How an Unexpected Pregnancy Birthed a Short Film

By Amy Ferguson

Riddle me this: Two long time friends living in different states get together for one passionate night after twenty years of wondering ‘what if?’ One lost his wife to cancer six months prior, and is still working through his grief. The other has spent a great deal of her adult life a single cat lady dedicated to her career as an artist. What do they do when they find out that one passionate night resulted in a pregnancy?

No really. What do they do? Because that cat lady is me and in the moment I had absolutely no idea. Eight months into that pregnancy I did know I wanted to capture the unique and strange circumstances that brought me to where I was– an unusual crossroads of life I’d never planned.
Myself and my partner in this decided to take things in our relationship at a normal pace, even though baby’s arrival was fast approaching. He stayed in Colorado, while I continued my life in Los Angeles, although life was rapidly becoming new and strange and very different– solo midwife visits and baby shopping were fast replacing a late night beer and comedy show. Even though we were dating, and in love, I was planning for the birth alone, getting the apartment ready by myself. Then there was the uncomfortable Mother’s Day and Father’s Day I wished could be joyful, but held a certain sadness. My significant other had his first birthday without his wife, and after, the one year anniversary of her death. And then there was me, holding the promise of something new in my belly while helping him let go of the past. It felt impossible. It was a lot. Pile on some pregnancy hormones, and you could at times have a crazy emotional cocktail.
There was also another child to think about. A child who lost a mother. And then me. There with the promise of a new baby growing ever bigger in the face of their grief. Again, it was a lot. We’re still trying to figure it all out because, hey, if we can make this work, that would be pretty cool, right? Being partners in this crazy world, making the impossible possible for my new baby born from passion. But it’s just not that simple… He’s used to his mountain life, surrounded by nature. I’m used to my city life, surrounded by artists and collaborators. How do we meld these two lifestyles? Can we make a life that satisfies us all? What will become of our new family? Or will we simply be long distance co-parents?
In helping me process how rapidly my life was changing, I made a short film about it all. I hoped to capture how strange it was to constantly be filled with love, sadness, and uncertainty. I’m still facing the uncertainties now, but that’s was life is, isn’t it? Uncertainty and delicious surprise.

Thanks you for watching!

‘Til Death Do Us Part from Lindsay Stidham on Vimeo.

This film would not be possible without my co-director/ writer Lindsay Stidham, amazing DP Scott Uhlfelder, co-star Mort Burke, executive producer and co-parent Bryan Madden, and many others who donated their time and talents.

The Gifts Your Best Friend Bride Really Wants

If your best friend has just announced her engagement, chances are she’s going to be coming to you for some help. Weddings are huge events that cost thousands. What she needs from you is attention to detail, honesty, and support. Your friend certainly doesn’t need another tea set or vase. Give her a gift she will treasure forever – a wedding to remember!

Dress shopping will be quite high on her agenda, and you will undoubtedly be invited. What you need to bring to this exciting shopping excursion is the gift of sensitive language. If she has her heart set on a dress that really doesn’t suit her, can you find the most tactful way to suggest a different direction? What if you hate her choice of bridesmaid outfit for you? How will you tackle this without hurting feelings?

Cutting the guest list down to size is a common problem that can result in spats between the bride and groom. If you can help eliminate a few sensitively, the happy couple will be delighted. Seating arrangements, travel arrangements, and accommodation arrangements are also problematic at this stage. Remind the bride this is for the guests to work out, and steer her to make wedding invitations instead. Keep her engaged with creative tasks to reduce her stress.


Thanks to Pexels for the photography


Kids and flowers are two of the biggest challenges a best friend will have to rise to. Your gift to your bride Besty could be to take care of the smaller members of the wedding party. Flower Girls and Page Boys can get stroppy, tired, loud, and uncooperative. If you can manage to keep them entertained, engaged, and excited in a muted way, you will have given the happy couple the best gift they could ask for! Pocket tissues, kids games on your phone, and small stuffed animals should be in your emergency kit when you’re taking care of children.

