Monday, March 28, 2016

The Kayden Project

Welcome to the Kayden Project.

I started this project to help bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss in memory of my niece's baby that she lost due to an ectopic pregnancy. The loss of a baby, no matter how early in the pregnancy that baby is, can cause the mother great heartache and pain. It is my hope that the Kayden Project will bring some comfort to mothers who are suffering, and give those in support of a mom who has lost her baby a better understanding of her grief. This project will include personal stories from you and photos of your crocheted Angel Bear. See the bottom of this page for more information about this project and how you can contribute your story and photo of your Angel bear to it.

Alicia's story:
On August 28th 2015, my niece had to have emergency surgery to remove the baby. This surgery actually saved her life but she developed a depression soon after and had a very hard time coping with the loss of her baby. She also felt feelings of guilt since she had to consent to the surgery. She knew that her baby was going to die even if she didn't have the surgery, but those feelings of guilt were still  there. Even though she had been pregnant for only a short time, she was in love with her baby and her mother's heart was completely broken with this loss. She grieved for many months after. Some people did not understand her grief. Some people went silent. Some people tried to help and said things they should not have said. On top of her grief that must have been extremely painful to deal with.

Don't try to fix her:
The best thing we can do for a mother who has lost her baby is just be there. Offer support and show compassion. Do not put a time limit on her grief. Be aware that mom could be dealing with depression as well. Depression is not to be taken lightly, depression can kill. Be gentle and kind.  Look into counseling services and take advantage of the help that's out there. Don't try to fix her. You can't fix her. Allow time to do the healing.  Don't say things like "there's a reason for everything" or "God needed an angel so he took your baby". These may seem like good things to say but they not helpful to a grieving mother in any way. If you don't know what to say, just say, "I'm so sorry this happened. I'm here for you if you need me".

A memory box and a name:
While my niece was dealing with this depression she reached out to the Alberta Health Services and they were very helpful to her and connected her with a pregnancy loss counselor. The counselor suggested she make a memory box and to also name her baby. Even though this did not take the pain away she did find comfort in doing things that honored her baby. She decided on the name Kayden Josiah and filled a memory box with cards and letters she received after Kayden's passing, special things from the family and things she had already bought for the day the baby should have arrived. She even crocheted a blanket in honor of her baby.

Baby is a member of this family:

In December of 2015 I wanted to give something special, something right from my heart, so I made the Angel Bear and sent it to Alicia for her memory box.
I wrote a letter that told her what an honor it was for me to be Kayden's great aunt! That will always be my special connection to this baby. Because of Kayden I became a great aunt for the first time. My parents became great grandparents for the first time too. These are all special things that we can hold onto and tell Alicia how much that means to us and that her baby mattered and is very much loved. I think one of the most important things for a mother to hear when she has had an early pregnancy loss is that her baby mattered.
The Angel Bear pattern:
The Angel Bear is a free pattern that also has a video tutorial with it. You will find all the pattern and video links you need for this project here.

Contribute to the project:
If you would like to contribute your own story to this project please send a photo of your crocheted bear and a story of how pregnancy or infant loss has affected you to

Your story does not have to be long or detailed, it can be short and simple. You can say anything you want. You can say what helped get you through or what  hurt you the most. Tell us what people shouldn't  say to mothers who are grieving and what words brought you comfort. You can stay anonymous too! This is just a way for you to say in a few words how this loss affected you.
You can also contribute to this project if you made the bear for someone else or an organization. Please feel free to send your photo along with any information about an organization you work with or volunteer for.

There is a purpose:
The purpose of this project is to spread awareness. To allow people who are on the outside looking in, a glimpse into a mother's heart. To give people a better understanding that  pregnancy loss, no matter what stage it was in, can cause great feelings of loss and sadness and even depression. To let  mothers who have suffered a loss know that what they are feeling is completely normal. That this grief has no time limit. That their baby mattered and there is help out there for for those who need it.

Once I have your photo and story:

I will do my best to see that your photo and story is added within 3 weeks of submission. As this is just getting started, please check back for updates.

Helpful links:
Alberta Health Services
Ectopic Pregnancy Support with helpline
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness

Thank you so much for visiting the Kayden Project. I hope you have found some comfort here.

