Friday, April 13, 2007

More on Stillbirth

I found an article months ago about a woman's experience with stillbirth. I think the journalist has a knack for describing the intense, often excruciating emotions that come when your baby is born still. The article, titled "Calling all Angels" is similar to my own experience with Elyana in November 2005. A major difference is the doctors were able to determine a reason for the author's baby's death and her baby's heart actually stopped beating during the ultrasound!

The good news is that organizations are now working harder than ever to collect and share more information about why stillbirth happens and what can be done to prevent it.

Read the full article here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Speak Up, Reach Out

Infant or pregnancy loss is one of those topics people seem to shy away from. The only topics that can cool a conversation faster seem to be abortion or AIDS. Even parents whose babies have died, don't want to talk about what happened. The astounding truth is that millions of women experience infant/pregnancy losses each year!

Check out the staggering statistics:4 million newborn babies die each year - world wide. Medical News TODAY

800,000+ women, in the U.S., experience the devastation of miscarriage each year ... that is 1 of every 5 women! Sound Medicine (The last 5 years there were 4,000,000 miscarriages!)

So ladies, we need to speak out about this thing that has traumatized our homes and the homes of millions of others around the world! This entry is directed to the parents who feel unable (or unwilling) to tell others about their life-altering experience. Although many of us will never understand why tragedy has struck us, I think it is important to use our pain to help others out of their own pit of despair.

10 reasons why you should reach out:

  1. As women, why should we struggle with our pain privately - forever?
  2. Think of 3 reasons why it is a bad idea to offer a tip to a mom who is devastated by the death of her baby? Take a risk!
  3. Doing well always comes back around. So does doing nothing.
  4. Reflect on how alone you felt after your loss. Choose to be there for others in their grief.
  5. Why not?
  6. Talking and sharing has always been a healing past time for women. Think of other, more trivial, topics you'll readily share. Reflect on how good it feels to offload that bit of baggage. The same is true for the major luggage, too.
  7. Take a risk (by opening this discussion) and build your own confidence.
  8. The more you talk about what happened, the less like a "can of worms" it will seem.
  9. As a Christian, we should develop a burden for the brokenhearted. James 1:27 speaks of visiting the widows and orphans in their afflictions. Is it too great a leap to say this love can include the childless, as well?
  10. Because you care about the hurting and want to make a difference.

How to reach out:

  • When in a group of women we're always talking about our children. So, casually start a conversation that may encourage others to open up and share their experiences. Try: "when I had my miscarriage, I didn't know we'd be able to go on to have Mirabel and Joey." You'd be surprised at who else has a story to share.
  • If you know of someone whose baby has died, immediately go to them (overriding your brain, following your heart) and say: "I also lost my baby/had a miscarriage. Do you mind if I call you later? You can also call me when you're ready to talk." Exchange phone numbers and follow through with the call.
  • Simply say: "If you need a friend, or if you'd like to know how I worked through my pain, call or e-mail me."

When you hear of a loss, try the following:

  • Send sympathy cards with a message saying you've also experienced loss
  • Send flowers with a personalized card "you are not alone"
  • Start a blog
  • Send an e-mail to a grief-stricken parent
  • Visit the bereaved (even if you barely know them)
  • Write a poem for a bereaved parent
  • Buy a preemie or miscarriage themed scrapbook online as a gift to someone in need
  • Make a quilt square and donate it to your local NICU
  • Enfold a hurting parent in a empathetic hug
  • Think of your own creative way to connect

With so many of us affected by loss each year, there is no reason why even one mom or dad should feel alone after their baby has died. Reach out to one of the broken 4,800,000 women and their families today, and make a difference in your home, circle of friends, community and the world.