been such a hard life for her in a very different way. She would be robbed of her childhood and would have to grow up very quickly to help pull extra weight as we tended to our boy. She would always come second, and that wouldn’t be fair to her either. I could never let any of my children suffer. As heart-wrenching of a decision as this was, I know we made the right choice for everyone involved. All our son ever knew was love and compassion, and it will remain forever that way. Thank you again for reaching out <3

      Reply
  10. Jenn

    Thank you for sharing. My heart breaks for you and your family. You will have backlash no matter what, which I’m sure you are aware of. Whether or not your choice was “right” in someone else’s eyes, is beyond what has really happened here.

    I’m really sad about this, but it gives light and understanding to different things that others go through. I’m sure this was very difficult to write! I can’t imagine having to go through that!

    I’ve experienced 2 miscarriages after having 2 healthy babies just fine – first one at 13 weeks (after hearing the heartbeat at 8 weeks), and second one at 9 weeks. I don’t think you’ll ever “forget,” though. The pain a mother feels when losing a child is more than just a loss, it’s losing something that was literally part of her own being.

    May God comfort you during this time of grieving.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks for reaching out and for sharing your own losses with me! Any backlash I’ve received doesn’t compare to the pain of losing our son. What doesn’t kill you truly makes you stronger, and I’ve been through enough at this point that words will never hurt me. I really don’t care if someone else thinks it’s right or wrong. I know in my heart we made the right decision and we have been incredibly supported throughout our journey by the overwhelming majority of people. Thank you again for your kind and supportive words! Love and light to you and yours <3

      Reply
  11. Anne P.

    Your story brought me to tears. I applaud your choice and although it was possibly the most difficult choice you both may ever have to make. I am proud that you both had the right to make that choice. Regardless of personal beliefs, it was your (both of you) choice to make and something that we all should support.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you so much for the support. We made the best decision we could when faced with two horrible options. Sometimes our personal beliefs are challenged when we are faced with something like this in our own lives. It’s never a decision I thought I would have to make for myself or my own child, but life doesn’t happen the way we expect it to. We need to take it as it comes and accept it for what it is, as heartbreaking as that can be sometimes. Thank you again for reaching out <3

      Reply
  12. Ashley

    I am so sorry for your loss. It is an unimaginable pain to say goodbye to a child. He will always be with you watching over his siblings. <3

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you Ashley. Yes, I know his spirit is with us. He will always be a piece of me and although I will never get to hold him in the flesh, I will always hold him in my heart. Love and light to you <3

      Reply
  13. Barbara

    Dear Anna and Ryan,
    My best wishes to both of you in this difficult time. I believe you made the right decision.
    A relative of mine had not made the right decision and their baby never walked, spoke or was able to do anything. It was very sad for the entire family for the duration of their son’s short life.
    Phoenix is in heaven and free. May God bless you with another healthy child when the time is right.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for reading and for sharing your insight. That’s exactly the sort of life we wanted to spare our own son from We just couldn’t bear the thought of him suffering in his life, be it short or long. I know I would never want to live that way, so I would never put my children through a life of hardship like that. We don’t even let our pets suffer when they are ill beyond repair. I couldn’t imagine letting our son suffer. But I also understand why some parents make the choice to have their children. As a mother you just want to hold your baby and protect him and shower him in love. But some things are beyond our ability to shelter our children from unfortunately. If I could have shielded our son from pain throughout his life I would have absolutely made a different choice, but I knew I couldn’t do that and then he would be all on his own at an extreme disadvantage. Sometimes the compassionate choice is the choice to say goodbye. Thank you for reaching out. Peace and love to you and your relatives <3

      Reply
  14. Deena

    Thank you for sharing your story. It’s a heartbreaking one that brought tears to my eyes as I read it. I want to give you a big hug right now. I am an ear to listen if you need to talk.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thanks Deena <3 It is heartbreaking, to say the least. But we're working through it. We understand that these things happen. We all experience pain and loss and heartache in its various forms. It's a part of being human, so we're doing our best to embrace it and grow from our experience. Love to you and your family. Xo

      Reply
  15. christine

    You are very brave. I’m so sorry for your loss.

