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

    

NY Med Episode Shows Pain of Miscarriage

NY Med Episode Shows Pain of Miscarriage

NY Med Episode Shows Pain of Miscarriage

Amid the gun shot victims, violent patients, life-and-death heart surgeries and general mayhem, I was pleased to see a story on last week’s NY Med episode that showed a couple’s miscarriage. As a loyal fan of the show, even I can applaud the choice to fill a spot that could easily hold another gritty, eye brow- raising piece, with an honest and painful depiction of the couple’s loss.

The story took on even a deeper meaning when the emergency room doctor who was assigned to examine the young mother, shared that she had a miscarriage herself just 2 weeks earlier. She spontaneously shared the shock she felt and the sadness of her husband as she received the same news, at almost 12 weeks pregnant.

It was so refreshing to see a doctor who truly understood what the couple was facing and one who had the guts to share her own heartache on live t.v. in the hopes of comforting the couple. She made a point to remind the grieving mom that the miscarriage would not have any affect on her chances of having a normal pregnancy next time.

As the show wrapped up with a grateful mother who was going home with the new kidney she received from her son and an ecstatic heart surgery patient who received a second chance at life; the final image was even sweeter. The emergency room doctor and her husband shopping for baby clothes. The doc, now 6-months pregnant, was sharing the special moment with all of us who have suffered loss and reminding us that there is hope for the future. May we all have the courage to hope.

World Premiere of Minnie Driver Movie on Stillbirth!

Return to Zero

Return to Zero

“Return to Zero” World Premiere — Only 3 Days to Go!
The momentum is building for the World Premiere of RETURN TO ZERO on LIFETIME this Saturday, May 17th at 8pm Eastern / 7pm Central!

The press has been amazing! We’ve been featured on Ellen, Entertainment Tonight, the CBS Morning News, and you can tune in to see Minnie discuss RETURN TO ZERO on “The Talk” tomorrow!

If you haven’t seen the RTZ trailer yet, you can find it on our website at www.returntozerothemovie.com.

We’ve redesigned our site to make it easy for you to view our most recent videos, pre-order the DVD and find information, helpful links and a discussion guide for the film!

Even with all of the amazing publicity, we still need your help over the next 72 hours to get the word out about this important and silence-shattering film! This is an amazing moment for this community and we need your help with the final push!

Here are 5 ways to help promote the RETURN TO ZERO worldwide premiere this weekend!
1. Post ‘tune-in’ messaging on all your social platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Google+, your blog, etc., and/or ‘share’ RETURN TO ZERO Facebook messages and retweet RETURN TO ZERO tweets!

2. Download the RETURN TO ZERO Facebook cover image and post it to your Facebook page! Here’s the link!

3. Download the RETURN TO ZERO ‘Print at home’ flyers from our site and distribute them in your community. Here’s the link!

4. Host a RETURN TO ZERO viewing party at your home or designated location and download ‘Customizable Viewing Party invitation’ to invite friends, family, etc. Here’s the link!

5. Word of mouth – spread the word via phone calls, emails, talking to your friends, family, and even texting, etc., about RETURN TO ZERO premiere this weekend! There is no advertising more effective than word-of-mouth.

International Premieres!

RETURN TO ZERO premieres in the UK on Lifetime on Sunday, May 18th at 21:00!

RETURN TO ZERO premieres in Southeast Asia on Lifetime on Tuesday, May 20th!

Tune into our RTZ Facebook page for more information on international premieres as that information is made available to us.

RETURN TO ZERO–DVD Pre-Order
You can now pre-order the “Return to Zero” DVD on Amazon which ships in mid-late June. It is filled with over 75 minutes of extras–14 behind-the-scenes videos to 5 incredibly moving short films handpicked from the RTZ community.

RETURN TO ZERO–COUNTDOWN SHOW and post-film DISCUSSION
Thanks to Jonathan & Carrie of STILL Project and Carly Marie of Project Heal, we are proud to announce that we’ll be having Google + Hangouts both BEFORE and AFTER the film airs!

The COUNTDOWN SHOW begins at 7pm Eastern and features writer/director/producer Sean Hanish and Kiley Hanish and producer, Paul Jaconi-Biery. Plus, we’ll be doing live “look-ins” with viewing parties across the country!

