Hey guys, thanks for joining me today, I’m just so excited for you to meet today's guest. She first caught my attention when she posted in our Facebook group as a lot of our guests do but this was a little bit different, so last Christmas, she posted in our group about wanting to give back. She does this every year in order to keep her son Jude’s memory alive. You see, her son Jude passed away of brain cancer at six months old, this year I believe he would have been nine years old. Every year she does things to keep his memory alive spend random acts of kindness, I was just so touched what she did in our group was ask moms to register something that they needed for their baby whether they were pregnant or already had kids of their own and she was going to go on and purchase different items for random moms on the list and I was just so touched and so inspired by her and her story and just how she worked at keeping her son Jude’s memory alive. So I reached out to her and she came on the show and we just talked about everything about her son, about being a mom, and so much more. You're just going to love hearing from Ashley just her story and I hope she inspires you if anything to start spreading kindness random acts of kindness that's what she really talks about and so if we can do one thing for her just think of one way today that you can do a random act of kindness so without further ado here's my interview with Ashley Chauvin.
Christa: All right, welcome Ashley thanks for coming on the show today. So glad you're here so just to get started can you just tell us a little bit about you and we're going to kind of go from there.
Ashley: Sure, I’m Ashley Chauvin. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. I run show me Chauvin, everything, I run show me Chauvin crafting group on Facebook and YouTube channel and I also run the be good to everybody movement but those are the two big things that I run as the Facebook group and the YouTube channel on both of those entities.
Christa: So I first saw you because you joined our Facebook group and you made an awesome post about your son Jude and just how you carry on his memory through giving back to others and I was just so touched by your story and I love that you share his story. So let's kind of go into the reason why you do a lot of what you do and that is your son Jude so you guys want to tell us the story about him?
Ashley: Sure, so my wife and I adopted Jude from birth in 2011 on December the 20th. We were in the delivery room and obviously it was the greatest day of our life. He was born a perfectly beautiful healthy little boy and he was just magnificent. On accident, we found out on a wellness visit that on a wellness visit he was fine at four months old and a couple of weeks later we went in on a sick visit because we thought he might have had a cold, every new mom panics and he sneezed one day so I thought, oh my gosh maybe he's got his first cold and we went in to check his sickness and they measured his height and his weight and they said it's normal and I asked the doctor to measure his head because I scrapbooked and they said well we don't measure his head on sick visits because his head doesn't grow like that it only grows little bits. And so I kind of pushed the issue because I’m a scrapbooker and or I was back then. And that's when our whole world fell apart, they measured his head and you could see the look of panic come across the doctor's face and she measured it again. She threw out the tape measure, she got a new one she measured it again, she called in another doctor they measured it again and then they went and got the head of pediatrics to come in and all the while you can imagine as a mother the look of their panic just then starts to transfer to you and so finally I said what is going on with our son and they said, we think he has fluid in his head and so they showed us the bell curve where it was supposed to be curved and he was now way off of the chart. His head had grown like five centimeters in just two weeks so something was definitely very wrong and they had scheduled a cat scan for the next day and as a mother that wasn't good enough so I had gone home packed a bag and we went to the emergency room. My son had a beautiful full head of hair so obviously we didn't see the soft spot bulging because he had beautiful black hair. And so I went to the emergency room and I said, someone said my son has fluid in his head and I want you to check it right now and the doctor said, what? I said right now I’m not leaving. And so with a little bit more squeaky wheel gets the oil they did and the worst day of our life began at that moment. My son had a tumor in his head the size of a tennis ball and it was diagnosed as a rare brain cancer called atrt, which is atypical territory, a rabinoid tumor and it was a very rare aggressive brain cancer. That it was the worst news ever, so they called in they said that they had already called in the brain surgery team and the neurosurgeon team and that they were 20 minutes out and it was literally like I had gone in thinking they're crazy they don't know what they're talking about because they had said, well when was he last throwing up? I’m like, never, look