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for reading <3

      Reply
  16. Joan

    WOW, you are so strong. Thank you for sharing. Stay strong

    Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Thank you for reading. My son has given me the strength I lacked before. <3

      Reply
  17. Becky

    I cannot believe these posts justifying what you did to your precious little boy. Ending a child’s life is not our decision to make. It is God’s. Otherwise, it’s called murder. How many children are born with deformities that go on to lead wonderful lives? You have no idea what would have happened had you let your child live. You didn’t even give him a chance! I am disgusted and will be discontinuing my subscription to your site.

    Reply
    • Krista

      Wow Becky, you are a horrible person to judge this woman. I myself have terminated a pregnancy also, at 23 weeks because I found out boy had heterotaxy. These decisions are not related to playing God at all. They are loving, compassionate choices we make for our loved ones who do not deserve to suffer.
      Anna I am overwhelmed by your courage to put your story out there for the world to see knowing these comments are inevitable. I’m sorry along with you for those who cannot understand, and never will unless they are put in this situation.

      Reply
    • Brittni

      How dare you talk about God’s decision making while judging someone else. I will gladly subscribe to make up for your “loss”.
      Anna and Ryan, I am glad you had the choices you had in order to make the best decision you could for Phoenix. It shows what amazing parents you are, that you would take on the hurt and pain in order to alleviate your son’s suffering. Prayers and love to you and your family!

      Reply
    • KI

      There is nothing Christian about your reply to a grieving mother. Your judgement and hatred are what you will be judged by and you give Christians a bad name.

      Reply
    • Julie C

      Oh Becky, you are so deeply misguided. To live in your black and white world must be very comforting, but it limits you from being able to feel true empathy and compassion. The world is grey, Becky. And in the limitless hard choices we all have to make (none harder then the loss bravely described above), there is growth and beauty in realizing that each situation is not one-size-fits-all. I am sad for you that you will march on with your blinders on without opening your heart to this story and the many others that could teach you compassion and what it means to support your fellow humans. You know, like Jesus would.

      Reply
    • REBECCA

      Becky,
      Who do you think gave people the ideas, the technology to find out about these problems before birth? Maybe God? You have no idea of God’s plan for this family. Don’t be so presumptuous. It seems this blog will be better off without you spewing your vitriol.

      Reply
    • Tracy Sherman

      Becky – You should read your Bible a little closer. You are commanded to show love and compassion to others. Anna and Ryan have shown the ultimate love and compassion; Anna opened her heart to Testify to you and you have chosen to hurl insults at this grieving mother. You’ve spent so much time in Leviticus (15, perhaps?) that you forgot Numbers (5:17&18 – the Bible clearly states that ministers/priests/pastors should be the ones to perform abortions, it is a stated part of their job description). It wouldn’t hurt for you to read a little Matthew either.
      While you are at it, you should start thinking about what you will say to God when you die, because you have gone against the teaching in Isaiah 30:18 by making your comments. You are ignoring Job 2:11. You should remember Proverbs 14:6 and John 15:12.
      Most importantly, for the sake of your own soul: Judge not, lest ye be judged.
      On a personal note, I have terminated 2 pregnancies. I have had 2 abortions. I am eternally grateful that *my* God is a beacon of light, love, mercy, kindness, and compassion. My God gave me advanced information through brilliant doctors and amazing medical tests. My God sent me to a devout LDS physician – a man who does not condone abortion as a means of birth control but who firmly believes Gad gave him technology that “could prevent unnecessary suffering” (the doctor’s words). His God gave him Science. He offered us a means to show our child love and mercy.
      Dozens of verses in the Bible have instructed you to “spread the good news”. You have been instructed to, in essence, attempt to convert as many people as you can to become followers of Jesus Christ. Take Romans 10:14-15 for example. Your comments here are NOT positive. You represent your God as a mean and cruel being who gains pleasure from making newborn babies suffer. Who would want to follow a God like that?!? When I read comments from “Christians” like you, I do not come closer to “accepting Jesus”, I move further away. You have actually managed to do the opposite of what the Bible tells you to do (I bet you eat bacon-wrapped shrimp and wear poly/cotton blend clothing too – both prohibited in several places in the Bible). Thanks to you, and others like you, I will keep my happy Pagan eyes on your Bible – someone’s got to read it, since you refuse, I will do it for you. I wish I could be a fly on the wall when you get to the Pearly Gates, because you are going to be doing a GIANT tap dance to explain this one away.
      Anna – Thank you for sharing Phoenix with the world. In this challenging time, know you are loved. Know you are honored for your choices. Thank you for representing 1/3 of all women openly. Phoenix will help change the world for the better. Sending light and love to you. Blessed Be.