The POST-PREMIERE DISCUSSION begins at 10:30pm Eastern where the “real Dr. Claire” Dr. Karla Iacampo and grief educator Cath Duncan will take you through the RETURN TO ZERO Discussion Guide for Bereaved Parents.

RETURN TO ZERO – the Retreat
I’m proud to announce that Kiley Hanish is going to be hosting Return to Zero retreats later this year. Her focus is on women who have been through the loss of a baby and how one can journey through grief to healing. You can find more information about her upcoming retreats and sign up for her mailing list here.

And you can always find out more about the film and find helpful links and information about stillbirth and neonatal loss here on our webiste!

Only 3 more days until we break the silence together! Let’s make every hour count!

Sincerely,

Sean Hanish
Writer, Producer, Director
RETURN TO ZERO
Father of Norbert, Roxie & Cannon

Remembering Your Baby on Mother’s Day

Remembering Your Baby

Remembering Your Baby

Mother’s Day can be a good time to remember and memorialize your baby. Here are some tips we share each year at this time, adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.

There are countless ways to remember and honor your baby. No matter how much time has passed since your miscarriage, it is never too late to memorialize your child.

You can find comfort and healing by incorporating your baby’s memory into your life. Here are some suggestions:

–       Create a memory box. Include any mementos you may have from your baby. A positive pregnancy test, a toy, stuffed animal or outfit you bought for the baby (if you do not have one, then buy one). Anything you may have that reminds you of your pregnancy or your baby can be included, even if you just have a few things.

–     Make a donation in your baby’s name. Publicly acknowledge your child by making a charitable donation, or give something to a needy child that is the same age your child would have been now. Also consider submitting an article or poem about your baby to a newspaper or magazine.

–       Make something for the baby such as a quilt, a painting, a cross stitch, an outfit, a piece of pottery or furniture.

–       Buy a piece of jewelry that symbolizes your baby. Your baby’s birthstone, or an engraved necklace with your baby’s name can be good choices.

–       Plant a tree or garden in memory of your baby. You may even choose a houseplant or  indoor tree. Decorate the tree at special times of the year to remember your baby.

–       Add your baby to the family tree. If you named your baby, add him or her permanently to the family by including the baby in your family tree.

–       Donate baby items that you may have bought or received to a worthy charity. You may also do this in your baby’s name.

–       Have a celebration each year on your baby’s birthday or due date.

–       Include your baby in the hospital’s Remembrance Book. Most hospitals have a remembrance book, and even if your baby did not die in a hospital, you can contact the Chaplin at your local hospital.

–       Light a candle for the baby every evening until you feel you do not need to anymore. After that, burn it once a month, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, or on special anniversaries.

Remembering your baby is a very personal thing.  There is no right or wrong way to honor your child. Taking the time to memorialize your baby will bring you closure and comfort as your move through your grief, and work toward recovery.

We run this article each year at this time and during Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month.

Am I a Mother?

Am I a Mother?

Am I a Mother?

Are you spending this Mother’s Day wondering if you are, in fact, a mother? 900,000-1 million women in the U.S. alone face this question every year after suffering pregnancy loss.

“For women who experience a miscarriage during their first pregnancy, the question of motherhood is an even greater one,” says Lisa Church of HopeXchange, a company dedicated to the support of women and their families facing pregnancy loss.

Mother’s Day is the most difficult holiday a woman must face after pregnancy loss. A time that was supposed to be a celebration of a new life and a new motherhood becomes a time of sadness and grief. Church’s book, Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death, encourages women to use the holiday to remember their babies, rather than making it a dreaded event to endure each year. “Nothing will lesson the pain of Mother’s Day, but with some planning you can make sure the day has meaning for you,” says Church. Here are some tips from the book that can help:

– You Are a Mother.

The best gift you can give yourself on Mother’s Day is the acknowledgment that you are a mother. You may not have a baby to hold in your arms, but you do have one in your heart.

– Let Your Family Know What You Need.

If you feel uncomfortable being recognized as a mother at a banquet or other function, substitute an activity you would feel good about. If you would rather not receive or wear a flower, then wear an item that helps you to connect with your baby, such as a piece of jewelry that includes the baby’s birthstone.

