Guest Post by Michelle: Grieving Mothers Deserve Better, Stillbirthday.

2 02 2012

Michelle (a loss mother) had something to say about the targeting Stillbirthday (an organization that claims to care about the healing process of loss mothers) has aimed her way. They publicly rebuke her and made false accusations, but refused to publish this comment of hers, even though we allowed them to respond on this blog in their own defense. Apparently our asking questions was tantamount to harassment and hate, and they’ve chosen to return the favor rather than provide the information we were seeking. The reason?: they didn’t want to get involved in anything “unproductive”. Listen to Michelle’s words and decide if you think they are capable of appropriately handling conflicts or giving qualified care to grief-stricken parents of infant loss.

Truth be told this entire blog piece which was in reference to ME was completely condescending.

I don’t care WHAT you say there is absolutely NO excuse for another grieving mother to tell me that I didn’t love my son and that I am the reason he died. None. Not a single excuse can be made for her. I did nothing to provoke her “anger”, since this seems to be the excuse you make for her every time. The only thing I did was disagree with her position on certified professional midwives. Negligence occurs ALL THE TIME in HOSPITALS too.

When a loss occurs, you need someone who will stand by you without prejudice or judgment. You can't trust just anybody to help you through your grief. Who can you trust?

This is not something that is strictly occurring during home births attended by [people] other than CNMs. I refuse to change my OWN position in this fight against midwifery because of the way someone else feels. And bullying me about how I deal with my OWN loss is not going to change my position. And that is what she and all of her friends did and continue to do anytime my blog is posted somewhere. She has no reason to be angry at anyone who is standing up for themselves and what THEY believe in. Even despite all the nasty things she said about me I would never ever DREAM of insinuating that she didn’t love her baby. That’s what people who really do have compassion for others do. She has clearly stated she has no sympathy for people like me regarding my loss because I am not blaming the world the way she is. THIS IS NOT THE PROPER MENTALITY FOR A PERSON TO HAVE AS A MENTOR FOR GRIEVING MOTHERS.

I am sure you probably won’t even approve of this post so no one but you will even see it. Please stop posting your condescending blog posts about me and my loss. I am not the one in need of help here. I have peace about my loss thanks.

We’ll see it, Michelle. We’ll see it. You haven’t done anything wrong. All you’ve ever done was tell people that peace was attainable after stillbirth, and that sometimes deaths have no one to blame. We applaud you.

Guest Post: Melissa the EMT says “Thank You” For The Book

1 02 2012

This is a guest post from Melissa, an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician), who reached out to me in the middle of reading my book. Her feedback was great to hear!

I’m working on your book and I’m impressed. I received it free on the Kindle, but would like to support your efforts and purchase a copy as well! Let me know how to do that.

I just finished the part where EMS took you for your second delivery and I can assure you if you were unconscious they would have gotten you out. They would have had to use what they call a “flexible” stretcher or a backboard and physically carried you out, because a stretcher will not fit down most hallways without causing damage or taking too much time. I assure those are the two most uncomfortable options in the world. While I almost cried at the thought of you crawling down the hallway, it probably was unfortunately your best option.

Thank you for opening my eyes to your perspective. Its humbling to me, who is so comfortable in a medical environment, to get an insight of how scary it can be to others. The information is great, and I’m considering a third birth and possibly a UC. I really am thankful for your efforts in writing this book and I can’t wait to finish!

For me, I was able to envision your day with a scary accuracy only because I have been that well meaning paramedic before. Your story gave me the ability to view the scene from the other side instead of from the clueless medical provider.

I started considering going UC last year when we decided we wanted another child. While my first labor was a horrendous induction from pre-ecclampsia turned ecclampsia while pushing , my second was what doctors would like to consider textbook perfect for an induction. We induced when the signs of pre-e started, it was a very quick labor, with a very healthy baby. Everything was as perfect as a medicalized birth could be. The only nagging feeling was that my daughter did not choose when to be born. In the Jewish faith, it is believed that the child chooses their birth time. This coincides with my mothers belief of astrology which your fate is heavily influenced by your birth time. I kept wondering if I have given my child a fate (perhaps a struggling one?) they were not destined for by forcing them into the world early. I know it sounds insane, but I feel like I may have cheated my children the opportunity to be who they wanted to be in utero.