at him, he was fine. When did he last have a fever? Never, he was fine. He was a happy baby eating, no fever, no vomiting, no nothing, he was perfectly healthy. The doctors were just amazed they couldn't explain how he had had this giant tumor in his head and still alert, eating, perfectly fine child. So they called in the neurosurgery team and they scheduled emergency brain surgery the next day. And that night he became unresponsive and he probably would have died from what they would have called sids, had we not accidentally caught this sneeze earlier that day. And so they rushed him into surgery, the next morning a surgery he probably shouldn't have made it through and the fight began for what they said he probably won't make it through surgery. And if he does he's going to have the fight of his life and so we still, we fought and he lost a lot of blood during surgery and they came out several times and said, it doesn't look good. And I said, get back in there you've got something to do. Bring me my boy and every time it was, you bring me back my boy don't come back without it. And so 12 and a half hours later they brought me my boy and he was on a ventilator for two weeks and they said he'll probably never come off and he did, we watched him on that ventilator for two weeks and he came off. And they told us what type of cancer he had and that he probably was not going to survive it. So we had the option of chemo and that we could fight, that we were going to go happy and live out the rest of our days as a happy family, healthy as we could be. because I didn't want to pump him full of this poison when he was just going to surpass anyway, and I wanted him to have quality over quantity. And so as a family, we made the decision that that's what we were going to do. And so, shockingly he improved and we came home and we had the best two months of our life at home. We went to the police station and we dressed him up as a police officer and we took pictures. We went to the fire station dressed him up as a fireman, we went to the zoo, to the art museum, we went to so many places we made as many memories as we could, because we knew that that was the only ones we were going to make. So that life like you were dying was truly what we were doing at this given moment. And so our adoption was scheduled to be finalized July 9th, and we were taking him to the beach July the 9th we were leaving that afternoon. And, July the 7th he started to actively die and he stopped breathing. And our world just started to crumble. And so we rushed him to the hospital and they asked us if we wanted to ventilate them or not, and our first response of course was ventilate them because our adoption is final on Monday but we decided to not because that was against our plan and we didn't want him to die like that and we wanted him to die with dignity. So on Friday we held him and he fought for three days. And on Monday morning, the judge called at 10:45 and finalized our adoption while he fought every single breath he took and finalized our adoption. And all of a sudden nurses came in like cockroaches it was crazy they said, is it final are you sure and we said, yeah we think so the judge just said and they're like, okay good and they just started snipping and cutting and we were like, what is going on we were so confused. And they came in and they're like give me your hand, give me a wrist, take Jude, give me his foot, give me his wrist, and we were like, what in the hell is going on and they changed all of his bracelets so that he would die hours and not die his other last name. So as hard as that was to swallow it was amazing because that was such a gift that he was hours for that little bit of time that he was officially powers. So we kicked everyone out of the room and they brought in a big hospital bed and my wife and I laid down with him in the bed and we all went to sleep and we all laid down together. And at 12:45 the neurologist and the neurosurgeon came in and woke my wife and I up. And he, and he was gone so his gotch date and his death date are the same day. So it's pretty amazing because it's a day of celebration as long as the day of grieving, but he died in such a dignified way in such an amazing poetic way. And so, since then we started this amazing group of giving and remembering our boy and remembering and making sure that he's not forgotten. Because when you're six months old you don't have that long of a life and as a mom that's what you're the most afraid of is that your kid is going to be forgotten. Does that make sense?
Christa: yeah absolutely wow what an amazing story and like how you I mean just like you're so strong and telling your story and I just think like, for as far as his life was like how lucky was he to be a part of such loving parents and a loving family around him in his final days. I just, I just, I just think that's really amazing everything that you did for your son and what you do now to keep his memory alive. So I just have to commend you for everything, just your strength and how you share your story and Jude’s story. You do a lot now to kind of raise awareness and share Jude’s memory and so what are some ways like that you really keep his memory alive?