As for the flowers, be prepared to drive all over town without losing a single bud or petal. If you’re charged with picking them up from the florist, your role won’t end there. You’ll need to furnish the men with their button holes, the Mothers with their hairpieces, and the bridesmaids with their half bouquets. Finally, you can present the bride with her bridal bouquet without her knowing a thing about the traffic jams, mixed up hats, or problems with pink roses off season.

It’s the big day, and your best friend bride is having last minute jitters. You’re still not dressed, and her makeup is definitely going to need to be redone. Are you ready to give the gift of clarity and purpose? It sounds pretty dramatic and important, but the truth is your friend needs you now more than ever. Reassurance, support, and positive thinking are things you should be able to offer in abundance. Maybe it’s time to crack open that tea set and offer her a cuppa to settle her nerves? As a best friend to a bride, you are the superhero who knows exactly what to give her when she needs it.


Does Your Marriage Give You The Thrills?

Marriage isn’t all rainbows and butterflies: sometimes there’s compromise, and sometimes it’s just darn hard work. With jobs, kids and money getting in the way, it’s sometimes hard to keep the spark in your relationship. Many married couples settle for a dissatisfying relationship. The bed is no longer a place to play, it’s a place to sleep and briefly escape the stresses and strains of the world. And instead of weekends being the time to have fun, they’re spent trundling around Costco, looking for bulk discounts and trying to save the pennies.

Nobody wants to live like that, especially when the relationship with their partner used to be so exciting. Here’s how you can truly rebuild in a marriage.

Keep The Thrills, Not The Courtship

One of the mistakes that married couples make when they’re trying to inject the thrills back into their relationship is to go back and do exactly what they did when the first met. They go out for expensive romantic dinners by candlelight, say romantic stuff to each other and listen to soft music. But this tactic rarely works because they weren’t what made courtship exciting. What made courtship exciting was the fact that everything was new and that the person you had met seemed to so exciting. Now that you’re used to them and how they operate, there’s less mystery and interest.




Bringing the thrills back doesn’t mean recreating the past. It means actually bringing the thrills back and doing exciting things together. The key is finding stuff to do that is actually exciting and arousing. That could mean going hiking somewhere new, rock climbing or going on a rollercoaster.

Challenge Each Other

Another reason marriages can seem stale is because your life has become stale. You do the same things every day, and you’ve gotten your routine down to a tee. And while this might be good news from an efficiency standpoint, it can be bad for a marriage.

The way to bust out of a rut and make marriage more exciting again is to challenge each other. According to researchers at the University of North Carolina, couples who overcame tough challenges together are those that are happiest in the long term. The researchers said that couples who overcame challenges experienced a rush of adrenaline that actually helped them forge closer bonds and get to know each other better. According to the researchers, the success of completing a challenge aroused the same pathways in the brain as sexual arousal, producing a similar euphoric experience.

Taking A Break

Taking a break from a marriage might sound like a bad idea. But there’s a lot of truth to the old adage that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” You don’t, of course, have to officially announce that you’re on a break, even to your partner. You could just decide that you’re going to take off for a couple of weeks and go on holiday with your friends, leaving your partner to do whatever they want. Being in a happy relationship means that sometimes there have to be interruptions in that relationship.


Getting A Divorce When You Have Kids

Deciding to get divorced is tough when it’s just the two of you. But when you add kids to the equation, it can make things even more complicated. However, despite how much you want it to work, sometimes you can’t get passed certain issues. And divorce is the only way forward for you and your partner. Here is some handy advice you need when you are getting a divorce and have children to deal with too.




Tell kids about the split at the beginning


A lot of parents hide the split from their children to save their feelings. After all, they know how much it will hurt the kids to tell them about the divorce. But if you hide it from the kids, it could do more harm than good. After all, they might find out about the split from a third party. And then they will be hurt you never told them yourself. Or if you do tell them later down the line, they can feel like you have been lying to them for months. Therefore, despite how hard it will be, it’s time to tell the kids about the split at the beginning. Sit them down together and explain what will happen. Make sure you remind them you both love them and will always be their parents.


