“Man Handle”: Men and Grief

It may sometimes appear that a man is not experiencing the pain of pregnancy loss. It is critical to understand how men and women grieve differently. Life experiences, along with cultural and personality differences mean that men and women are going to have separate, but equal dealings with grief.
If the lines of communication and support break down during loss, you will find a man feeling alone and unsupported. Here are some ways to help a man during grief:
  • Remember that men normally grieve in private- not in public. You may not see outward signs that a man is grieving, but do not be fooled. Understand that a man in grief will find himself in a difficult position- he will be shamed if he expresses deep emotions in public and he will be shamed if he does not.
  • Be aware that men often experience anger differently then women during grief. While women may tend to point anger inward, men often direct their anger outward. This can manifest as anger toward you or even God. Remember that expressed anger is a normal and healthy response, however hostile behavior is not.
  • Listen. Remember that some men want to talk, but they feel there is no one to listen. A man may also be uncomfortable putting his feelings into words. Encourage him by listening during those times when he does talk about it.
  • Ask what you can do. It is very important to ask what you can do to be of service to a man during his grief, and then do your best to meet his needs.
  • Keep an open mind. Remember that grief is an individual experience. Assuming that a man is not feeling pain if he grieves differently than you will only cause strife and misunder-standing.
Dealing with pregnancy loss is difficult for anyone. Understanding a man and him giving the space and support he needs will be critical.
The above information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death. We share this article each year near Father’s Day.

The Silent Storm: A Father’s Grief

The Silent Storm: A Father's Grief

The Silent Storm: A Father’s Grief

Fathers can sometimes be forgotten during the grief of miscarriage. Although society expects a woman to show emotion and sorrow, it often expects a man to be the ‘strong one’ and protector of the family. This can lead to great frustration and lack of support for fathers.

Fathers may find it hard to talk about their loss. Men can have difficulty in expressing their emotions even in the heart of grief. To others, it can appear that fathers are unaffected by the pain of miscarriage, and this could not be farther from the truth. A man’s difficulty in putting his feelings into words can cause even his wife to question or doubt the depth of his grief.

Males also experience grief in a more internal and logical way then their female partners. They may handle their emotions through physical activity, work or hobbies. Again, this gives the impression that they have returned to normal routines with little or no impact.

Our culture often leaves us wondering just how to relate to a man facing grief. In many cases, friends and associates will ask, “How is your wife doing?” rather than tread on the shaky ground of male emotions. This can lead to anger and resentment for fathers who can feel a lack of support. They may even begin to feel anger toward their wives who are receiving the attention they crave, but dare not ask for.

Men and women face a very different grief process. These differences can leave each one feeling alone and frustrated. It is critical that husbands and wives work together as a couple, but still allow the space that is needed to grieve as individuals.

Keep in mind that men often have feelings on Father’s Day similar to those that strike women on Mother’s Day. Offer the same considerations for him and ask how he would like to spend the day.

The above is an excerpt adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun

    

