Still: a collection of honest artwork and writings from the heart of a grieving mother
by Stephanie Paige Cole, Founder of the Sweet Pea Project
with Foreword by nationally celebrated heARTist Kara LC Jones
Order your copy online at Amazon.com & Barnes&Noble.com
For more information visit www.sweetpeaproject.org/book
or contact the author at Stephanie@sweetpeaproject.org
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.”
Stephanie was born in Queens, New York and later moved to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania with her family. Stephanie studied fine art in Massachusetts and remained there for a few years after graduation. She has since returned to Lancaster where she now lives with her husband and two young sons. Stephanie works a few hours a week at an art gallery, Mulberry Art Studios, but her main job title is stay at home mom.
Stephanie also spends a lot of time working with the Sweet Pea Project, which she founded in January 2009. The project collects and donates blankets to hospitals for stillborn babies and provides resources and support for bereaved families. Stephanie will be donating all of her profits from the sale of Still. to the Sweet Pea Project, where the money will be used to donate copies of the book to hospitals and bereavement organizations throughout the country. More information on the Sweet Pea Project can be found online at www.sweetpeaproject.org.
Reviews of Still.
" Still. shows us how look at grief and our different kind of parenting even when we feel overwhelmed by the chaos. Stephanie models for us how to journal, paint, sculpt, shatter, glue together, take a poetic view. All of these are tools we can use to look askew and try to get a handle on our experience when looking straight on is just too much. Stephanie does not prescribe one single way. She does not claim to have the fix or the exact path we must all adhere to. But rather she shares all the tools she used. She gives you the choice to try what feels right to you. She models one way and leaves all the other branches off the path open for you to try as you need and want."
Kara L.C. Jones, Grief & Creativity Coach at MotherHenna.com
“Still is the poignant exposition of the reality that besets more than 25,000 pregnant families each year in the US. Stephanie Cole’s portrayal of the year following Madeline’s death is vivid and stark, and speaks to the disbelief and emptiness of the 50% of parents who never discover why their unborn baby died. Stephanie’s year deprived of an infant is illustrative of the challenge families and those who care for them face when experiencing the loss of an unborn child. Each child is a special chapter in every family’s life, even if that chapter is but a few, heartbreaking pages of limited memories. Still is important reading for those who experience pregnancy loss. Perhaps it is more important reading for those who have not shared the experience but wish to understand.”
Dr. John J. Botti, Maternal-Fetal Medicine
“Stephanie’s honesty and candor are refreshing in a society that wants everything, even mourning, wrapped up in some sort of neat package. She allows us to walk her path with her, acknowledging that everyone’s journey will be unique and that we will eventually accept what will become our new normal."
Beth Gauthier, Mother to Mark (stillborn, Feb 2007)
“Stephanie writes from a place of honesty and raw emotion. Throughout her writing she weaves the dreams she and her husband had for their precious daughter Madeline. Her words help the reader understand the depth of pain felt by parents who experience the death of a much loved and hoped for baby. A great read for any professional who wants to gain a better understanding of the emotions and feelings of a grieving parent.”
Chaplain Carolanne Hauck, Bereavement Coordinator