Work out a child custody agreement


Despite how you may feel about your husband, he will always be the father of your kids. And although you might not want to see him, your kids still need to have him in their lives. Otherwise, they will grow to resent you if they can’t see their dad. And it will harm your relationship as they get older. Therefore, you need to work out a plan with your ex which will ensure they still see the kids. It might be the case that you do this through a family law attorney. After all, as well as sorting out the divorce, they can sort out custody of your kids. And if you agree to joint custody, they can make sure this works out for you and your ex. If things are bad between you and your ex-partner, you might want to get a third party such as a parent or friend to drop off and pick up the kids.


Give yourself some time too


While your kids are your priority, you need to remember that you need to process the divorce too. After all, it can be a horrendous thing to go through. And it can be really tough to say goodbye to that part of your life. Therefore, to ensure you get some time to yourself to grieve for the relationship, it might be worth asking friends and family to help out. For example, letting your kids go for a sleepover could help you to release your emotions for the evening. And sending them to your parents while you go on a mini-break with your friend could help you through the divorce.


Remember to be wary of introducing new people to your kids during the divorce. After all, they need time to process the divorce, even if it’s been in the pipeline for a while. Therefore, put dating on the back burner for the sake of your kids.


A Simple Guide To Involving Your Children In Your Wedding or Vow Renewal




More and more people are now having children before they get married. In many ways, it makes sense. A wedding is an expensive endeavor that you can’t necessarily afford when you’re young, but having kids at a young age is beneficial for both health and practical reasons. So it’s more common than ever to have children in your 20s and save the wedding for your 30s.


Even for those that are already married, there is always a vow renewal ceremony. These are most often done during the big years for wedding anniversaries, such as five, 10 or 20 years. It’s a nice way of renewing your commitment to one another and if you didn’t have the chance on your original wedding, to involve your kids in the celebration.


Whether it’s a wedding-after-kids or a renewal, you’re tasked with the same desire: to find a way to incorporate your children into your ceremony. You can unite the whole family in a day of celebration and create memories that you will never forget.


If you’re looking for a little inspiration on how to ensure your children don’t feel left out from the festivities, then here are a few ideas to get you started:


  1. Let Them Choose Rings


Wedding bands are the symbol you take with you throughout your life as a reminder of your spouse. It, therefore, makes sense to add an extra layer of celebration and have your children choose the rings.


If you don’t fancy giving them full rein in a jewelry store, then they can always choose from a shortlist that you put together. That way you can select something you know you will like without having to worry about a huge price tag from a ring they set their hearts on. Steer them towards 1 karat diamond and precious metals that you know you love, and you won’t go far wrong.


  1. Write The Place Settings


If you’re having a formal party after the ceremony, then have your children write the name settings. If they’re younger, then there is a certain charm to misinformed letters – far more than any printed version could manage. For older kids, it’s a chance to practice their cursive!


  1. Ask Them To Come Up With A Play


Imagination is a vital part of childhood, and you should make an effort to encourage yours at any point. A perfect way to do this is to ask them to come up with a play at the reception to entertain you and your guests.


Go all out on this one, setting aside a budget for costumes and encouraging them to tell whatever story they want. Make sure you capture the whole thing on film of course; it’s definitely something you will want to look back on.


  1. Ask Them To Give Speeches


Obviously, for children of a certain age, this is not feasible. However, if it is possible and they don’t feel too nervous at the prospect, then it could be a beautiful touch to the day.




How You Can Help Care for the Vulnerable

There isn’t a single definition of the term ‘vulnerable people’. In life: everybody, no matter their circumstances, is going to be vulnerable at some point. But some that are more vulnerable than others, and over a far longer extended period of time at that. People who need continuous help and assistance in their daily lives because of physical or mental disabilities, because they are of too old a age to look after themselves properly, or because they are too young to help themselves at all, are some of the types of people who can most specifically be described as ‘vulnerable people’. Because of this, we should do all we can to help them.