Ashley: So when we started the crafting group the show me Chauvin crafting group we have what's called Jude’s journey room and children's hospital and it's a bereavement room where when children are actively dying the mothers there can or the children there can request anything they want. If the mothers have never gone home with their children we decorate the room to look just like a nursery to where they feel like they are at home and they have that feeling, become mothers never got to ever go home to their nursery that they have decorated and they got to experience if a child has if they're six years old and they wish they could have grown up to be a marine, we give them the money to decorate the room and get anything they want to be a marine in those final days before they die. That's one of the ways we honor Jude is the Jude’s journey room. Another way is every year either on or up to Jude’s birthday, we do random acts of kindness. And we encourage the people in the craft group to do random acts of kindness. So this year, my big thing was I thought well covid kind of screwed up everybody's family, everybody's togetherness, everybody's excitement, nobody could get together, nobody could, it kind of like stole everybody's joy, it did it like sucked and that's the one thing that I love the most is my family like and I miss my own family like we aren't getting together for Christmas, we couldn't get together for thanksgiving. I thought, I bet you there's a lot of moms out there that need stuff. So I’m going to do what I do best, I’m going to rally my troops, and I’m going to spoil the hell out of these moms. So I joined your groups and you've got a lot of them, you've got tons of them, and I’m not in any of them because my kid is an older kid and I run my group which keeps me very busy and I represent a lot of companies in the craft world so I say very busy. I’m also an 8th grade middle school teacher so I stay super busy and so I put my message in a couple of your groups and they're like, we don't allow this post, we don't allow this post and I was like, oh I’m like and they're like, no buying and telling I’m like, I’m not buying anything I’m trying to give things away I promise. Like, I know this might look like a scam but it's not. I'm really going to buy all this stuff for people I promise. And this lady was like stop posting your crap I’m like, okay I’m so sorry I’m really trying to do good here people. And then in one group one of the ones that you run I put it and I’m like, please someone just lost your stupid listen let me just buy one thing in honor of my child. And this one lady went and registered under the link and because it shows me all the things like if it registers under that specific link it shows me immediately all the things that are on her registry and so I just went and picked out two things on a registry and I send them to her and then another lady registered and she only registered three things so I bought everything on her list. And then the next lady posted her link and so I went in and I bought two things off of her list. And every single person that posted a link but that registered from that link I went and bought one thing off of the registry. So then another thing that I did was I took all of the registries and then posted it in my big craft group and told everybody, adopt one of these moms pick a mom adopt a mom put your name under it and say I’ve got this mom pick something off their list buy it and send it to them that way all these moms are going to have something because they got chipped out of baby showers they got gypped out of work baby showers, home baby showers, sharing with different they got shipped out of that and that sucks. And so, on all their little cards I wrote, I always remember baby Jude and I sent it to him and a lot of them got it on his actual birthday. Which was really cool but some of their items were on backorder, so they'll get them like all in January and December and different times so it's going to be scattered. So they'll always remember my boy, and it'll always keep his legacy going, and then hopefully they'll remember, and they'll be like, oh that poor lady, or that crazy lady, or that weird lady that posted that weird stuff that one day. You know, maybe I’ll do something nice, maybe I’ll go buy somebody's coffee and they'll remember my boy that day and then it'll just keep resonating and even if they don't remember my boy, the kindness will resonate. Because in this day and age there's not enough of that kindness.
Christa: Absolutely, I think that's incredible you're doing because especially yeah around this time and this year alone has just been like nuts, like it's terrible yeah and it's like one thing after another and yeah, it's like one of my best friends had a baby this summer and she couldn't have her baby shower. And so, it's just all the we people are just trying to get creative of how they can connect and give back and I think it's amazing what you're doing of spreading this kindness.
