- 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.
“Man: The most complex of beings, and thus the most dependent of beings. On all that made you up, you depend.”
~ Andre Gide
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.
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.
HopeXchange Community: I will be a part of this special live event and I would love to chat with you there!! Lisa
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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
Someone I love has cancer.
I don’t know why I have struggled so much to write this, but it has taken me weeks to get the courage to type these words so I can (try) to apologize and explain my very long absence.
I’m not sure what I can say that would entirely explain my disappearance, because I’m not entirely sure myself. Between the illness, stress at work (I have a demanding, full-time career) and a very hectic family life (a gross understatement), I found myself running on empty. I kept going, thinking it would work itself out, but it didn’t. I thought so often that I should be keeping up better, that I was letting people down, that I had to get it together. But I didn’t.
My life had too many “loose ends” and it had all caught up with me. I was feeling overwhelmed and completely exhausted and I knew I had to do something. I kept thinking back to the advice of a friend from years ago. She always said, “My mama says, when your life’s a mess, clean out your closets.” Simple, but excellent advice. I decided I would give it a try. I took some much-needed time off to do just that – clean out “the closets” of my life. I cleaned out the “junk drawer,” painted my laundry room, donated some clothes I hadn’t worn in a while, organized the coat closet, spent a day alone with my husband and played ping-pong with my girls. When I went back to work and realized that I was still tired and I hadn’t quite finished everything I wanted to do, I took some more time off, and I finished.
I feel better now. My focus has started to return and I feel more like “my old self.” So why am I telling you all of this? First to apologize – for disappearing, for letting you down, for letting myself get to this point. But more importantly, to tell everyone out there who is running on empty to stop – stop right now. Stop what you are doing and figure out how to carve out some time, how to tie up the loose ends of your life and clean out your closets. You’ll be glad you did.
Holidays and special events are normally a time of joy and celebration, however they can become a painful reminder of your loss. Seeing family members, making decisions, and attending the holiday activities you usually enjoy can take on a different outlook after the loss of a child.
- Can I handle this? Is this something I would enjoy? If so, it could be a good way to lift your spirits.
- What does my spouse think? Will it cause problems if I do not attend?
- Would the holiday or special event be the same if I don’t attend? Deciding not to attend a Christmas play will not take away from the holiday season; however deciding not to attend Thanksgiving dinner will certainly change the Thanksgiving holiday.
In the middle of a challenging and frustrating week, I received the most amazing news. After two very difficult losses that caused a strain on an otherwise heathy marriage, a longtime reader had her miracle baby. I am overwhelmed with joy for this brave mother and father who had the courage to try again, and received the greatest gift – a healthy baby boy.
Completely caught up in the many stresses of my life, I felt a peaceful joy in looking at the pictures of this much-loved new life. I found myself going back to the pictures when I needed a lift because I couldn’t stop myself from grinning ear to ear when I looked at them.
I was reminded that the important things in life are often quiet the ones – not the blaring noises of my unhappy co-workers, my “stacked to the ceiling” laundry room or my overflowing “to-do” list. The pure happiness I felt when I looked at that little baby’s beautiful face is what I need to focus on. Laundry room…you’re out of luck.