– Remember Your Baby.

Mother’s Day can be a great time for a husband and wife to talk about their baby and what the baby meant to them. Take a walk, have a quiet dinner, or just set aside some time to remember your baby together.

– Decide Ahead of Time.

The way you chose to spend Mother’s Day should be your decision- and one you make ahead of time. Setting time aside to remember and talk about your baby will make you “feel” more like a mom on the very day designed to do that. Church also reminds women that their spouses may experience similar feelings on Father’s Day, “so be sure to ask how he would like to spend the day.”

We run this article each year to help grieving Moms handle Mother’s Day.

Liam Neeson Speaks on His Grief

Liam Neeson on "60 Minutes"

Liam Neeson on “60 Minutes”

“Grief is like a three-legged table,” he said, “The Earth isn’t stable anymore.” These poignant words struck me as I listened to Actor Liam Neeson open up to “60 Minutes” last Sunday about the loss of his wife, actress Natasha Richardson.

It was the first time Neeson has spoken publicly about his wife’s death in 2009. You may remember that she hit her head while skiing in Canada. Richardson said she felt fine, but died two days later after complaining of a headache. 

He told 60 Minutes that he visits her grave often and plants her favorite flowers, daffodils and roses. Neeson also said he has been unable to part with her clothing. He said that grief still overwhelms him.

As I listened to this honest and moving account of Liam’s battle with grief, it reminded me of the loss of miscarriage. While we can’t plant a “favorite” flower, and there may be no clothes to part with, we live with the “three-legged table” that makes the earth feel unstable. In so many ways, grief gives us the clarity and empathy to reach out to anyone who is grieving…no matter the loss. I realized that we share a common, and unwanted bond- a collective understanding of the grip of loss and the pain that can overwhelm us. Let’s hope that we can also share our stength, acceptance and compassion when our fellow man is grieving.

Liam Neeson Speaks on His Grief

Liam Neeson on "60 Minutes"

Liam Neeson on “60 Minutes”

“Grief is like a three-legged table,” he said, “The Earth isn’t stable anymore.” These poignant words struck me as I listened to Actor Liam Neeson open up to “60 Minutes” last Sunday about the loss of his wife, actress Natasha Richardson.

It was the first time Neeson has spoken publicly about his wife’s death in 2009. You may remember that she hit her head while skiing in Canada. Richardson said she felt fine, but died two days later after complaining of a headache. 

He told 60 Minutes that he visits her grave often and plants her favorite flowers, daffodils and roses. Neeson also said he has been unable to part with her clothing. He said that grief still overwhelms him.

As I listened to this honest and moving account of Liam’s battle with grief, it reminded me of the loss of miscarriage. While we can’t plant a “favorite” flower, and there may be no clothes to part with, we live with the “three-legged table” that makes the earth feel unstable. In so many ways, grief gives us the clarity and empathy to reach out to anyone who is grieving…no matter the loss. I realized that we share a common, and unwanted bond- a collective understanding of the grip of loss and the pain that can overwhelm us. Let’s hope that we can also share our stength, acceptance and compassion when our fellow man is grieving.

Researchers Say Up to 25% of Miscarriages Preventable

miscarriage researchNew research by scientists in Denmark suggests that it’s possible that about a quarter of miscarriages could be prevented by lifestyle changes. 

The research team looked at data from approximately 90,000 pregnancies that occurred between 1996 and 2002 and were tracked by a national registry in Denmark. They focused on modifiable risk factors including exercise, alcohol consumption, smoking, drinking coffee, work schedule, regular heavy lifting, prepregnancy weight, and maternal age, and concluded that by lowering these risk factors, more than 25 percent of miscarriages could be prevented.

The prepregnancy factors they found that were most associated with lowering miscarriage risk were weight and age. Women who had a healthy body mass index (BMI) and were between 25 and 29 years old at the time of conception had a more than 14 percent lower risk of miscarriage. According to the data, the overall highest risk factors associated with miscarriage were drinking alcohol during pregnancy and a maternal age of 30 or over.