      Reply
    • Emily

      What a horrible thing to say to a grieving mother. I too ended a very wanted pregnancy and can tell you that these decisions are not made lightly. Mothers and fathers who make heartbreaking decisions such as these do so to end the pain their child would endure because we love them too much to let them suffer. Thank God you’ve never had to experience something like this.

      Reply
    • DrKC

      Becky, who are you to judge what this brave mother has gone through? I speak for all the mothers who gave back their wanted babies, because I made this choice for my only son myself. Our children deserve the best quality of life this world can provide for them and I assure you that a life of being unable to eat, breathe, walk, talk properly is not what I wished for my son. It is not what any mother wishes for her children. We would gladly suffer the grief and the forever mourning that accompanies this decision rather than allow our children to suffer. Because that is called COMPASSION and CHARITY. 2 Christian concepts whose meaning and application escapes you in that rush to judgement.

      Reply
    • Anna Sakawsky

      Dear Becky,

      I knew full well that there would be some people who would disagree with my decision, and I’m okay with that. I am always in awe of those who go on to defeat all the odds and live a beautiful, fulfilling and inspirational life despite their disabilities, and believe me I considered this possibility when we were making our decision. I so badly wanted our son to be one of these people. But I also know how many more people with severe disabilities go on to live short, painful lives, trapped in their own bodies, isolated and excluded by the rest of society, and with the severity of our son’s disabilities, I knew the odds were stacked against him. Unfortunately we didn’t have the option to give him a chance. It was either this or that. If he was born into suffering, that’s where he would stay, and I couldn’t justify letting my child suffer. Thank you for your comment though. I’m truly grateful there was at least one comment like yours as it highlights the need for more education, understanding and compassion around this sensitive topic in a time when women’s reproductive rights and ability to make loving, compassionate decisions for their children and families is at a great risk in the United States. Sending you love, light and understanding <3

      Reply

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ABOUT ANNA
Hi! I’m Anna, and I’m a city girl turned modern homesteader who’s passionate about growing, cooking and preserving real food at home, creating my own herbal medicine and all-natural home and body care products, and working toward a simpler, more sustainable and self-sufficient life each and every day. 
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The world is changing faster than ever.

We’ve barely had time to adapt to the “new normal” and still things are continuing to shift, change, and in some cases spiral more each day.

From rising inflation and persistent supply chain issues, to a looming recession and food shortages that are expected to get worse after a very tough farming year, to a war on European soil and the threat of cyber attacks and (God forbid) a nuclear attack, to the future of digital IDs and increasingly pervasive government control over every aspect of our lives, it’s no wonder more people are looking for ways to escape the matrix and “opt out” of the system.

I consider myself an optimistic realist: I hope for the best and I live fully and freely in the moment, but I prepare for the future accordingly based on what I can see unfolding in our world. And honestly, I find this “sweet spot” to be incredibly empowering.

This is why I do what I do and why I share it with you on a regular basis; I WANT TO EMPOWER YOU TOO!

That’s why I created The Society of Self-Reliance: A private membership that connects you with the resources, support and community you need to reclaim your independence and become more self-reliant in every aspect of your life.

From growing and preserving your own food to crafting and using herbal medicine to life skills like how to manage it all and stay calm in stressful situations, how to prepare for emergency situations and much more, if you’re ready to learn invaluable skills that will help you take control of your family’s food security, health and wellbeing, time, finances, and ultimately over your own future, The Society of Self-Reliance was created for you!

I’m excited to announce that I’ll be reopening the Society doors for a limited time starting next week, and wanted to give you the heads up NOW so that you can get on the waitlist and make sure you don’t miss out when enrollment opens.

To learn more or get on the waitlist, click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to thehouseandhomestead.com/society

#homesteading #selfreliance #livefreeordie
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104 5

It’s October, and that means pumpkin spice season is officially here 🎃

This year, instead of spending $5 or more on a PSL loaded with questionable artificial ingredients, why not make your own pumpkin spice syrup at home with REAL PUMPKIN and all-natural ingredients!

All you need is some puréed pumpkin (I make mine with fresh pumpkins, but you can use canned), some brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, allspice and ginger, a splash of vanilla extract and some water.

