Not Just a Shirt, a Motherhood Movement
Recently I had the pleasure of connecting with two amazing mama’s Francesca Brunsden and Lysanne Louter. These strong and inspiring ladies are the founders of Frannie + Lilo. In honour of October being International SIDS, Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness month I thought now would be the perfect time to introduce you to these two special and very brave ladies. They are totally killing this motherhood boss babe thing.
Francesca and Lysanne have both struggled with child loss, depression, anxiety, and post-tramatic stress disorder. They met in a prenatal class and quickly became friends when they had their baby boys Bodie & Finn 10 days apart.
Francesca is originally from Britain and now lives in Toronto. She is a queen-crafter, hair stylist and one brave bad ass mama. After her first miscarriage, Francesca’s son Phoenix was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder at 24 weeks in utero. A condition that is often “incompatible with life”. After 15 hours of labour — and against all odds — Phoenix was born alive. He lived for 5 hours in his mothers loving arms. That day marked the beginning of a journey through grief that may never be over. Phoenix’s younger brother Bodie was born almost exactly one year after his due date. Bodie’s birth was a gift that has helped Francesca find her voice and passion again. Through Frannie + Lilo she hopes to raise money to support other mamas faced with this kind of tragedy. Click here to read Francescas full story on losing her son Phoenix.
Lysanne also lives in Toronto. She is an Emmy award-winning documentary filmmaker and one sincere, caring mama. After witnessing the horrific aftermath of the Rana Plaza factory collapse that killed 1100 people in Bangladesh Lysanne decided she wanted to start her own made-in-Canada clothing line. Lysanne was overcome with nightmares, panic attacks and deep depression for years after meeting the victims of the Rana Plaza tragedy. When her son Finnley was born her depression returned. It wasn’t until she began working on Frannie + Lilo did she imagine a way to move forward and turn her experiences into something positive for other moms.
Together their mission is to raise awareness about childloss, miscarriage, postpartum mood disorders and fight the taboo of disgussing these traumatic experiences. Knowing first hand how difficult motherhood can be they would like to support women wherever they are in their motherhood journey. Inspired by the brave mamas they meet everyday. Inspired by each of their stories of child loss, miscarriage and struggles with depression and anxiety. They are making a difference in others lives by sharing their stories and empowering women to be proud mamas.
Frannie + Lilo began in July 2017 and is based out of Toronto. All shirts are ethical, eco-conscious, designed and made in Canada. The company was started to help support mamas in need. A portion of every shirt sold is donated to five different child loss and postpartum charities. We The Mamas is not just a t-shirt it’s a motherhood movement.
I asked Francesca and Lysanne these questions:
- What is the inspiration behind your design?
Designs are inspired by all the brave women and mamas out there who struggle every day to take care of themselves and their beautiful families.
- Who do you look up to?
Our mothers and grandmothers for teaching us unconditional love and patience.
- What does your ideal Saturday look like?
Our ideal Saturday would start with an early morning run along the beach. Then we would pick up breakfast sandwiches and coffee and take Bodie and Finn to the park to play. The boys would have a nice long afternoon nap while we worked for a couple of hours. In the evening, we would make dinner with our husbands, put the boys to bed, and watch Netflix.
- What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
Lysanne: I wanted to be a journalist and a photographer because I felt I saw things differently than most people and wanted to help make a difference in people’s lives.
Francesca: I wanted to compete with England’s Olympic swim team because I loved the water and wanted to inspire other young girls to swim.
- What’s your guiltiest pleasure?
Lysanne: Vanilla dip donuts with rainbow sprinkles
Francesca: Reality TV shows (both these ladies are seriously speaking to my heart right now)
- What three things make you happiest in the world?
Lysanne: Spending time with family, walking my dog on the beach and helping people.
Francesca: Watching my son learn new things, spending time with family from abroad and traveling.
- Fill in the blanks:
We believe… Being a mother is the hardest and best job in the world
We love it when… Our boys do something they couldn’t do yesterday
Words you live by are … “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf” -Jon Kabat-Zinn
Important dates & Statistics:
- October 2017 is International SIDS, Miscarriage and Infant Loss Awareness Month
- October 9th-15th, 2017 is Infant Loss Week
- October 15th, 2017 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
- One in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage
- Up to 25% of mothers face some kind of postpartum depression or anxiety
I hope you have enjoyed getting to know these incredible mamas as much as I have. I would like to say thank you to Francesca and Lysanne for sharing so much of yourselves with me and everyone following along. If you would like to follow along with these two check them out on all their social media channels linked below: Facebook– www.facebook.com/wethemamas/
Twitter – www.twitter.com/wethemamas/
Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/wethemamas/
Shop the entire collection here. Sign up for their newsletter and save 15% of your purchase and for the month of October receive free shipping!
Motherhood is something I myself am extremely thankful for. Being a mom brings out the best parts of myself and it’s all because of these boys. Check out all three of us below wearing our shirts to support these mamas and their cause. To anyone out there struggling with any kind of loss or trauma please always remember you are not alone, you are strong, you are beautiful and there is always someone you can turn to.