Critics of the study point out that “risk is not the same as cause.” However they agree that miscarriages should be a topic for prevention. See more about the study at: http://shine.yahoo.com/parenting/researchers-25-percent-miscarriages-preventable-192300319.html.

When Should We Try Again: Am I Ready?

Have you thought about trying again in the New Year? There are many different schools of thought on how soon you should try again. It is important to consider your physical and emotional readiness.

Physical Readiness

Most experts and doctors agree that a woman who has suffered a miscarriage should wait at least one normal menstrual cycle before attempting to become pregnant. There is some evidence to suggest that failing to wait for one normal cycle increases the risk of miscarriage in the next pregnancy. Some doctors will suggest waiting for two to three normal cycles to ensure that your body has fully recovered.

It is important that you consult with your doctor to determine the proper wait time for you and your body. Together you can decide when you are healthy and ready to try again.

If you will require any additional medical attention, such as genetic counseling, be sure to seek that out before trying again. Having all the information you need is vital in helping you to make the choices and decisions ahead.

Emotional Readiness

Emotional readiness is much more difficult to determine, and in many ways, even more critical than physical readiness.

If you find yourself hurriedly trying to become pregnant again, you may not be taking the time to properly address your grief. During a time when emotions are running high, this can be dangerous. Many women find themselves grieving (over a pregnancy loss) long after the birth of their babies.

If your focus becomes trying again, it could delay the grief and healing process and put that part of your life on hold. Also, if you fail to become pregnant right away, it can cause a feeling of failure and add to the emotions you are dealing with.

Even if you believe that you ‘feel fine,’ and you do not feel overwhelming effects from your loss, there is still grief. Many parents find that their pain intensifies in the months that follow their miscarriage. Most doctors agree that dealing with grief is important before trying again.

On the other hand, if you find the months stretching on and you are still afraid to try again, it may be time to face the music. You will not be able to move forward without feeling fear. Becoming pregnant again can help you to feel that you are ‘moving on’ and progressing toward your dream of starting or adding to your family.

The important thing is that you take the time you need to become emotionally ready. That does not mean that you will awake one day without any fears or reservations. It simply means that you have allowed yourself to grieve and begin healing from the loss you suffered. This will open the way to try again when you are emotionally and physically ready.

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

Remembering Your Baby

Remembering Your Baby

Remembering Your Baby

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is a great time to remember and memorialize your baby. Here are some tips we share each year at this time, adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.

There are countless ways to remember and honor your baby. No matter how much time has passed since your miscarriage, it is never too late to memorialize your child.

You can find comfort and healing by incorporating your baby’s memory into your life. Here are some suggestions:

–       Create a memory box. Include any mementos you may have from your baby. A positive pregnancy test, a toy, stuffed animal or outfit you bought for the baby (if you do not have one, then buy one). Anything you may have that reminds you of your pregnancy or your baby can be included, even if you just have a few things.

–     Make a donation in your baby’s name. Publicly acknowledge your child by making a charitable donation, or give something to a needy child that is the same age your child would have been now. Also consider submitting an article or poem about your baby to a newspaper or magazine.

–       Make something for the baby such as a quilt, a painting, a cross stitch, an outfit, a piece of pottery or furniture.

–       Buy a piece of jewelry that symbolizes your baby. Your baby’s birthstone, or an engraved necklace with your baby’s name can be good choices.

–       Plant a tree or garden in memory of your baby. You may even choose a houseplant or  indoor tree. Decorate the tree at special times of the year to remember your baby.

–       Add your baby to the family tree. If you named your baby, add him or her permanently to the family by including the baby in your family tree.

–       Donate baby items that you may have bought or received to a worthy charity. You may also do this in your baby’s name.

–       Have a celebration each year on your baby’s birthday or due date.

–       Include your baby in the hospital’s Remembrance Book. Most hospitals have a remembrance book, and even if your baby did not die in a hospital, you can contact the Chaplin at your local hospital.

–       Light a candle for the baby every evening until you feel you do not need to anymore. After that, burn it once a month, on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, or on special anniversaries.

Remembering your baby is a very personal thing.  There is no right or wrong way to honor your child. Taking the time to memorialize your baby will bring you closure and comfort as your move through your grief, and work toward recovery.