a collection of honest artwork and writings from the heart of a grieving mother
When Stephanie Cole’s daughter died of unknown causes one week after her due date, it shook her to her very core and set her on a journey into the depths of grief. Stephanie faced her loss head-on, using creative expression as a tool to navigate her way through the intensity of her emotions, and allowing herself to grieve honestly and on her own terms. In her new book, Still: a collection of honest artwork and writings from the heart of a grieving mother, Stephanie invites us in for an intimate look at that first dark year without her daughter.
Stephanie has always had a love of writing, but never really considered becoming an author. Even as Still was being created, she didn’t feel as though she was writing a book. Stephanie explains, “I write as a way to release all of the overwhelming emotions of grief from my body. Before Still. was a book it was my journal, my canvas. It was a way for me to express the unspeakable.” Stephanie felt compelled to publish this very personal account in the hope that it will help break the silence of stillbirth. She wants to give other bereaved parents something they can relate to, to help them feel less alone in their despair. She also wants to offer a deeper understanding to those who haven’t experienced such a loss so that they will be better able to support those who have. “There is such a stigma attached to stillbirth, nobody wants to talk about it, but this is a story that needs to be told. Nobody should have to suffer in silence. I want to begin a conversation that will ultimately allow other bereaved mothers to feel confident in speaking about the full truth of their motherhood.”
Stephanie finds strength and motivation in the courageous women that came before her, who refused to accept the status quo of “put this out of your mind, go home and try again.” She credits Sherokee Ilse, Dr. Joanne Cacciatore, Kara L.C. Jones, Laura Seftel and Elisabeth Kubler-Ross as inspirations, saying that through their work they “reached into the ocean of my loss and pulled me aboard their little lifeboat.”
Stephanie is honored to now be in a position to pull others on board as well, but first she had to overcome the fear of putting such a personal, emotional experience out into the world for everyone to read. “It is a little scary” says Stephanie, “but I have to believe that someone will be helped because of it, and that makes it all worthwhile.”