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.

Outside of Yourself: The Final Step of Healing

nice-to-see-youI received a wonderful email this week. Although it was brief, the kind and sincere words have been with me long after reading the thoughtful message.

The email was from a woman I’ve been corresponding with for years. We’ve shared the pain of her multiple miscarriages and the toll it took on her marriage. We’ve shared the fear of her subsequent pregnancies. And ultimately, we shared the overwhelming joy when her perfectly healthy son was born. She often sends me updates on how he is doing, complete with pictures of his always smiling, angelic face.

Although we’ve never met, we have a connection – a camaraderie and understanding that brought us together at the most human level. And now, she is making that connection with someone else. She’s become the encourager, the advisor, the listener. She wrote to share this with me and to thank me for being there for her.

Reading her words brought me pure joy- I knew that she has reached the final stage of healing. She is now able to reach beyond her personal pain and help others. Her experiences have become a part of her, but they no longer define or “torture” her. She is free.

If you are grieving, may you find peace by reaching out to others who are in pain.

Sweet Dreams: Tips for a Good Nights Sleep

Sweet dreams...

Sweet dreams…

Your sleep patterns may become disrupted during grief, especially in the beginning stages. You may have trouble sleeping, or you may find yourself sleeping more than usual to avoid the pain of your loss.

If you are having trouble sleeping try these suggestions:

  • Avoid caffeine or reduce your intake of coffee, colas, tea, and even chocolate.
  • Stick to a routine. Get up and go to bed at the same time every day.
  • Read a book before bedtime. If a novel keeps you up, find a boring book.
  • Be sure the room temperature is comfortable-not too hot or too cold.
  • Stick to quiet activities the last hour before bed.
  • Avoid heavy meals before bed that can disrupt sleep.
  • Turn off radios, TV, etc. The noise can affect the quality of your sleep.
  • Exercise for 20-30 minutes at least 4 hours before bedtime. Be sure not to  exercise close to bedtime- your body will still be ‘hyped up.’
  • Drink warm milk– yes it really does work. Plain milk is a natural sedative.
  • Take a warm shower or relaxing bath before bed.
  • Try deep breathing and relaxation techniques while lying in bed.
  • Visualize a quiet and peaceful place.
  • Avoid alcohol and sleeping pills. These are only temporary fixes that can lead to dependency and other issues later on.

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

What’s Eating You: Eating Right During Grief

Your eating habits can become very unstable during grief. You may have little appetite, depleting your body of the vitamins and nutrients it needs.
On the other hand, you may find yourself eating more to comfort yourself. This can lead to unwanted weight gain, which can make you feel sluggish or even angry with yourself. You may also find yourself eating sugar and fatty foods that can drain your body of energy.
While dealing with my loss, food was my consolation and drug of choice. Although I tried to make healthy eating choices, I struggled to lose the weight I had gained during my pregnancy. The unwanted pounds seemed to remind me of my loss.
Maintaining healthy eating habits will help your mind and body feel better and give you the energy you need to heal.
Here are some simple suggestions:
·         Eat plenty of fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains.
·         Cut down on sweets and junk foods.
·         Add vitamins and minerals if your diet is not well balanced.
·         Find healthy foods you like that are easy to fix.
·         Try eating smaller meals several times a day rather than three big ones.
·         Drink lots of water. Try to drink eight 8-ounce glasses every day.
Grief inhibits the trigger for thirst, so you may forget to drink, which can lead to dehydration. You will need to focus on drinking the water your body needs, even when you do not feel thirsty.
Adapted from the book Hope is Like the Sun: Finding Hope and Healing After Miscarriage, Stillbirth, or Infant Death.

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.

How Are You Living?


It was a very tough summer for me and my family. We’ve faced multiple losses in a very short time and been surrounded by sorrow and grief. The most difficult loss was the death of my brother-in-law. At only 36 years old, he had spent the past 10 years fighting a battle many of us fear – cancer. As a soldier, he was no stranger to fighting, and he approached his illness in much the same way – head on. His end was long and painful, but his will to live never wavered – even when my sister told him it was okay to “let go.” On a ventilator and unable to talk, he firmly shook his head NO.