3 Powerful Tips: For a Great New Year!

fireworksAs the new year approaches, it is a good time to take stock of your life and ask yourself if you like what you see. A new year can offer a fresh start – which can mean beginning something new or leaving behind some old habits or behaviors you no longer want to continue. The article below from Rene Godefroy addresses this very thing. I hope you will give serious consideration to the 3 tips below and begin your start to a Happy New Year in 2013!
Here are 3 powerful steps you can take to free yourself from frustration and to start enjoying the good life:
1) Know “where you are.” Have you ever been lost in a residential area and no one was around to ask for directions? Now if you are somewhat familiar with the area, it’s easy to just turn around here and there and find your way back. But the worst part about being lost is when we are lost and we haven’t a clue where we are.
So, where exactly are you on your journey now? Do you know exactly how much money you owe? And how many assets you have? What are your strengths? And what are your weaknesses? Here’s a good exercise to help you know “where you are”:
Draw a map of your life and make every square a city. Name each square with an aspect of your life. One city can be your family, friends, knowledge of your field, spirituality, work, charity, financial, etc. Then rate each city from one to ten. Ten means you are doing extremely well, and one means it needs immediate help.
What I just shared with you is like having a balance sheet for your life. Put all your weaknesses on one side and your strengths on the other side. Put your strengths to work and strengthen your weaknesses. You can read more books, go back to school or find a mentor. Perhaps you can learn 50 to 100 power words this year in order to get a verbal advantage. Whatever you do, keep in mind that a better year begins with a better you. The readers of No Condition is Permanent know about this.
2) Do an inventory of friends. That’s right. Make a list of who your friends are, and how they relate to the direction your life is going in. When companies want to increase their revenue, they get rid of unnecessary employees or ones that are holding them back. So when you are ready to increase your worth, you need to get rid of unnecessary friends. I am talking about those that only cause you grief and are a pain in the “you know what.”
If you want to accomplish great things, you need to surround yourself with great people or people who have accomplished great things. You might say, “well, how do I find these great achievers you are talking about?” If you own a copy of No Condition is Permanent, refer to it for the answer.
You and I know fully well that some so-called friends are not worth the aggravation. They are draining, and they sap the life out of you. Consider this: Small people are always talking about things, but great people talk about ideas and concepts. Do you find yourself mentally stimulated when you are with your friends? If you are not, then you should be.
3) Quit killing time. Have you ever heard people say, “I’m just killing time.” Those people should be on death row for first degree murder. If they only realized how precious time really is. I have a wealthy friend who once told me that he can make millions of dollars any time he wants. He can purchase more homes, cars, and other luxuries. But the only thing he can never buy himself is more time.
His point is that he values his time more than his money. Wow! People who have little regard for time always find themselves engaging in activities that have nothing to do with improving their lives or that of those around them. They are routine people. They just do the same old things; they are just going through the daily motions. They love to shoot the breeze and just chill.
Listen, you are entering a new year, and you are not getting any younger. You may have lost so many opportunities. As a reader of my newsletter, you are important to me. I can’t stand by and watch you squander your time and procrastinate. That’s why I am encouraging you to find out “where you are” and start taking action to change your life. Take my advice. Inventory your friends and stop killing time.
I wish you all the best in this year!
Rene Godefroy works with companies to help them boost morale, increase productivity and improve performance. Mark Victor Hansen, Charlie T. Jones, Nido Qubein, W Mitchell, Les Brown and Jeffrey Gitomer endorse and recommend Rene’s book No Condition is Permanent. You Can find more info at http://www.villagehero.com or http://www.abcmotivation.com

Home for the Holidays: Tips for Grieving Families

Home_ the_night_before_christmasThe Holidays can bring families together, but during grief, it can also tear them apart. Grief is a family affair. It is important that families allow one another the freedom and support they need to move through and beyond their loss. Especially during the Holidays when emotions are “running high.” Here are some suggestions for families:
  • Talk about grief and feelings with one another and as a family. Confront any questions or concerns that surface about how family members are handling their grief.
  • Encourage open discussions about the loss and do not be afraid to cry together.
  • Accept help and support from others. Also be sure to recognize when other family members may need additional help.
  • Allow space for individuals to experience grief in his or her own way without criticism.
  • Try to stick with family routines as much as possible to foster stability and consistency
  • Individual time. Allow family members to ask for time alone when it is needed.
  • Remember that everyone in your family will move through grief at a different pace. Allow time for family members who need it, while enjoying the success of those who are resolving their grief.

Recognizing the differences each of you face in dealing with grief will allow you to pull together during a time when it is most important. Although grief can turn your attention inward, be sure to focus on your family during the Holiday Season.

The above is an excerpt from the book Hope is Like the Sun.

Help for the Holidays: Enjoy the Season

Help for the Holidays

With Thanksgiving just hours away, you may find that you struggle to feel “thankful” after suffering a loss. My family has had a challenging year, and after feeling the weight and stress for months, my husband and I decided we should strive to focus even more on what we are thankful for this year. It can be so easy to get caught up in the loss and pain, but a simple decision to change your focus, can change the season for you and your family.

 
The holidays can be a great way to occupy your mind, keep your hands busy, and put you in the company of supportive friends and loved ones. However, there will still be times of pain and situations that serve as reminders of your loss. Be sure to take steps to make the holidays as peaceful and joyful as possible.  Here are some suggestions:
 
  • Set aside private time for yourself. Shedding a few tears in private can be a great stress reliever and it will reduce your frustration throughout the day.
  • Plan ahead of time. Make shopping lists, organize your tasks, and leave plenty of time to accomplish them. Reducing some of the normal headaches of the holidays can alleviate added pressures.
  • Educate others on your needs.  If you prefer your family talk about your baby rather than avoid the subject, let them know ahead of time.
  • Do something different. You may find that changing your holiday routine or allowing someone else to host an event you normally plan can give you a new outlook and reduce stress.
  • Do something for someone else. Buy a gift for someone in need, adopt a less-fortunate family, or make a donation in your baby’s memory. Helping others is a great way to heal.

