Our stories, our why.
*scroll down to see why // where // how to donate
Becoming a mom is a huge transition. For moms that have had a complex pregnancy(ies) followed by a critically ill baby, Mother’s Day can sometimes bring more feelings of sadness then joy.
For me (Jessica), my first Mother’s Day was the day after Theo’s last closure surgery - it was one of the darkest and saddest days during my time at The Hospital for Sick Children. Theo was completely sedated - he seemed lifeless. So many questions ran through my mind post surgery - Will his intestines work? Will he develop another infection? How long will he need to be intubated? Will he be able to eat? Will he wake up and be in pain? Will he live a “normal” life? When will all the tubes be removed? And when, when, when...can I hold him?
My husband, parents and closest friends did things to try to make the day special but when your baby is completely lifeless and there is literally nothing you can do to help them, you are left feeling hopeless and for me, anything but a Mother.
During this time, I lived at Ronald McDonald House in Toronto. It was a weekend and they had a nice breakfast for the moms. Despite their efforts, all I wanted was to be HOME with my baby.
For me (Kayla), my first Mother’s Day went from something that I had always looked forward to, to something I was somewhat dreading. Waking in a completely different building, a block away from my baby and rushing over to the hospital to spend some time with him. The last thing I was expecting was a gift to celebrate this moment, I didn’t even want to think about it.
When I opened the door at RMHC that morning, I was greeted with a box, full of donations from wonderful people, just for me, for my very first Mother’s Day. Every Mama had a box. Every Mama was thought of at that moment. The fact that someone was thinking of US when we couldn’t even think for ourselves, was a special moment and feeling that I will never forget. I knew in that moment that when I was in the position to give back, to let others have this feeling I was so blessed with, I would do whatever I could to pass it on and make it happen for many more.
As soon as the pandemic started, all we could talk about and all we can still talk about is the mamas/caregivers out there, RIGHT NOW, living in the hospital with their child(ren). We can’t imagine the hardship of your experience - not being allowed to have spouses or family/friends visit to offer their love and support is unimaginable.
For this reason, THIS Mother’s Day we want all mamas to know that we are thinking of them, especially those living at the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto.
What Beyond the Beads is doing:
We have collaborated with loveloladaisy and some of the most amazing small businesses, local makers, and community members to put together a box for each mother living at the Ronald McDonald House in Toronto!
Each box ties in with our ultimate goal of Mamas supporting other Mamas. Contents of the box include indulgences like bath bombs, speciality tea, custom mugs, custom keychains, treats, and products that we would have loved to have when we were staying at RMHC.
In addition to the Beyond the Boxes, we are hosting and sponsoring the Mother’s Day Dinner at the Ronald McDonald House on May 9! Chef’s are coming in to prepare a special meal for families, to celebrate and recognize the Mamas who are doing it all, and holding it all together - especially in these trying times.
The last thing we want Mothers of critically ill and/ or hospitalized children to worry about, is having to come back ‘Home’ and have nothing to eat, especially after a mentally exhausting day. We say this because we lived it - Mother’s Day for a Mama living at the hospital sucks, it’s one of the worst times to be there. This is one more thing that we can do to make Mother’s Day extra special for these Super Mamas.
How you can help:
We are currently accepting monetary donations through email@example.com to continue to fill the Beyond the Boxes with goodies for Mamas.
We also have partnered directly with the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Toronto, for an official fundraiser/ donor page - that is also tax deductible, and can be linked here:
Either way you choose to donate, the money will be going to support families directly living at RMHC Toronto, this Mother’s Day on May 9, 2021. Both accounts will be linked together, and donations will show on the RMHC Beyond the Boxes fundraising page.
Beyond the Beads x loveloladaisy are partnering with Brand With Purpose to give families the opportunity to purchase a full box to donate to a Mama at RMHC Toronto!
These boxes are purchased and then physically donated on behalf of the Donor to a Mother living inside the House. The Buyer/ Donor can choose to have a card sent to their recipient of choice, representing the Beyond the Box given in honour of their own Mother/ Sister/ Grandma/ Aunt/ Caregiver for Mother’s Day.
Covid is affecting everyone right now, not just mentally or emotionally. If you would like to participate without donating, you can share our posts and our links to your social media, and help to spread the word. Anyone, anywhere can donate. Families who have experienced the NICU from anywhere in the world, or who have stayed at any of the Ronald McDonald House Charities Houses are able to donate and come together to show their love and support to the families going through it right now.
As if 2020 wasn't hard enough already...
We're making it a little bit easier for you!
We've gone through our favourite products and gifts, and have put together a guide that not only would we both love, but we know our husbands and sons would love too!
Most of these gifts are also things that we loved having during both of our stays at the Hospital and at the Ronald McDonald House!
Things like comfy slippers, cozy socks, and a blanket scarf will make you feel cozy anywhere! The scarf especially makes an amazing makeshift blanket in a pinch!
Air pod cases so Dad doesn't lose them is a total must! Also, how about that cute keychain to take Daddy's best friend with him wherever he goes.
We also have made an assortment of gifts appropriate for kids of all ages and abilities - something that is super important to us as educators and special needs advocates!
Happy gift giving!
*this post is in no way shape or form sponsored, though we are definitely open to them ;)
Slippers UGG Scuffette II // Socks Roots Pop Cabin Sock //
Face Masks Gap3-pack Sephora Collection Face Mask
// Candle Yankee Candle // Favourite Mug Chapters Indigo //
Scarf Aritzia, Wilfred Diamond Mosaic Blanket Scarf //
Blow Dryer Brush Amazon, Revlon One Step Hair Dryer and Volumizer Hot Air Brush
// Bath Bomb Lush, Butterball // Diffuser Saje, Aroma Breeze Peppermint Halo Roller //
Family Photoshoot Three Little Birds Photo Co.
Reusable tumbler Yeti, Rambler Stackable Pint // Air Pods Case Apple // Slippers UGG, Ascot Matte
// Bluetooth Shower Speaker Chapters Indigo // Winter Hat Amazon, Carhartt Mens Acrylic Watch Hat
// Sunglasses Ray-Ban, Aviator Classic (Polarized) // Smart Plugs Home Depot, Philips Wiz Wifi Smart Plug
// Custom Handprint Keychain Michaels, Shrinky Dinks Clear + rings for keychain //
Sweater Lululemon, City Sweat Full Zip // Traeger BBQ Sauce + Spice - Cabelas, Sweet & Spicy, Beef Rub
Cuddle + Kind Hand knit Dolls // Polaroid Camera Chapters Indigo, Fujifilm Instax Mini 11 - Ice //
Books Chapters Indigo, The Hockey Song by Stompin’ Tom Conors //
Board Games Mastermind Toys, Pictionary Air //
DIY Kits Amazon, National Geographic Dinosaur Dig Kit / National Geographic Crystal Growing Garden Kit
// Anywhere Chair Pottery Barn // Melissa and Doug Activity Boards and Puzzles Mastermind Toys
// HatLittle Buck, (Local to Ontario!) // Feeding Backpack Tubie2Go (GTA Local!) //
Sensory Balls Toys R Us, Playgro - textured sensory balls
To navigate our blog, you can scroll through the posts, or if you're looking for something specific - you can click on a category below & it will take you to related posts! • k&j