Image source


Helping those who are vulnerable because they have special needs is probably the hardest of the areas to enter as, for the most part, you have to be professionally trained and qualified to be able to do so. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you are doing so, however, without being professionally trained; you just have to remember to be a nice person. In order to help somebody who has disabilities with a task, you should communicate with them, even when they have a chaperone next to them. If somebody has a interpreter or a nurse by their side doing their talking for them, make sure not to filter the conversations through them and always speak directly to the person in question. Here are ten special needs organisations that you can work alongside.

You can care for any elderly people in your life by tending to their physical well-being. Keeping somebody of an elderly status as active as possible is great way to help them fight disease and reduce their functional age by up to 10 years. But you shouldn’t just seek to combat and watch out for signs of weakness in their physical status — you have to look out for their mental health as well. When it comes to this, signs of forgetfulness, unsteadiness and a general lack of direction are the things to look out for. If you feel that an elderly person needs more that just a little bit of assistance, you could offer extensive companion care on a regular basis. This could include homemaking, driving and overnight assistance, or you could even become a live-in companion.

On the other end of the age spectrum, you should pay attention to any children who you feel may be of a vulnerable status. Like working with people who have certain disabilities, working with vulnerable children, or even just children in general, is something that can only be done by those who are qualified to do so; but there is a free online course in caring for vulnerable children that will help you get the ball rolling if this is something you wish to do. You can spot the signs of child neglect or abuse, however, no matter how qualified or trained you are. The signs of child abuse aren’t always clear cut, especially when the child is too scared to say anything about it, but things you can look out for, and listen out for if you ever have the chance to talk to any children, include: them talking about being left at home either alone or with strangers, seeing a poor bond between them and their parent(s), seeing that they are excessively violent with other children and noticing that they lack the ability to be social, even with other children.

Don’t just help others for the ‘good karma’, do it because it’s a good gesture and because it’ll provide you with a good feeling. You may even find yourself walking down a meaningful career path by doing so.







When Enough Caring Is Enough


Wikimedia Image


Have you been caring for an aging parent? Maybe they’ve moved into the family home, or you’re helping them in their home. Whatever the arrangement, it’s inevitable that the caring will take its toll. Admitting that you’re struggling can be hard, but it’s important. Caring for your parent when you don’t feel able will lead to short tempers and damaged relationships. Not to mention that your parent won’t be receiving the care they need! Consider following these tips if things are getting on top of you.


Wikimedia Image




Before giving up, take a little time to think about what improvements you can make. Is there anything you could buy that would help? If your parent is struggling with mobility, could they get a mobility scooter or chairlift, instead of relying on you? Do you have siblings who could help share the responsibility? Taking the pressure off in these ways will make a huge difference to the way you approach the situation.




You may not want to broach the subject with the parent in question, but it’s important you do. If your parent is living in your family home, you might want to invite everyone involved. Even so, it’s important you parent doesn’t feel as though you’re ganging up. It may be worth having a one on one chat to start with. Find a tactful way to express your concerns. Make sure you state that you’re concerned about not being able to give the right care. Once you’ve started the conversation, you might find your parent agrees or has worries of their own. Make sure to use tactful language throughout the conversation. Tempers may be frayed by this stage. Even so, the situation is difficult for everyone, and accusation won’t help. Be respectful to each other’s feelings. After you make a point, ask your parent how they feel about that.


Flickr Image




If speaking things through hasn’t helped, it might be time to consider other options. This may not be pleasant, but it is necessary. Start researching the options open to you. That’s not to say you have to turn straight to nursing homes. Consider whether your parent would be happy to accept professional help at home. Having a carer visit one or two times a week will take pressure off you. It’ll also ensure your parent is getting the level of care they need. If the problem is more serious than that, it might be time to find a senior living facility near you. Be sensitive with this, and include your parent in every aspect of the search.