Bring everything to a boil and then simmer and reduce. Strain into a bottle or Mason jar and store in the fridge for up to a week or so.

Add a tablespoon or 2 of this syrup to your coffee or homemade latte for a better quality, better tasting PSL for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay at a coffee shop.

You can also add this syrup to homemade kombucha, or drizzle it over pancakes, waffles, French toast or even ice cream!

Grab the full recipe via the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky or go to https://thehouseandhomestead.com/homemade-pumpkin-spice-syrup/

#pumpkinspice #psl #homemadetastesbetter #falldrinks
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102 7

Do you dream of escaping the rat race and starting a homestead far from the chaos of the modern world?

It’s no surprise that in this day and age, more and more people are ready to leave it all behind and move to a property in the country where they can grow their own food, live a simpler life and become more self-sufficient and less dependent on “the system.” But as romantic as it sounds, it’s definitely easier said than done.

In the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with Ann Accetta-Scott of @afarmgirlinthemaking to talk all about what people need to know about buying and selling a homestead property.

Ann and her husband Justin recently moved from their two-acre homestead outside of Seattle, Washington to a 40-acre homestead in rural Tennessee. Ann and I sat down to talk about the realities of buying and selling a homestead, moving across the country to pursue your homesteading dream, what to look for when you’re searching for your next property, pitfalls to avoid (if you can!), and what you can do if you’re not ready or in a position to make your move just yet.

Whether you’re looking to purchase your first homestead or trying to sell an existing homestead and upgrade to a bigger property, Ann had some great insights to share that can save you time, stress and money when you’re ready to make your move.

Check out the full interview in the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine: link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe, login to the library (if you’re already a subscriber) or view a sample of the current issue!

#modernhomesteading #homesteadersofinstagram #escapethematrix #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #selfsufficientliving
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This is why people don’t trust our medical system!!!

I very rarely go on a rant about current events but this has me feeling really fired up…

My husband and I each got an Amber Alert on our phones the other night along with millions of other British Columbians, informing us of a child abduction in Vancouver. It made the suspect sound like a dangerous kidnapper and said “do not approach. Call 911.”

As it turns out, it was the mother of the child (a 3-year-old boy), who had refused medical treatment without getting a second opinion and follow up blood tests, so the Ministry of Child and Family Services was called, she was arrested and her son was taken from her and was administered medical treatment in the hospital without consent and without a guardian present.

There’s a lot more to this story than I’m able to share in this video or this caption, so I’ll post some links below where you can hear directly from the mom what happened, and check out other IG accounts that have been in direct contact with her and the father. But the point is this was a GROSS misuse of our Amber Alert system, a GROSS abuse of power (turns out the boy wasn’t sick in the end anyway), and has now traumatized this family for life.

Doctors are not gods and as mothers we do not co-parent with the government!!!

This hits close to home for me because I too have been through the medical system and had my concerns dismissed, was misdiagnosed and given wrong information, and was treated with obvious contempt when I got a second opinion.

In this day and age of rampant medical coercion and the erosion of bodily autonomy over our own bodies and over those of our children, this story highlights the dangers of the very slippery slope we’re on.

As parents who only have the best interests of our children at heart, this could happen to any one of us. We can’t let this be normalized. Remember “first they came for (fill in the blank), and I said nothing. Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak for me.”

Check out my stories for the full video that the mom, Wiloh made explaining the details of what happened or check out the comments for links to learn more & support this family.
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79 26

I’ve hesitated about posting this reel over and over because I know I’ll probably get backlash, hate and vitriol from some people in return. But I wouldn’t be being true to myself if I didn’t speak the truth that’s on my heart and mind…

If you haven’t noticed, there are currently thousands of Canadians sharing their stories and using the hashtag #trudeaumustgo on their social media posts right now in response to the divisive rhetoric and actions of our prime minister over the past few months. But our media has downplayed the issue and has attributed most of the hashtags to “bot” accounts and foreigners trying to influence our politics.

In response, real Canadians are making videos and sharing their stories to show that we are not bots, but real people who have been negatively affected by the words and actions of our leaders, particularly our leader at the top.

