“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.
 
 
 

Trial by Fire: 9 Tips for Grieving Couples

Father’s Day can put a strain on grieving couples.

Father’s Day can stir a mix of emotions after a miscarriage. Fathers and Mothers can be affected by the event – which can be a painful reminder of loss.

You will often hear that grief and loss bring couples together, but it can actually do just the opposite. It is possible to emerge on the other side of grief with a closer marriage, but it does take work.
Here are some tips adapted from the book “Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death” that can help your marriage survive the stress of loss:
1. Give each other the freedom to grieve in an individual way. Resist the temptation to feel that your way is the only way to handle loss. Do not be fooled if it seems that your spouse has not been affected by the loss.
2. Remember the good times. Think about activities you enjoy as a couple and make time to do them- even if you do not feel up to it yet.
3. Expect tough times. Be tolerant with your mate and understand that you are both going to fail each other during this turbulent time.
4. Do not lash out at one another. In a weakened state of grief, this will only push you apart. Find constructive ways to release the stress and anger of grief.
5. Prepare for change. Loss and grief change people and it will change the face of your marriage. Decide together that this trial will bring you closer and commit to your relationship.
6. Reach out. Resist the urge to spend time away from your mate or reach out to others who better understand your grief.
7. Avoid placing blame. Tossing accusations at your spouse will only place a wedge in your relationship. Understand that feelings of guilt, anger, and confusion are normal during this time.
8. Love each other. Be sure to offer the hugs, cuddling, and love that each partner needs to feel secure and supported. Be sure to resume your physical relationship as soon as possible.
9. Seek information and support.
Educate yourselves on grief and try to understand one another. If you are having difficulties resolving your grief as a couple and you feel your marriage is in trouble, get help immediately! Do not wait until it is too late to seek help.
There are no easy answers for couples dealing with pregnancy loss. It is crucial that you make the decision to put your marriage first and then do it!
Lisa Church is author of “Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death” and founder of HopeXchange, a company dedicated to helping women and their families facing miscarriage.

Join a Special LIVE Chat on Grieving During Mother’s Day!

We have our May live FaceBook chat set for May 10th 8:30 p.m. EST/5:30 PST for a Mother’s Day special. We know how hard the day is for grieving mother’s, so that’s why we reached out to some of the most respected grief and baby loss experts around.
 
We will have Sherokee Ilse a International Bereavement Educator/Speaker and author of Empty Arms. Lyn Prashant,Ph.D.,F.T. specializing in Integrative Grief Therapy and author of The Art of Transforming Grief: The Degriefing Manual. Lisa Church from HopeXchange and author of Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death. And Perry-Lynn Moffitt co-author of A Silent Sorrow: Pregnancy Loss and counselor of bereaved mothers and fathers through the Pregnancy Loss Support Program. We hope that you can join us! XO Michelle
 

HopeXchange Community: I will be a part of this special live event and I would love to chat with you there!! Lisa

A Day to Remember

 Honoring Your Baby
  
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. Anything you may have that reminds you of your pregnancy or your baby can be included, even if you just have a few things.
             You may also want to add:
              – A letter to your baby.
              – A birth or name certificate. If you did not receive one, consider making one.
              – A poem or quotation that reminds you of the baby.
 
  • 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.
  • 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. Decorate the tree on Mother’s Day 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 Mother’s Day, or just take a quiet walk through a park or on a beach with family or friends and reflect on your baby.
  • 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.
  • Have a star named after your baby.
  • Remember your baby online. There are a number of websites with free memorial sections.
  • Remember Me Bears is a website that will make a bear for your baby made from fabric you provide. It could be from baby’s blanket or clothing. 
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 on Mother’s Day will bring meaning to this important day.
 
 
 
 

IBS May Increase the Risk of Miscarriage

A new study that was conducted by two European Universities has shown that women who have Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) may be more likely to suffer a miscarriage. Researchers at University College Cork in Ireland and the University of Manchester in England worked together on the very large study.

The published findings were based on a database of 100,000 UK women. The study found that pregnant women with IBS were 7% more likely to suffer a miscarriage and 1% more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. More research will be needed to determine why the increased risk occurs.

Women who have IBS who are planning to become pregnant should seek the best prenatal care possible and be closely monitored during the pregnancy. For more information on this important study read the article on IrishTimes.com

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Awareness Pin

October is Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month

In 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Unfortunately, the President had a very personal experience with infant loss during his first marriage, when his newborn baby died just 7 hours after birth.

Many states have declared October 15th as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, but remembrance and events are seen throughout this important month.

What do this mean to you? Awareness Month is a simple way to open the door to conversations about your feelings and your baby. You may want to talk to your family, friends, your community or maybe your spouse or significant other about your child who died.

Wearing a pink and blue Pregnancy Loss Awareness Ribbon during October, or anytime, is a great way to increase awareness and honor your baby. You can buy a Pregnancy Loss Awareness Pin by visiting StockPins.com. The pins are well-made, inexpensive and arrive in a few business days.

Pregnancy Loss Awareness Ribbons can be handmade with pink and blue ribbon or purchased. The pins should be worn on the left-hand side just above your heart- where your baby already lives.

Remembering Your Baby: Your Past, Your Future

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.

9/11: A Time to Remember

We all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing as the horrific events of 9/11 began to unfold. Ten years later, these memories are as fresh and vivid as the day they occurred. I was attending a corporate business meeting in Sgt Bluff, Iowa on that unforgettable day. I often traveled for my job, but this trip would be a very different one- one that ripped me from my husband and 6-month old baby at the worst possible time. I found myself half way across the country from my home – stranded, scared for my country and alone.

It was my great fortune to partner with a beloved co-worker for the long journey home. Flying was no option, so we quickly got permission to keep my rental car and began a “Thelma & Louise” style trip- minus the cliff diving of course. We bought a disposable camera and a map and set off on a two and half day trek from the middle of the country to the coast of the Mid-Atlantic.

Thinking back on all of this, it strikes me that 9/11 began a time of incredible grief in our nation. And just like any other kind of grief, we have been going through the healing process ever since. Today marks the 10-year anniversary of this tragedy and a milestone in our healing- a decade of handling our grief.

For those of us dealing with the loss of miscarriage, we have faced this type of grief. The deep, intense wonder if things will ever right themselves, if we will find the happiness we seek. Ten years after 9/11 our nation has moved on, but we are forever changed. We may not feel the daily sting of the events, but we will always remember the pain.

Miscarriage and loss is no different. Although we move on with our lives, we are forever changed. However, I hope like our nation, you may each find the hope and peace you are looking for.

Father’s Day After Loss: Men Have Feelings Too

After the loss of a baby, Father’s Day can be a painful time for men that isn’t widely discussed or recognized. They will often hear friends and family asking their wives how they are doing, but rarely do men recieve the same type of attention. The lack of understanding and support offered to men makes grief a very complex and difficult situation for them.
 
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 you can 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 help 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 misunderstanding.

Dealing with pregnancy loss is difficult for anyone. Understanding a man and giving him the space and support he needs will be cricital.

  
The above information was adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.