Conversations like these are never going to be easy. Even so, there comes a time when you can’t avoid them. Once you’ve reached a conclusion, you’ll both feel much better. The strain will lift from your relationship, and you’ll feel able to look forward. There’s no denying that the road ahead might be a hard one. Even so, it’s a journey you can take together.

Is Your Family Dog-Ready? Top Things You Should Do To Prepare For Your Furry Arrival

You will be surprised how much your family’s life will change once you get a pooch. After all, this furry little friend is going to turn your world upside down for the first couple of months. A puppy has so much energy and needs a lot of attention. But ultimately the change can be a wonderful thing as your pooch becomes a part of the family. Nevertheless, you still need to make sure your family is ready for the new arrival. Therefore, here are some top things your family should do to prepare for the furry arrival.




Decide on duties for family members


When you get a job, you are signing up for a whole load of jobs to do every day to keep the pooch happy and healthy. After all, it will need to be fed, walked, and groomed every day. And you might need some extra hands to take care of the pooch. Therefore, you should sit down with your family and decide who wants to do what job every night. It might be that your kids feed the pooch every morning, while you do it in the evening. And your husband might agree to walk the dog every evening. Deciding on jobs before will make it much easier when the pooch arrives. After all, everyone can take on their respective roles to keep the pooch happy and healthy.


Invest in essentials for the pooch


It’s also vital that you get everything you need for your pooch before you go to pick them up. After all, you don’t want to get your pooch home and find that you don’t have the food or toys they need to be happy in your home. Therefore, make sure you go and get all the essentials you need to keep your pooch happy. If you require some advice, there is lots of information online about what you need to get your pet. It’s also worth getting some flea preventives similar to what you can find on That way, if you do suddenly get an issue with fleas on your pets, you can deal with it quickly. After all, we all know how annoying fleas can be; once they arrive, it can be hard to get them to go!


Decide on a sleeping area for the dog


You should also discuss with your family where the dog will sleep in your home. After all, there might be a particular area you think is better for the pooch. You want somewhere which gives them a good amount of space to lie down. And you should choose an area which your family won’t need to go to in the night. After all, this will disturb your pooch and they might howl for the rest of the night. Once you decide on an area, you can get a bed for them so they stay comfortable during bedtime. And remember to decide on any no-go zones for your pet before they arrive. After all, it’s best to set these rules at the very beginning.


Image from Pixabay


And don’t forget to find a vet to take them to. After all, they will need to be seen by the vet within a couple of weeks to ensure they are healthy.

Divorce and Your Child: A Developmental Mini-Guide to Understanding Their Feelings

Divorce is, for children, a devastating experience. Most parents, fortunately, are more than ready to take time out from their own personal tensions to prioritize the task of guiding their kids through the trauma. It is important at these times to think clearly and to see things from the child’s point of view, but that point of view changes rapidly in the child’s developing mind.

It’s About Feelings

In times of extreme stress, emotions are never far from the surface. Remember that the relationship between feelings and facts is an unpredictable one, especially in a child.

Because divorce affects feelings in so many different ways, it will help if you can find an attorney who has an understanding of the way divorce affects those around, whether you are approaching an online practitioner such as or using a family attorney.

Early Months

Up to about 18 months, a baby has very little conceptual framework to guide her. Everything is centered on the security represented by the primary care-giver, usually the mother. She responds quickly to unspoken tension and may become clingy and tearful.


As the toddler begins to master language, he gets a better sense of the world, but it is a world that is all about him. His parents are the two closest and largest planets in this little solar system so any disruption is going to throw him out of balance. He may retreat to a former secure existence by temper displays and regression to baby behavior.

Early Junior

The child’s imagination is growing, which means she can extend the present distress into the future and conceive of more and worse things happening. So her life can be taken up with fear. Will she ever see the absent parent again? Will both parents disappear from her life? She does not have much concept of time or distance, so separation may seem more absolute and final than it actually is. She needs her parents to be predictable and reliable.