I used to consider myself a lifelong leftist and have supported the liberal government and Trudeau over the years, but after what I’ve witnessed over the past few months; After how he has spoken about Canadians who have made a different medical choice or who have protested mandates (which have done nothing to stop the spread of you-know-what anyway); After the hate and division that has trickled down from the top and infiltrated our communities, I can no longer stand silently by.

While I am 💉, a few months ago when I voiced my support for those who stood up against mandates and against the division being pushed on us by our leadership, I suddenly found myself among what our prime minister called the “small fringe minority” of citizens with “unacceptable views.”

I lost followers, friends and even a couple family members. I was told I’d been “radicalized,” although my views have never changed.

So today I’m adding my voice to the chorus of real, everyday Canadians who are taking a stand against tyranny and division in this country. As the saying goes, if we do not stand for something, we’ll fall for anything. I stand for freedom & autonomy, and against division & tyranny.

#trudeaumustgo

(Special thanks to fellow 🇨🇦 homesteader @meggarlandd for inspiring me & giving me the courage to post this:)
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272 59

What would you do if the grid went down?

Imagine not just the lights going out, but all power, all digital communication and information. Would you be prepared?

A lot of us THINK we’re prepared for a grid down situation, but unless you’re already living off grid, you might not realize how dependent on technology we really are!

In the fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, contributor Ashley Constance of @dirtypawshomestead and @alittleselfreliant shares her experience voluntarily going without power for the day, and what she and her husband, Shawn learned from their grid down experiment.

You might be surprised at the things they discovered and missed on their prep list, and it might prompt you to reevaluate whether you’re ready in case the grid goes down, or even just Google 😱

Check out the full story in the latest issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine!

Link in bio @anna.sakawsky or visit www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com

#modernhomesteadingmagazine #homesteadersofinstagram #homesteading #modernhomesteading #prepping #nationalpreparednessmonth
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The other day when I had a few minutes to spare, I was out in the garden doing a little work when my neighbour said hi over the fence.

I lamented to her about how busy we’ve been and how hard it’s been to keep on top of this year. Very sincerely, she replied “wait until you have another one,” referring to our baby on the way.

“You’ll be moving back to the suburbs so quick, mark my words,” she said.

Now, I don’t for a second think there was any ill intent behind her statement, but still, it took me aback.

“We’ll never move back to the city or the suburbs,” I replied with a laugh. “This may be hard work but we love it.”

She then repeated her statement and followed it up with “just you wait and see.”

I decided not to continue the back and forth. After all, I told myself, it doesn’t matter if she or anyone else knows what’s truly in your heart. It doesn’t matter if she understands that there’s no amount of difficulty that would make me run back to the suburbs and leave this life behind. In fact, our dream is to upgrade to a bigger property someday where we can grow an even bigger garden and add more livestock to our homestead!

Likewise, I visited the city last weekend for a family event and as always, I had at least a couple people ask me “so when are you moving back to the city?”

Seven years later, and still we have friends and family members who think this is just a phase we’re going through, and eventually we’ll come to our senses and move back.

I used to get offended by these questions because I felt unseen; I felt like nobody took this life that I’m so passionate about seriously, and thought it was “cute” that I was “playing farmer” for a bit, but eventually I had to grow up and become part of the “real world” once again.

Now I just smile and reply “never:)”

Can you relate? How do you (politely) respond when someone questions your lifestyle choices or implies that you’ll eventually come to your senses and come back to “reality”?

Let me know below 👇
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The fall issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine just dropped!

In this issue you’ll find:

• Preparedness tips, tricks and advice to help you be ready for anything on the homestead (and in life!)
•The ultimate guide to growing garlic at home and it as both food and medicine
• Drool-worthy recipes that feature garlic as the star!
• Expert advice from A Farmgirl in the Making’s Ann Accetta-Scott on what to look for (and look out for) when buying or selling a homestead property
• Advice on how to learn and grow from perceived homesteading “failures”

And more!!!

Go to modernhomesteadingmagazine.com or click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or login to the library and read the latest issue if you’re already subscribed!
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When I first started homesteading, I had a burning desire to become more self-sufficient and live a more sustainable life.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been a rebel at heart, and learning how to homestead and become more self-reliant was a way for me to “throw a proverbial middle finger to the system” and live life on my own terms.

As a teenager, I was the girl who drove around town with punk rock music blaring from my car, Misfits sticker on the back and studs around my wrists. I felt misunderstood and angsty and like I desperately didn’t fit in with the world I grew up in.

