Monday, June 16, 2014

A Parent Grows in Hearts

After successfully making it through the mom and dad holidays of the last two months, I find it necessary to share a little tidbit that's not been settling with me well. I've seen folks post things like, "Happy Father to Be" to a man who's partner is pregnant or adopting. Or "How was your first Mothers' Day?" to a mom with a 9 month old baby. Guess what? These people are parents from the second they learn of this baby. It may not be the same parenting, but that's the awesome (and albeit, sometimes really challenging) part about parenting; it's always evolving. We dedicate time, energy, and love to this new being as soon as we know it exists. We plan, we dream, we worry, we read books, we change our behavior, we google at 3am, we talk to friends and family, we listen, we love. All of those things fall under the job description of "Mom" or "Dad". He's not a Father to Be; he's a father. She isn't celebrating her first Mothers' Day; she's been a Mom for over a year. It is when we recognize the depth and the timing of these early relationships as parents that we can truly understand the greatness of pregnancy loss. The title of Mom or Dad is not earned the minute a happy, healthy baby is born. Instead it begins months, even years, earlier. To say that is the starting point discounts so much of the experience, including some of the really hard parts. Anyone that has had the honor to parent knows that it is in those hard moments that your real parenting muscle gets toned. Parenting is accepting all the dimensions of love, and for so many that begins long before the baby rests in arms, but rather when it grows in hearts.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Childbirth After Loss Course

I am so excited to announce that TRS is now offering a childbirth education course for women and/or partners pregnant after a loss.  The Madison Birth Center has been so gracious as to offer physical space and the peaceful atmosphere for such an important addition to the Madison, WI birth environment.

This course is different from other childbirth series in a few ways.  First of all, the attendants of the course will all share the commonality of having an angel over the rainbow.  We all are understanding of the complexities of pregnancy after loss and therefore eliminate the anxiety of being among those who are fortunate to be in a blissful state of pregnancy.  Secondly, we take the time to process our past laboring, birthing, and parenting experiences.  Loss births are still births and it is important to express the emotions of these experiences so as to clear a path for the future. Finally, we work on balancing the worries and the joys, the past and the future while focusing on empowerment through choice.

Feel free to contact me at to ask questions, get more information, or to share your story before the start of class.

 Check out this awesome flyer!!!

Monday, April 23, 2012

"I don't even have a picture..."

I recently met with a group of doulas to discuss pregnancy loss and subsequent pregnancies after loss. We had a great discussion that inspired blog posts of the future. Today I wanted to write about supporting women after a pregnancy loss in which they received few pictures and other memory making opportunities. I can speak as a doula that has supported this type of client and as a woman that has lived through this same scenario. In addition to the anxiety of subsequent pregnancies after loss, there can be a lot of feelings of guilt for having so few memories of the first pregnancies. We often hear the women express this sadness and guilt by saying, "We don'g even have a picture." Now can serve as the opportunity to make memories. Some suggestions: -purchase/make a stuffed animal for the baby lost. This animal can be used to labor with, brought to the hospital/birthing center, included in pictures, etc. -write letters to the baby lost to express emotions, thoughts, fears, etc. -suggest finding or creating artwork for the baby lost. -make a piece of memory jewelry (see under the resources tab) -donate/volunteer to charitable organizations in the name of babe. These can be great opportunities to do things together as a family. Take pictues and ask for a certificate of donation (many places will make you one if you feel comfortable sharing your story). I would recommend including a little story sharing in the birth plan, especially if there are specifics you want hopsital staff to understand. Also, a support person can be sure to make sure these requests are respected (i.e. the stuffed animal is never moved to the side in the labor room). There are so many powerful emotions relating to birth, especially after loss. Birth is a metaphor for parenthood for so many people, whether they know it conciously or not. Allowing a mother to address some of the guilt from the pregnancy loss and redirecting it to new positive memories is a great lesson for parenting an Earth baby.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Memory Making Ideas

Memory Making-H.O.P.E. Sisters, April 12, 2012

Stepping Stones-blog with lots of suggestions

Stillbirthday-love cupboard-maternity and newborn clothing

Donations in their name (certificates)
-Suited for Success YWCA
-community centers

Random Acts of Kindness

1000 Mitvahs-book


Compassionate Friends

Tattoos-Custom Tattoos by Tonia (Ultimate Arts)

Rocking chair as memorial

Memory stones

Forever in Our Hearts Remembrance Walk

Angel Giving Tree-choose a child that is about the age of our angel


Letters to the baby

Animal idol-butterfly, chickadee, rainbows, birds, bunnies, Noah's Ark, water

Somewhere over the rainbow website

Write their name on the beach, snow

Keep everything in a special trunk, box,

Molly Bears

Honor babies through work

Donate toys to Toys for Tots

Feed birds, care for animals

Share our story to help, inspire, provide new perspective

Coffee mug with picture

Visit him/her every week


Jewelry-belles bowtique, - turn dried flowers into beads

March of Dimes

Scrapbook-shutterfly, walgreens,

Faiths Lodge

Baby book for angels-I Will Hold You in My Heart Forever

Continue to have special decoration for holidays (pumpkin, tree, egg, etc)

Fundraiser to donate to organization

Dove/balloon release

Memory garden

Document subsequent pregnancies

Angel food cake

Facebook groups to share

Ashes to special memory

Name at the bench at the zoo

Knitting socks

Calvin's cupcakes and pins wheels from Heaven-design custom photo for angelversary

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

yesterday's journal entry...

i am smart. i am kind. i am important. i deserve good things. i trust. i love. i am loved. i am powerful. i remember. i listen. i am strong. i honor. i respect. i am beautiful. i believe. i feel. i am a woman. i am a mother. i am safe.


Monday, January 2, 2012

this was yesterday's writing that i did in INK in a JOURNAL...first time since i was a teenager....

i've had a few things happen in the last week that have caused me to come to terms with something that has been rattling around in my brain for years. as people, we spend entirely too much time comparing ourselves to others. and as a parent, we do it even more. the judgement that is rained down on people without knowing anything about their story has completely saddened me. my story (and the baggage that comes along with it) is not the right or wrong way to live, parent, give birth, study, begin relationships, end relationships, decide to go to the doctor, cross traffic or fold laundry. i've had bad things happen to me; all i ask is that someone respect that these things are the threads my spirit is woven out of. and i, when i meet someone, am a collector of these fibers. i want to learn what makes them...them. not to judge, not to compare myself, but to know.

many of us will never be blissfully pregnant again. and for that matter, nothing we ever do again will be entirely without some stabbing of sorrow. every achievement, holiday, scraped knee, first day of school, and phone call is another thing without. However, should our pain mean that those walking different paths can't feel the pureness of joy? no. if we expect people to understand that we cannot be all smiles, then isn't it kind to not expect others to be all frowns? yes.

and in a way, this acceptance of what is and the differences that will occur in nearly all relationships, gives immense peace.

365 days of blogging....

365 days of blogging...i am making a commitment to blog or write each day of 2012. the best part is knowing I've found the road but not knowing where it will take me....