Ashley: And I understood your group rules because trust me we do the same thing in my group with like none of this stuff, and none other than that. And I thought, god I’m that person, I’m that person today, I was like I am that person who totally did not do it, but then I thought it goes to show you that you're pursuing, like you just have to be persistent and I thought I’m just going to keep trying and keep opening myself up and eventually it'll take and it’s amazing that and there was a couple of women who reached out to me and said thank you so much like that one thing, and there were a couple of women who said oh my god I didn't even think to register like I’ve been so busy with moving, or I’ve been so busy being depressed because I had covert or looking out for covert, or I’ve been so sad, or I’ve been so excited about being pregnant I forgot to even think about registering, or this is my second child but a different sex I didn't even think. And have been writing saying thank you so much, and thank you for being so open about your story, and thank you for or my youngest child had cancer too, thank you for sharing your journey. And so it really has started a whole different conversation and network and it's really been a great thing because it did open up conversations for me and other women to support each other through whole different avenues that I didn't even expect. And I thought, wow that was a whole lot of floodgates, that I was really happy about so it just goes to show you the connection that people are longing for right now, that you never know what they're longing for and unless you make yourself that vulnerable human being. And I’ve learned that through my child, and he didn't even he didn't even know that and that's what was so incredible is that he's opened up so many gates with just being a little six-month-old baby that only touched this earth for so long, he touched this earth for so much longer than what he could have imagined.
Christa: Yeah, I love it. I love when you speak about his legacy and the impact he's making. People don't always live like, live like you're dying kind of thing. They think, oh I got tomorrow I can do this next week next month but when you really look at it it's like any day. Any day could be your last, why not live on and make an impact while you're here right now? so I think that's incredible what you're doing and that's one of the reasons why we created this show too is like so many moms and women have stories to share, but I think a lot of moms are intimidated or afraid to share their story and but the second one person does, it's like oh my gosh I went through that too, or that reminds me of you know, another story and it kind of just I think it helps so many people like share and connect and it's kind of like a snowball effect.
Ashley: I, and since joining your group because I even said I’m just going to go in, put this there and then step out and then I’ve been I told my group, I said I’m cheating on you all, I’m cheating on you all with a bunch of breastfeeding moms. I don't even breastfeed, I don't even have a little one, and I’ve been cheating on you all, with these breastfeeding mamas. I’m obsessed with them. I listen to their stories, I talk to them. I said, I’m so obsessed with this other group I said that's like the harmonica group of 2015. And all over again. I said, I am so invested in this group now and I’ll have to tell you a funny story. So when my wife and I were getting ready to have Jude, I was taking medicine to make my breast milk drop, so that I could breastfeed Jude because I really wanted that experience and things like that so you're going to laugh. I hope you laugh because I laugh about it every time. So when Jude was born he came out and they're like, what a beautiful baby boy, six pounds, seven ounces, ten fingers, 10 toes and oh my goodness 2 teeth. And I said I’m sorry, what? and they said yup, two full baby teeth, he had two full baby teeth on the bottom on his bottom palette. And I said, I’m sorry? ten fingers ten toes and two teeth? and they said yes ma'am. I said screw breastfeeding, ain't nothing with teeth latching on to these tits. I said no way Jose. I said stop the medicine, I am not breastfeeding. That is no. I thought, two freaking teeth who in the thought are you, I said, is that normal? They said sometimes it happens if they have calcium deficiencies, or in deficiencies, or hyperactive calcium, or whatever and they said absolutely it happens. And I thought oh no, I spent months taking this medicine for nothing because I am not breastfeeding anymore. Oh, like because most parents they have like the teeth work their way in, so you get used to it now we have these big beaver chompers like growing into his mouth. I thought I thought this thick joke from Jesus like no way Jose.
Christa: Yeah that probably wouldn't be too fun learning how to breastfeed with right
Ashley: And my boobs are already so big, and so huge, and so sore and they were so full of milk. I thought well you could just milk this cow dry because I’m not flashing on anything. I thought I'd sell my breast milk, and we did. We ended up donating the breast milk that I had ready to a milk bank here in New Orleans, but I said after that Bessie is done. I was like, no.
Christa: So I just I just love everything you're doing and I just love how you like you're just so inspiring the way you speak and I just hope that women that are listening to this kind of, take it as a sign to pass on the kindness and share their story because everyone has a unique story to share but I just think that the kindness is like such a big thing that's really cool. I think. Yeah, so what would you say is the best part about being a mom?
