Charlie Schueler ’08 and his wife, Madalyn, have started a business they hope no one has the occasion to use. The couple recently founded an Etsy shop, RainflowersShop, which provides miscarriage and infant loss care packages, after experiencing their own loss of their unborn baby. In early March, the couple learned at a routine pregnancy doctor’s appointment that their third child didn’t have a heartbeat at 11 weeks gestation. Friends and family grieved with them, made meals, and sent flowers. Although the Schuelers appreciated the acts of kindness, none were enough to memorialize their child.
“Although they were so helpful and thoughtful, we still ended up with empty hands, nothing tangible to remember our angel baby,” Charlie and Madalyn said in an email. “Once we started looking into it, the only gifts we could find available for an event like this is jewelry and plants. We wanted to offer more tangible gifts of comfort and keepsake.”
Before their own loss, friends had also experienced the loss of an unborn child, and the couple wanted to send a gift. They looked online for something suitable and settled on creating a gift of their own, forget me not seeds and a decorative tea towel. Over the course of the next few weeks, the idea to create a business to fill the void of gift packages for parents losing an unborn child or infant came to be. RainflowersShop, named after the child they lost, was launched about a week ago, and the couple has already filled several orders.
Charlie, a construction engineer with INDOT, and Madalyn, a former teacher who now cares for their two children full time, plan to run the shop themselves. They created the shop’s logo, with the help of Madalyn’s sister, whose handwriting is used on all printed materials. They create the seed packs that go in each gift, and purchase handmade candles and journals from a vendor. Customers have the choice of several gift packages, each named after their children.
“We consider this a family business, and the mission is extremely personal to our family,” they said. “Each box is named after one of our children and reflect their personalities. We talk about Asher often, and they know he is in heaven looking over our family.”
The Henry box features a journal, candle, and handkerchief and is named after their older son, Henry, who is 3 ½.
“He is our deep thinker,” they said. “He is calm and reflective, which is the reason we chose these items for his box.”
The Ivy box, named after their 2-year-old daughter, who is their “free spirit. … wild, independent, and beautiful,” contains a planter, forget me not seeds, and handkerchief. The Asher box, named after their third child, Asher Rain, contains a journal, candle, planter, forget me not seeds, butterfly garden ornament, and handkerchief.
“Asher is the combination of our other children, Henry and Ivy,” they said. “The name Asher means blessed by family, and we hope that the recipients of this box feel as if they are blessed by the box.”
The Schuelers prepurchase the supplies for the gift boxes, and when an order comes in, they can assemble and personalize it quickly so that each order ships in just a day or two.
The Etsy shop is a way for the family to heal as they help others to do the same. It’s also a way to memorialize Asher’s story. As Madalyn shares to each recipient of their care box:
“I’ll never forget the words that changed our lives forever, in the worst way. ‘This is your baby, but I don’t see a heartbeat today. I’m so sorry.’ The floor disappeared beneath us. This is the most horrible dream, but it wasn’t. We were 11 weeks into our third pregnancy, so anxious to see our precious baby, the day we found out that our baby was gone. Measuring at just nine weeks, I’d been carrying our angel longer than their life; my body held on and refused to give up hope. The days after that appointment are a complete blur. Filled with sobs, surgery, and constantly reliving the reality of what was happening to us. Trying to accept that the life journey of our Asher Rain will always be a conversation of what could have been. Without the love and support of our family and friends, we honestly don’t know how we could have made it through those first few weeks. Somehow, we did make it through, and although every single day brings challenges and reminders, we survived. You will, too. Give yourself, and each other, time and grace.”
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