About

Welcome! My name is Kathy and I have been blogging since April 2007. I started writing in part to update some of our family and friends who had shown us, through their love and support that they wanted to share in our journey trying to expand our family. We dealt with secondary infertility (SIF) and pregnancy loss for over five years (between 2004 – 2009).

At first I used my blog, then called Three of a Kind Working on a Full House…, as a way to keep track of what happened during our Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) cycles and then with our pregnancy/journey with our daughter Molly, who had a rare, severe and fatal combination of congenital heart defects (CHD) and heterotaxy/left atrial isomerism. Molly was born and died on April 17, 2008 at 29 weeks 5 days gestation.

Amazingly we somehow managed to conceive again on our own and our daughter Abigail (a.k.a. Abby) was born with a healthy heart in September 2009. Soon after she was born I renamed my blog to Four of a KindWe feel so blessed and lucky and continue to try to take this journey one day at a time. I also like to share some on here about parenting our nine-year-old son Sean, now three-year old Abby and add other tidbits about our life and experiences, to keep all of this in perspective.

A few months into blogging in 2007 someone found my blog and shared about one of our failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycles on Melissa “Stirrup Queen” Ford’s Lost and Found Connections Abound (LFCA). From there I slowly began to learn about the wonderful Adoption, Loss and Infertility (ALI) Community in the blogosphere and connected with Mel, who I had the pleasure of meeting in person when she was visiting Chicago (where I live) for BlogHer 2009! I have been incredibly grateful for the relationships and bonds that I have made through reading and commenting on other’s blogs, as well as from receiving comments on my own blog.

After we lost our daughter Molly in 2008 and then went on to have Abby in 2009, I was in somewhat of a fog — still dealing with my grief, as well as balancing caring for our older son and newborn daughter. I did not blog very often in 2010. In 2011 I seemed to find my voice again and have tried to prioritize taking time to write, to read and to comment more ever since.

In February 2011 I decided to “come out” about my blog, which had always been public, but not everyone in my life was aware of. I have experienced some growing pains since, but overall I am glad that I chose to be more open with my friends and family in real life about my blog.

In 2012 I decided to move from Blogger to Self-Hosted WordPress and changed the name of my blog to its current title: Bereaved and Blessed.

I primarily have been a stay at home mom, or “domestic engineer” as I like to think of myself, since our oldest child/our son Sean was born in October 2003. However I am also an American Council on Exercise (A.C.E.) certified group fitness instructor and teach classes very part-time at a church in our neighborhood. I love to exercise, run and practice yoga. I also am very involved in our neighborhood parish where I serve on the leadership team for our Christ Renews His Parish (CRHP) retreat program. I consider myself to be somewhere between a liberal and a moderate/open-minded Catholic, with a strong and questioning faith. I also continue to participate regularly in a perinatal bereavement support group called “Caring Connections” at the hospital where our children were delivered.

Before my husband Bob and I started our family I worked in the professional world in recreation/program management. I have a Bachelors and a Masters degree in Leisure Studies: Recreation/Program Management from the University of Illinois in Urbana-Champaign. I have worked at park districts with teen, senior citizen and summer camp programs. I have also worked with high school and college students in leadership programs (both faith-based and secular).

After everything my family and I have been through dealing with SIF and loss, I find myself contemplating my future vocation, in addition to being a mother, and wondering what direction I might choose to go with it. I have realized in recent months (and really years) how much I love to write and how much I like to try to help and support people through difficult and uncertain times in their lives. I hope to be able to use what I have learned as a “wounded healer” in the future, possibly becoming a hospital chaplain, campus minister or doing some other kind of lay ministerial work.

Your comments are welcome and appreciated. Thank you for visiting!

Photo credit: early bird photo and fine art.

You can also watch this video which tells the story of our journey through secondary infertility and loss. It is a photo montage set to music paying tribute to the lives and memories of our children who left this world too soon.

Always in Our Hearts: For Molly and Babies Benson from Kathy Benson on Vimeo.