Older Junior

As the child grows, his center of life is beginning to move outwards, but only from a secure base. If that base is challenged by parents separating, he may use his growing mental abilities to protect himself. He may retreat into a fantasy world and deny the reality of what is happening around him, or construct scenarios where he is to blame.


The child is on the verge of big changes, and taking tentative steps to discover her place in the world. The last thing she needs is for her parents’ problems to take center stage in her life. So she is likely to display intense anger which can reveal itself in many ways, but at the same time she is learning to empathize and understand their pain.

Crucial Moments

The effects of a divorce can reverberate for a lifetime, and nobody handles it perfectly. For parents, an effort to understand how their children are perceiving the situation can help to ease the pain and give them the resources to move forward.


Joanne Morrison shares her tips and support regarding divorce and stepfamilies. She uses her own life experiences to write informative articles which appear online at family and parenting blogs as well as relationship and divorce focused blogs.

3 Surefire Ways to Make Moving Easier and Bond with Your Family


Moving is a hassle. Many people report staying in their current home, apartment or condo much longer than they planned solely because they dreaded moving. The logistical headache is bad enough. Even if you hire the best movers in the world, the process of boxing up your more precious items personally, let alone deciding which things that you have accumulated won’t make the trip, is never easy.

Then there is the emotional strain. If you’re moving just across town, at least you won’t be changing your whole life. But if you’re moving somewhere far away, you will have to get used to a new community, new job, new school, new grocery stores and new salon — the list goes on and on. Fortunately, there are ways to make it as painless as possible. A few key pointers will take some of the pain out of relocating and can even bring your family closer together in the process.

Finding a New Apartment

You are likely moving to a specific location for a specific reason. Whether it’s a new job or family commitment, you may not be able to choose the city or town that will become your adopted home. But especially in bigger cities, like Los Angeles or New York, there are many neighborhoods to choose from. Let your kids be involved in the apartment hunting process. Show them photos online of some apartments for rent, using a site like, and see what features seem to be most important to them. Whether it’s having a pool, finding a nearby park or something else, there will likely be one thing that they can get excited about.

Naturally, the final choice will be up to you and probably come down to price, square footage, condition, school district and proximity to work or family. Making your kids feel like they are part of such an adult decision-making process, however, will do wonders to get them eager — not fearful and tearful — about the change.

Packing Pain

Your kids, particularly young kids, will be an emotional wreck if you make them throw away a single possession. Even old items they haven’t touched in years will instantly turn into treasured goods. This is generally more about anxiety over change than it is about an old Teddy bear. But rather than simply putting your foot down, treat them like grown-ups. Give them a quota — maybe 10 toys or lesser-used items — that they must elect to throw out. Offering incentives in the form of small rewards or making it into a contest can help.

Tell them that life is about making tough choices and that they must decide what things are most important to them. If they are convinced that their selection process can really help the family during a challenging transitional time, they will feel more connected to and accepting of the entire experience.

Moving In

Choosing rooms in a new home is never easy. Multiple children always end up wanting the same room — and usually only because their sibling said they wanted it first. This must be handled diplomatically at the outset. Eventually, they will not care, but in the first weeks of the move, they will be looking to lash out at any perceived problem with the new apartment.

If they won’t back down, you’ll need to make a choice. Start with having the kids explain fully, with actual reasons, why having a specific room is so important. Then ensure that they understand that someone is going to have to make a sacrifice. Let them know that whoever steps up to make their sibling happy can be rewarded with other benefits. The selection process can be a good learning experience about how people must sometimes make concessions. In order to move, the whole family needs to help each other adjust. Be thoughtful and truthful about how this needs to be handled. Tell them how change is never easy, and that you also had to leave things behind when you made the decision to move.

If it all goes perfectly, this part of the move can teach them a valuable lesson. When the hassle is finally over, your children may come away understanding that their willingness to help each other out and put their loved ones first is what makes families so special.