I always knew in my soul that I wanted something different; Something more.

Today I’m the mama with stretch marks on my belly and battle scars on my heart. I’m the woman who gardens and cans food and makes her own tinctures and believes in something greater than herself and fights every day to stay free in a world that feels increasingly engineered to keep us hopelessly dependent.

Today I feel whole and at peace, and connected to a higher power and a higher purpose. I feel like I’ve finally found the place where I belong.

This journey has been about so much more than homesteading for me, and I've learned, lost, gained and loved so much more than I ever could have imagined.

Because, as I've said before, homesteading doesn't happen in a vacuum. Life is always happening at the same time.

This is the full, raw and unfiltered story of my homesteading journey, and how I've gained so much more than a pantry full of food along the way.

Click the link in my bio @anna.sakawsky to read more or check it out here >> https://thehouseandhomestead.com/how-it-started-how-its-going
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66 5

The news we’ve all been waiting for…

IT’S A BOY!!!

After so many years and too many losses, our hearts are so full and it feels like we are inching closer to our family finally being complete.

I’ve always known in my heart and soul that we were meant to have a girl and a boy. I know, it sounds cliché and very “nuclear family,” but years ago I saw a psychic who told me I would have a girl who loved to be centre stage and had a personality larger than life, very much how our daughter has turned out!

She also said I would have a boy who would be much more introverted and in tune with nature and with his own intuition. That’s yet to be seen, but I’ve always had this unwavering vision of a son and a daughter that fit these descriptions, and my heart has been set on a son ever since we had Evelyn.

Of course, things went sideways for a few years. Shortly after Evelyn was born, I became pregnant again, but we made the heartbreaking decision to terminate that pregnancy at 24 weeks due to a severe medical diagnosis. We lost our son, Phoenix Rain on June 15, 2018. Our hearts were shattered and have never fully healed.

Over the next few years, I had 3 more early miscarriages. None of the doctors knew what was causing them as most didn’t seem to have any sort of genetic explanation. We were told it was “something environmental,” but weren’t given any clues as to what that could be.

After pushing to see several specialists last year (after our most recent loss), and being told once again that there was “nothing wrong with me,” I finally got another opinion and found out I had something called Chronic Endometritis: A low-grade infection in my uterus that I believe in my heart was caused by my c-section with our daughter; A c-section I didn’t want and probably didn’t need, but felt I needed because I was under pressure to make a decision before the surgeon went off duty.

I’ll never know for sure, but when I pushed for more testing and finally got a simple round of antibiotics, the endometritis cleared up. I got pregnant again almost immediately and so far we now have a healthy baby boy on the way.

(Continued in comments…)
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We’re living through interesting times. Many people have even used the term “unprecedented times,” and while that may be true in that there has perhaps never been another time in history when we’ve faced so many existential threats all at once (ie. a global pandemic, climate change, political divisions, AI advancing at an incredible rate, cyber attacks, nuclear threats, globalization, food shortages, supply chain issues, hyperinflation, social media and the age of information/misinformation, etc. etc. all converging at once). But despite all of this, we are not the first generation(s) of humans to face hardships and threats of great magnitude, and in fact we’ve had it better than any other previous generations for most of our lives, especially here in the west.

The fact is, there are lots of things we can do to ensure we’re not sitting ducks when these threats come knocking at our door. But it takes action on our part, not waiting around for someone else to fix things or take care of us.

In the Summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine, I sat down with The Grow Network’s Marjory Wildcraft to talk all about the realities of our current climate, including worsening inflation and looming global food shortages, as well as what every day people like you and I can actually DO to improve our food security, become more self-sufficient, care for our families and communities and ensure our own survival and wellbeing even in difficult and uncertain times like these.

While I don’t believe in fear mongering, I do believe in acknowledging hard truths and not burying your head in the sand. That being said, things may very well get worse before they get better, and we would all do well to start learning the necessary skills, stocking up on essential resources and preparing now while there’s still time.

Check out the full interview in the summer issue of Modern Homesteading Magazine. Link in bio @anna.sakawsky to subscribe or go to www.modernhomesteadingmagazine.com to subscribe or login and read the current issue.

#foodshortages #selfsufficiency #selfreliance #foodsecurity #foodsecurityisfreedom #homesteading #growyourownfood #fightinflation #stayfree
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