Ashley: The best part about being a mom is correcting the mistakes of the generations before us and making this world a better place than what you ever thought. It could be like with my son, Luke. I see such potential in him to make this world such a great place and I see hope within him. And that's the best thing about being a mom, is you see the hope in the generation. Like some people see, oh my god this world's going to suck with and I don't I see. Like man, my kid is going to rock it like, it's not are you going to be a doctor? Are you going to be a lawyer? My question is always what kind of doctor are you going to be? What kind of court cases are you going to win? Because I want him to always know you're not well. Maybe you'll be successful, you are going to be successful, but how successful are you going to be? like you're going to be successful, you're going to be. I always want him to know that he's got this potential so it's kind of like that hold on to hope. And that's what I love about being a mom is having a hand in that hope and that change, I love that.
Christa: For mom's listening, there might be a lot of moms listening that are kind of in a rough season right now, and they hear your story and they're inspired so what words of advice do you have for moms right now I mean like we were saying earlier like this year has been crazy and hard for a lot of families a lot of moms so what advice do you have for those moms in kind of a rough season right now?
Ashley: One of the things is don't be afraid to lose your crap. Like don't be afraid to lose it, don't be afraid to just sit down and cry, and just absolutely lose it. Don't feel like you have failed at anything if something doesn't go right. Everybody makes mistakes and everybody makes more than one of them, sometimes twice. There's no perfect mother, there's no perfect anything. Even the ones that make you think they have made tons of mistakes, don't be afraid to try new things, don't be afraid to laugh with your kids, and at your kids because both of those things are good for the soul. Don't be afraid to get on the floor and have a good time and take a rest. Don’t be afraid to stop, and don't be afraid to go. And those are the biggest things and laugh because if you don't laugh, you'll cry your eyes out so those are the biggest things, but the one of the biggest things I’ve noticed is don't be afraid to kind of lose, like don't be afraid to lose. Don't be afraid to take that moment just to say, okay enough is enough, today is not my day and I’m going to just call it a wash and move on. A lot of people think they just have to keep going in this perfect mentality and that's when it all balls up, and it all keeps falling apart. That's where the volcano keeps erupting if you just stop and let it diffuse and let everything just stop right there then that eruption ends then you start over fresh with that clean slate. So I think that it's okay to fail. It's okay to burn the cookies. It's okay to mess up the laundry. It's okay to forget that you didn't feed the dog. It's okay. It's okay to do all those things, the dog's going to live. The laundry will get re-washed. You can bake another batch of cookies and everybody lives. I’ve learned that everybody will still live with all those things.
Christa: And I always like to end these with a little question like a fun thinking question. If you could have a billboard made today where you would share one tip with moms everywhere? What would you have it say? I know you said so many tips just now too so it's kind of related.
Ashley: But it's more like a quote than a tip. Perfect. This is a and it's actually it's the quote that I wear but. It's more like a quote than a tip. And I live by this every single day. It's by Martin Luther King. It's a great quote. We'll keep you through every day. If you can't fly, run, if you can't run, walk. if you can't walk, crawl but whatever you do just keep going. I love it. That's mine. That's my motto every single day. If you can't fly, run. If you can't run, walk. if you can't walk, crawl. but just keep going and you got this.
Christa: That's perfect. I love it. That's an awesome way to end this interview. And just to end, can you also just tell everyone where they can find you on your Instagram? your YouTube? and all your all your channels? where they can see more of you.
Ashley: Absolutely I’m on everything that I have, is show me showman. And it's show me, like show me your goodies, but show me and then my last name is chauvin c-h-a-u-v-i-n.
Christa: Perfect. Well, we'll link it in the description as well on YouTube podcasts and all that awesome. Well, thank you again so much for coming on Ashley. It was a pleasure talking to you. I love your story. It's awesome what you're doing.
Ashley: Thank you so much for having me love your gym. I absolutely adore you, thank you.
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