Stifled Grief

This is a great read….Stifled Grief:  How the West Has It Wrong

Michelle E. Steinke writes:

I’m here to say those who are honest with the emotions that surround loss are the ones who are the least “stuck” and have received the best therapy around. You see, getting in touch with our true feelings, embracing the honest emotions of death only serve to expand the heart and allow us to move forward in a genuine and honest way. Death happens to us all so let’s turn the corner and embrace the truth behind life after loss.

Finding Joy In Sorrow

I found this post of finding joy in sorrow and the struggle with infertility and thought it was appropriate as we celebrate this Lenten season.  It is important to acknowledge how painful it might be for some families grieving the loss of their child during Easter time.  I’m brought back to memories of my first post on Ash Wednesday six years ago and how far I’ve come in my journey towards healing.

Easter is our most precious gift and miracle, pain and sorrow turned into eternal joy.  In my darkest days I clung onto the hope of being able to spend eternity with my all my children in heaven.  When I felt like I could barely get through the day, I dared to dream what it would be like to hold them in my arms knowing I wouldn’t ever have to let them go…

Many blessings

Miscarriage and Rights

What are your rights during a miscarriage?  Some find out after the fact, when it is too late.  This is an informative article called Your Rights During Miscarriage published by Elizabeth Ministry International.  Although it is in the context of having a miscarriage in the US, many of the points still apply.

Related to this topic is the Letter to Parents before leaving the hospital and Tips for Healthcare Professionals that I wrote when I suffered the loss of my firstborn son.

 

 

Post Partum Depression Seminar

You are not Alone!  Coping Strategies for Baby Blues/Post Partum Depression & Anxiety

April 4th, 2017 from 7 PM – 9:00 PM 

Post-Partum-Depression-photo

Presented ByDiana Ayres, M.A., Registered Clinical Counsellor and Donna L. Crombie, Elizabeth Minister

Location:  St. Nicholas Church, 20675 87 Ave., Langley, BC

Will you be giving birth in the next few months?

Have you given birth recently?

Do you sometimes feel anxious or think you might be depressed or worry your spouse might be?

Have you suffered through infant loss and are pregnant again or recently had a baby?

Feeling lonely and need of support?

Post partum depression can greatly affect couples and their families.  Feelings being of worried, anxious or depressed are more common than we think.  Diana and Donna are new moms and would like to create more awareness about this important topic.

This seminar will go over signs and symptoms of perinatal and post partum anxiety and depression.  Diana will discuss ways to cope, gain support and thrive and Donna will share her story about infant loss and having subsequent children.

Pregnant couples, new parents, supporters and family members are encouraged to attend.  All are welcome!

Cost:  By donation

To register or for more info: 604.931.7211 - denisboyd.com

Jesus Blessed Them

How wonderful it is to know that Jesus blesses our children…

Happy 8th Birthday Keaton!  We love you to the moon and back, and around n’ round again….we miss you dearly.

Mark 10:13-16New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Jesus Blesses Little Children

People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.” And he took them up in his arms, laid his hands on them, and blessed them.

 

 

Am I doing ok? The short answer is yes.

A family member recently sent me an email message.  She remembered Keaton’s birthday was coming up.  I’m touched that she did…

“Are you doing ok with Keaton’s birthday coming up?  Must be hard….”

My answer:

This is a good question.  It is really nice of you to ask, not many people do other than moms who have also lost babies.  I’ve come a long way, the grief is no longer right in front of my face all the time – just for brief manageable moments.  Counselling is a great outlet and I find that it is often some of the only times I can really let my emotions out.  The other babyloss moms I’ve met through the ministry have been a wonderful support too.

I missed Keaton when we went to the elementary school to watch the school Christmas play.  (Our 2nd will be attending the school soon and I thought it would be a good way to introduce him to it).  When the primary kids sang/danced, it suddenly hit me that Keaton would/should have been up there.  We should have been enjoying watching Keaton on the stage; his little brother should have been in the wings adoring his big brother, copying and wanting to be just like him; his baby sister should have been brought to Keaton’s classroom after the performance and showed off to all of Keaton’s friends and [my husband] and I would have had proud tears of joy watching our big boy dressed up as a lamb or angel.

Instead I fought off tears of sorrow wondering what our son would have been doing – and lost.  I’m glad it was dark in the gym, people would have looked at me in a strange way.  In many ways, I wouldn’t have cared.  It would have been a relief to let someone know that I was missing my first born child.

When my nephew stood in our living room and sang ‘Away in a Manger’ on Christmas eve the family was so proud as he remembered all the words, I thought of Keaton then too.

It has been too long since we visited the cemetery.  I feel guilty, yet I know Keaton understands.  We were planning on visiting his gravesite Christmas day, something we’ve done every single year since he was born, but the children and I were too sick to go out.  Rachel’s garden would have been decorated again this year, all decked out with poinsettias on the children’s plaques, candy canes lined up near the flower beds and bows in the trees.  I hope the decorations are still up, we’ll go this weekend to visit him.

Am I doing ok?  The short answer is yes.

Is it hard?  With two other children to run after, it is easy to become distracted.  When I get the rare moment and allow myself to express my love/grief, it becomes easier.  It is hard to parent a child in heaven, there is a constant longing to know what Keaton is doing, what he looks like and what kind of beautiful soul he is.

What can be hard is going over in my mind the questions and events of what “could” and “should” have been done the the days, hours and minutes leading up to Keaton’s birth.  Was there something I could have done to save him?  Why was he taken from us?  What would Keaton be like, what would our lives be like if our sweetie was here?  There are no real answers, this is what can be difficult to reconcile.

Thank you L for asking, I feel very blessed to have you in my life!

What not to say…

When a baby dies during pregnancy, I’m not sure what might be more hurtful, for a friend to not say anything at all or to utter a platitude such as “it was meant to be“ or miscarriages are common“, or ”be glad it happened early – you didn’t get a chance to get too attached”.

I’ve spoken to bereaved moms and dads and there are mixed feelings.  A couple I know felt angry when close friends didn’t even acknowledge that their son died and stayed silent.  Even a platitude would have been better than nothing.  Others have said that they would rather someone not say anything.  A safer response might be to acknowledge the death with “I’m sorry to hear you have lost your baby, there are no words…”

Personally, I now try to look behind the words at people’s intentions.  For the most part, others just want to make things better somehow.  In some cases, that person wants to reassure themselves that you are going to be ok because they are unaware of how to console you.  If someone you love says something hurtful, you could let the person know and try to gently make them aware about why the specific comment isn’t helpful.

It’s hard to know what to say to someone who has endured the death of an infant.  Before the loss of my children, I likely made such comments myself.  If you are supporting a friend or colleague who has had a miscarriage, this article does a great job of explaining What Not to Say When Your Friend has a Miscarriage.

Are there specific phrases that you’ve heard and want to share?  If so, also note what you would have liked to hear instead.

 

Elizabeth Ministry Launch – Vancouver, BC

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day

Please join us at these two events, we’d love to meet you!  More info. can be found on the events page.

Read Archbishop J. Michael Miller’s message for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  It is wonderful to have support from the Archdiocese of Vancouver and Catholic Cemeteries for Elizabeth Ministry, thank you!

Watch the promo video