Archive for Advocacy

On meeting one of your heroes

I first learned about October 15 in 2007. I posted a hurried message about it, encouraging proud angel mamas to spread the word and light their candles at 7 p.m. their time. I didn’t know a lot about the day or the founder, but I knew it was a good thing, the sort of big event I was looking for.

My own web site was already nine years old, the time when you start to try and shake up what has become routine. I wanted to keep growing and moving us forward. I remember feeling frustration (and I still do) that mothers felt they had to “hide” their losses and that talking about their babies was still such a taboo. We’d gotten nowhere.

And along came Robyn Bear and her site for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. She and a team of volunteers took the measure to the legislatures of all fifty states and got it passed federally as well. I was amazed at their effort and the years they spent making this happen.

Naturally I reached out to Robyn pretty quickly. Someone with that much staying power, already seven years post-loss and still going strong, was going to be a big part of the baby loss community. Turns out, she was also very generous and friendly.

This year I decided ENOUGH, and packed my family in the car and drove four hours to where Robyn lives to deliver a box of books she had ordered from me personally. We had lunch in a little restaurant in her home town, and she was amazingly just as wonderful as I thought she would be! Our miracles babies (okay, tweens and teens) sat at one end, and the husbands chatted about work and weather, while we reviewed our two journeys through loss and the determination to actually get involved in the lives of other grieving mothers, and to carve businesses from this so that we could continue working with the community full-time.

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Yes, that is a rooster behind Deanna Roy and Robyn Bear!

I think our partnership in making sure the needs of baby loss moms are met has only grown stronger by meeting face to face. We may have our separate web sites and support groups, and she may focus on Oct. 15 candle lightings as well as remembrance items and jewelry (and man, does she find some beautiful stuff), while I focus on books and information and support groups, but we are definitely united in one thing — making sure women facing these impossible losses have a place to go, a community to talk to, and ways to memorialize and remember their babies.

I see a day twenty years from now when we’re little old ladies, and still holding the virtual hands of the young women who need us. We’re here for the long haul. We’re here for all of you. I can’t imagine a more perfectly suited partner or a more beautiful person, inside and out.

 

My girls at our first Oct. 15 candle lighting in 2007.

My girls at our first Oct. 15 candle lighting in 2007.

Letters to Readers: On suicide thoughts

I never share private notes written to me, but sometimes I like to post my responses, as often what I say applies to many situations, and a keyword search might lead you here.

This response was for a woman considering suicide after her third miscarriage that she felt was her fault due to an infection she had.

_____________________

Dear Mama,

Of course it makes sense to feel like the only good place is to be with your babies. I remember feeling exactly that same way. There is a lot of pain here, and sometimes dying feels like the only way to make it better.

I want to tell you that I don’t think the infection killed your babies. When an infection is to blame, you go into labor too early and the baby generally dies during the birthing process or shortly after. The infection makes your water break and preterm labor begin.

Otherwise, infection is actually pretty common in pregnancy, because we have a lot of yeast and our body temperature is warmer, helping it grow.

So the guilt—let that go. If anything, now that you have had two losses at about the same time, I would say you need to see a specialist, as I would be willing to bet that the shape of uterus might be the culprit here—something corrective surgery could fix. A test where they shoot dye into your uterus and xray it will tell us.

So here is my suggestion to you. Separate out the emotion of what has happened, which is super sad and feels like punishment, from the medical issue—from the FIGHT. Be ready to fight to be a mom. Figure out where you have strength, and work that strength like a muscle. Get angry that you have to do this fight, but know that this is what will make you strong. And learn what you need to know to get that baby you want so much.

Because let me tell you this—right now your body seems against you. Not only have the babies died. But in this period after a loss, your brain is literally robbed of chemicals—important ones that help balance out your moods. So this feeling like you want to die—it comes from those stupid chemicals. And the good news is, these chemicals WILL straighten out very soon. One day you are going to feel as though a cloud as lifted, and you can smile again. Then you will be upset—your babies have died and you just smiled! But it will be a sign that your babies are a part of your life, but not the focus of it. And you will get better. And you will be ready to fight. And you will get to the bottom of these losses.

And you will beat it and win.

And the babies in your future—how sweet that will be. How much more joy you will feel. You will never take it for granted.

Feel sad for those moms who complain about motherhood, who ignore their children. You will never be that mom. It ‘s the gift your babies are giving to you.

So hang on, mama. Fight this feeling until your body recovers and helps you cope. Then be ready for the battle of your life—getting answers and moving toward that family you so want.

Deanna

 

If you wish you’d had more information after your loss, here’s your chance to change things

Kristin over at Faces of Loss is just 14 positions away from earning a $25,000 grant from Pepsi to get booklets printed up and sent to hospitals. If she makes her goal, when a mom goes to the ER with a miscarriage or stillbirth, she will go home with information.

How often can you influence things–actually make a difference. How often can you take what has happened to you and turn it into something that helps someone else?

Today you can.

It’s so easy. Vote. As I write this, Kristin is in position 29. A GREAT acheivement. But she has to be in the top 15 to get the grant.

Voting is free and easy. In fact, if you are on Facebook, it takes maybe 20 seconds to click over, log in using Facebook, and cast your vote. If you are not on Facebook, fill in a little information for Pepsi so you can vote.

Here’s where to go:

http://www.refresheverything.com/facesofloss

You can vote every day. If you drink Pepsi already, you can “Power Vote.” There are codes inside the packaging on Pepsi that gets you bonus votes.

Please, go do this. It’s so simple, and will make an incredible difference in thousans of women’s lives.

Thank you. Really, thank you.