Family Magazine

The Lottery of Loss by Alexis Marie Chute

By Kenny Bodanis @KennyBodanis

Dear Readers,

As a member of the "Parent Bloggers" community, I am part of a large group which exists primarily to publicly share the joys of parenthood.
As all mothers and fathers are aware, parenting can also bring great sorrow. It is these saddest stories which often remain hidden, leaving the parents alone to heal. Please welcome one writer and artist who is developing an avenue through which others can share their stories.


My name is Alexis Marie Chute and I am very thankful to be a guest blogger on Men Get Pregnant Too.

There are a few times in life where you want to be the statistic. It would be great to be that one person in 175 million to win the Powerball jackpot for example. Or be added to the Dean’s List like roughly 36% of brainiacs completing their undergrad degrees. Or even be the 50/50 winner at a sporting event. Yet there are other statistics, the terrifying ones, which cause us to hit the gym, put helmets on our children and hide our credit card numbers at the bank machine.

For most, statistics remain distant inconsequential digits that have no bearing on daily life. That was the case for me - until 2010. I wish I could say I won the lottery...

In September 2010 I was 25 weeks pregnant with my second child, Zachary. A routine ultrasound began a downhill discovery; Zach was diagnosed with a genetic abnormality so rare that it affects less than 0.01% of people in the US. While my round stomach lurched back and forth, my son kicking me playfully in the ribs, doctors told my husband and me that our child would not live.

Most people don’t die from this genetic trait, yet it caused a large tumor to grow around Zachary’s heart that glowed white in ultrasound images. It was this tumor that took his life. At 30 weeks gestation, Zach was born and just moments after died in my arms. He did not cry or open his eyes. He moved slowly and then stopped. We took photographs. Said goodbye.  

Chute Family Photo by S Butts for Edmonton Journal copyright Alexis Marie Chute
Chute Family Photo by S Butts for Edmonton Journal (Copyright Alexis Marie Chute)

“Random,” the genetics councilor told us after 9 months of genetic testing following Zach’s memorial. It was then that I realized that I joined the many others who have lost a child either through miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant loss, SIDS or any of the other unimaginable ways a child can be torn from this life much too soon.

It wasn’t until I became the statistic that I learned how many people are with me in this sorrow. Where I live in Alberta Canada, 15,000 babies die each year.  The American Pregnancy Association states that nearly ¼ pregnancies will end in miscarriage. There are too many stats to list. These statistics are not taught in sex ed or in high school biology; they are not talked about (enough) from mothers to daughters, from grandmothers to granddaughters, from doctors to eager parents.

After Zachary died I entered what I call my “Year of Distraction.” I attempted to busy myself so I would not have time to face my life which seemed encased in a twilight zone of inescapable grief. Then I got pregnant. This was the most glorious, exciting and wonderful news in the world – but it brought with it fear and anxiety.

That is when I realized that I must face my mourning head on. As a professional visual artist and writer, I returned to my work after putting my passions aside during my “Year of Distraction.” I began to write about my journey to let go of one child while my stomach grew with another. This writing has become my memoir called “Expecting Sunshine” which is in the editing stage pre-publication.

I began to paint again and experimented with wood sculpture as a way to express the inexpressible parts of my pain. It worked. Somehow, I pulled myself from the depths of depression to a place of (still slightly reluctant) acceptance. I found a new flavor of happiness – and just in time for my next child’s birth.  

I now write a blog called “Wanted, Chosen, Planned” where I openly talk about life after the loss of a child. The journey is rough no matter what stage of pregnancy (or afterwards) the child has died. It is the worst heartbreak in the world and sadly, thanks to knowledge of stats, we who mourn can know that we are not alone. No one needs to feel isolated in their sorrow; we are stronger together. My mission is to break the taboo of silence around child loss and encourage others on this journey.

Thank you for reading. Much thanks to Kenny for the opportunity to share my story.
If you want to connect, email me at [email protected] and
please visit my blog

Alexis Marie Chute

Alexis Marie Chute artist photographer writer headshot
Alexis Marie Chute

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