Angel of my Tears
How do you love a person
who never got to be,
or try to envision a face
you never got to see?
How do you mourn the death of one
who never got to live.
When there's nothing to feel good about
and nothing to forgive?
I love you, my little baby,
my companion of the night.
Wandering through my lonely hours,
beautiful and bright.
What does it mean to die before
you ever were born,
to live the lovely night of life
and never see the dawn?
Ah! My little baby,
you lived like anyone!
Life's a burst of joy and pain.
And then like yours, it's done.
I love you, my little baby,
just as if you'd lived for years.
No more, no less, I think of you,
the Angel of my tears.
~Author Unknown.


  1. My prays are with your niece and you.May you both find peace and comfort with the lord.amen.

  2. This is so beautiful, Sharon. I literally burst into tears watching your video (being 35 weeks pregnant myself probably doesn't help!). I love how you're continually taking new directions with your patterns, and I hope it inspires many people to use their crochet talents to give and love and encourage.

    Over these past years, I've been so inspired by your patterns and generosity (it's crazy how much time has passed since I first made your Little Bigfoot monkeys!), and I recently used your Dress Me Bunny pattern to make some bears for the Last Cuddles Bear Project in Australia (making mini bears for stillborns). Those three bears, which make up a small group of other bears, are currently being featured in their FB header and profile picture - I couldn't believe it! How crazy is it that one simple pattern can be used to make a difference to countless others around the world. I hope this warms your heart and gives you motivation as you continue to share your talent ~ Thank you so much! Your patterns are so special and much-loved ^_^
    Warmly, Jennifer Wang xxo

    1. Jennifer, I can't even tell you what your message means to me. Truly, straight to my heart. I actually got the goosebumps.

      I love this world I'm in so much, there are so many loving, kind, beautiful souls that I get to meet because of it, like you for example, it's amazing to me. I feel blessed beyond description.

      I just looked up the site for Last Cuddles, wow!! I will go look further, but that is just awesome from what I just saw.

      Thank you for taking the time to read this post and for leaving such a beautiful comment. I appreciate it!

      Congratulations on your upcoming birth. And may I say, what a lucky baby to have such a generous mom. I wish you both great joy!

      Much love,
      Sharon Ojala

  3. Sharon, I am very sorry for your niece's loss. I had a miscarriage too after a lot of time trying to get pregnant and it is really painful. I hope she recovers fully and soon enough, as life itself is a gift. Bad things happen but we have to try and make the best out of it anyway. I also love your crochet designs. Crocheting helps me to focus on bright things when I'm in a brooding mood. Thanks a lot and best wishes for you and your niece!

  4. I never thought someone else would understand how I felt after my first ectopic. What your niece went through has helped me understand my own feelings and sense of responsibility for signing those consent papers. Thank you for helping me make sense of what I felt.

  5. Today I did a random Google search for crocheted stuffed animals to make for an organization needing stuffed animals to hand out to homeless children.
    Your pattern for Kayden Project resonated with me. Seven years ago my daughter and son in law lost a baby boy when she was six months pregnant. His name is Kayden. <3

  6. This made me cry. It must feel terrible when people do not get it. My sister in law had an abortion after previously announcing the baby, so I grieved for the baby and felt very alone as nobody around me seemed to get it. My husband and mother in law figured the baby would have a bad life with her (she was doing lots of drugs while pregnant) and thought it was better that way. I just felt crushed, and still think about that baby. Would be around 3 years old now. I know it is not the same as losing a baby naturally, but I did not have a choice in it and I had already invisioned a new niece or nephew. I feared a miscarriage when I got pregnant as 1 in 4 was the number they told me before 12 weeks. Luckily, my daughter survived. I am sorry for those parents who were the 25%.

  7. Your story touched home as my granddaughter lost a baby in May at 36 weeks due to placenta abruption. She had to deliver knowing the baby was gone. There are rare and unforeseen events that can happen before any baby is born. As a health care professional, I can understand these events. As a grandmother, it was traumatic to endure. I am glad to see that times have changed and there is an acknowledgement of the pregnancy and recognition that there is a profound loss. Good luck to your niece and you.


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