It was just a matter of time before he was spending his final days in Hospice. I will never forget what his Hospice nurse told us, ” People die the way they live.” This became even more real as we watched my brother-in-law fight for every minute he could have. Unable to move, talk, open his eyes, eat or drink – he continued to fight. He fought to live just one more minute, one more hour, one more day. On July 24th, 2013 his last day, hour and minute arrived…and he was gone.

My brother-in-law’s death has had a profound effect on me and my husband. It puts life in a very different perspective. I think about how much he wanted to live – even when he really had no “life” left. What if I could treat each day so precious? I have a renewed appreciation for my family, my health and my life.  My husband decided that dwelling on what you “don’t have” rather than what you have, now seemed trivial and unimportant. He has become more content as a result.

Two months ago today, my brother-in-law left us, and it has taken me this long to be able to write again. I knew I must get these important words down, but my heart wasn’t ready to write them. I can only hope that the lesson we learned from watching his life, and death, will stay with us. If we truly “die the way we live,” then we must ask ourselves every day, how we are living.

Break the Silence! Pledge to See “Return to Zero” in Theatres!

RETURN TO ZERO is the first film ever created with stillbirth as its central theme. We have an amazing cast (MINNIE DRIVER, PAUL ADELSTEIN, ALFRED MOLINA, CONNIE NIELSEN KATHY BAKER, ANDREA ANDERS and SARAH JONES) and have created a beautiful and touching film that will change how people view stillbirth and the effect it has on parents, relationships, families, and communities.
Now we need this film to reach the largest audience possible–which is why we need your help!
By PLEDGING to see RETURN TO ZERO in theaters opening weekend, when it shows in your community, you will prove to Hollywood that that there is an audience for a film about this difficult but important subject matter.
We can do this–but only if we work together. Let’s finally SHATTER THE SILENCE ONCE AND FOR ALL!
Be counted in the number for this groundbreaking film! Simply click this link to fill out a very brief and simple form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1HqU43R7iij8WJt1bavZkmjhmPdci56qakUUKt2VfvWg/viewform
Let’s DO this!! HOPE to see you at the theatre everyone!

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.

March Madness

March Madness

March Madness

March Madness…for many, these words bring the joy of raving fans, squeaking shoes, three-pointers and an endless flurry of foul shots. Basketball fans young and old gather around their flatscreens to watch the games, yell at their screens and root for their favorite teams. The games took on a new meaning at our house this year because my 6th grade daughter just finished her first season on her middle school basketball team. Already 5’8 inches tall, she was “shoo in” for the team.

Watching a brand new basketball team learn the game was exciting, intereseting and, at times, frustrating. The girls steadily improved their skills for each game, but they could not seem to translate their play into a win. At first, they were disappointed, encouraged by the coach that “their time would come.” But as the season stretched on and the team still had not won a game, the disappointment turned to tears and anger. The girls could not figure out what they should do differently to acheive that “all important” win. It was now a quest for the team. When the night of the last game of the season arrived, the team was determined to win, but feeling a bit hopeless as well. The girls played well, and the game was really close, but in the end, the team did not get their win. Their pursuit had eluded them and they were beyond consolation.

No one wants to have a losing season…in basketball or in life. Sometimes we all have “seasons” in our lives when we feel like we just can’t win- we can’t figure out what to do differently. Watching my daughter’s team struggle through their losing season reminded me of our struggle with grief. We go through the motions each day, we wait to feel better, or to feel anything at all…and we just can’t “win.” Funny thing is…the solution for the basketball team is the same for our grief. The answer is…time. Time to leave the sting of our losses behind, time to “relearn” how do the simple things we used to love, time to get better, time to feel joy again. The way to “win” is to give it time. The coach was right, “your time will come.”

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.