The holidays should be a time of joy and celebration. Taking some steps to prepare for them, and allowing yourself the space you need, can make them a better experience for you.

This information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun.
 

“Mad” About You: Simple Steps for Resolving Anger

Grief can often cause intense feelings of anger, which can be a very difficult emotion to handle. Here are some steps you can take if you are feeling angry:

 
  • Write a letter to the person you feel angry with: yourself, your baby, your spouse, a family member, or even God .
  • Talk to a close friend or professional about the anger you are feeling.
  • Find a healthy outlet for your anger such as punching a pillow, intense exercise, yelling or screaming aloud (not at another person) or even running around the block as fast as you can.
  • Help another person. Use your restless energy to clean someone’s house, mow a lawn or fix a meal for someone in need. Focusing on others is a great way to take your mind off your pain.
  • Cry. Many women (and even men) release their anger  through tears.
  • Confront the source of your anger. If you are angry with a spouse or family member have an honest discussion during a time when you are NOT feeling angry. If needed, ask a close friend or professional to help.
  • If you are angry with God or your baby, face an empty chair and have a ‘confrontation,’ expressing your anger.
Adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun ©

A New Dawn: Adjusting to Life Without Your Baby

The month of October can difficult for many who are dealing with the grief of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death.  Since my miscarriage happened during the month of October I am always reminded at this time of year. It was right before Halloween…and now that emotional event is marked each year by the coming of Fall and the activities that accompany Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. As each year passes, I try to focus less on grief and more on reflection remembering the child I never knew. 
 
When a baby dies during pregnancy, or shortly after, the hopes and dreams of the parents die with it. If the couple has no other children, the loss can be even more devastating because the ‘family’ has died as well.
 
Pregnancy loss causes a void, and this emptiness must be addressed in order for parents to adjust to a life without their baby. For the woman, the physical connection between mother and child is even greater. She must overcome the feeling that a part of her is gone.
 
You will never forget the child who died; you will find ways to remember your baby as an important part of your past. As a couple, or even a family, you will form a new view of your future.
 
Here are some suggestions to help you adjust:
 
  • Return to work. Going back to work can help you to feel that you are getting back to your routine. It is also helpful to be surrounded by familiar and caring co-workers.
  • Keep your routine as normal as possible. Maintaining structure will help you feel a sense of control.
  • Volunteer. Helping others actually helps to keep your mind off of yourself, and it can improve your perspective. This is both rewarding and healing.
  • Indulge yourself. Get a message, go shopping, or treat yourself to a facial or manicure. Anything you find relaxing or soothing will help.
  • Recognize your progress. Notice when you can get through a few hours or days without pain. Find something you are thankful for, laugh, look forward to something.  Recognize when you can talk about your loss more easily or feel less preoccupied with yourself and your loss.
  • Get counseling if you cannot function normally, you feel no relief, or your grief has gone on for too long. If, despite all of your efforts, you cannot cope or adjust, seek professional help.
Readjusting the hopes and dreams you had before your loss is not easy, but it is an important step in moving on with life. It allows you to create a new place for your baby and move on to new hope and new dreams for your future.
 
The above information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.   
  

“Man Handle”: Helping Men Handle Loss

It may sometimes appear that a man is not experiencing the pain of pregnancy loss. It is critical to understand how men and women grieve differently. Life experiences, along with cultural and personality differences mean that men and women are going to have separate, but equal dealings with grief.
 
If the lines of communication and support break down during loss, you will find a man feeling alone and unsupported. Here are some ways to help a man during grief:
 
  • Remember that men normally grieve in private- not in public. You may not see outward signs that a man is grieving, but do not be fooled. Understand that a man in grief will find himself in a difficult position- he will be shamed if he expresses deep emotions in public and he will be shamed if he does not.
  • Be aware that men often experience anger differently then women during grief. While women may tend to point anger inward, men often direct their anger outward. This can manifest as anger toward you or even God. Remember that expressed anger is a normal and healthy response, however hostile behavior is not.
  • Listen. Remember that some men want to talk, but they feel there is no one to listen. A man may also be uncomfortable putting his feelings into words. Encourage him by listening during those times when he does talk about it.
  • Ask what you can do. It is very important to ask what you can do to be of service to a man during his grief, and then do your best to meet his needs.
  • Keep an open mind. Remember that grief is an individual experience. Assuming that a man is not feeling pain if he grieves differently than you will only cause strife and misunder-standing.
 Dealing with pregnancy loss is difficult for anyone. Understanding a man and him giving the space and support he needs will be critical.
 
The above information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.