I considered lying to a midwife about my previous history, knowing no mw in their right mind will come near me. Then I decided to go on with an OB and lie about our conception date and refuse ultrasounds so they didn’t induce until spontaneous labor started because they assumed this was too early. We decided this might put me in a compromising position if they tried to stop the labor or induce because of growth size, and could lead to too many tests for GD and otherwise. Finally [my friend] mentioned that I have been on the “catching” end of a childbirth, why not do it ourselves. My husband laughed and said “why not?” We started reading into it, and sadly we had to table the idea when I miscarried in the second trimester (and you’ve heard my horrendous cytotec story, which leads me to further think I’m destined for UC!)

I haven’t yet felt ready to start trying for another child, but I’ve been feeling that nagging “empty uterus” feeling that says I’ll be ready soon! Right now I’m in the learning process of UC once again, and looking into the legalities.

 I’m just really thankful for your book! I’m hoping to be return to working on the ambulance in the next few years, and if I ever encounter another woman in labor I have a better idea of how scared and inconsequential she must be feeling!

Getting Qualified Care: Attempted Interview with Stillbirthday

19 01 2012

Michelle and I had noted concerns about Stillbirthday, a fledgling organization set up to mentor grieving parents of infant loss which is headed by very active members in an angry anti natural birth movement– so rather than asking rhetorical questions that could be mostly agreed upon by objective readers, I decided it was only fair to allow the founder (self-described Christian doula Adalheid “Heidi” Faith) to speak for herself in defense of her organization.

She declined to comment.

Then this happened at the blog of a would-be mentor for Stillbirthday. In it she stated:

The bolded bottom text is my commentary.

So, as stated in my above bold text, I felt it would be necessary to share the entire exchange of e-mails between Heidi and myself, and was prepared to do so, and I informed Heidi. I wanted to prove my innocence and hopefully discredit the libel and defamation occurring. Heidi, however, asked me not to, claiming it would breach a sense of confidentiality (although I started off everything by informing her this was “on the record”). I had false information being spread about me and people were now visiting my page and accusing me of threatening Stillbirthday, so someone was going to have to clean up the mess. I informed Heidi that I still intended to publish a post discussing Stillbirthday, but that I would reconsider showing our e-mail exchange if she could manage to stop the lies.

While no further response from Heidi has yet been received, the blog which accused me has been removed. True to my word, I will not post the e-mail exchange between Heidi and myself.

As an aside, I have been sharing this video clip for about a year now. Each time I did and shared the advice given within it, I was criticized by this group for being dangerous and giving dangerous advice. Oddly enough, Stillbirthday uses the same clip, and approves...

I will, however, share the questions below that I intended to ask her, which she did not feel comfortable answering on the record. She felt my questions should be addressed privately, and that I had too much of a slant to my interview.  I still wait to see if she will answer my questions privately, off the record.

Hi Heidi. This is on the record. I wanted to ask you a few questions, if I could, about Stillbirthday, and I do plan to use it on an upcoming post where I address receiving qualified care. If you are okay with that, would you please respond to these? First of all, I had Michelle send this for me as a favor. She is helping me compose this and she may also add some of her own questions in here to mine. Okay, now– Could you discuss a little about what exactly a Mentor’s role is at Stillbirthday?

Stillbirthday describes their mentor requirements.

What do you think qualifies these women to be in that role? I understand these are women and mothers who have experience with loss themselves. Do they have a backgrounds, training, or degrees in psychology? Do you give psychological evaluations to any of your Mentors before they assist a grieving mother? Do you feel that these individuals are emotionally and psychologically sound enough to be in such a lofty and sensitive position?

More on what they require of their mentors.

Do you feel there are any potential dangers to someone who is still unresolved in their own issues of grief being placed in a position of trust and mentorship over someone new to grief?

I know that several of you sincerely dislike natural birth, or what you feel are tenets of a NCB community, to an extent of being quite angry or even voicing feelings of ridicule. Do you feel this would be a potential obstacle in offering good counsel or compassion to someone grieving (particularly someone who has utilized natural or home birth as a method, and whom does not feel this was to blame for their loss, and would do it again that way for future children)?

Do you feel that healing from loss is possible, and how do you support others in their quest to get there (if so)?

Do you think it’s offensive to suggest that healing can happen after this level of pain? Do you encourage or discourage joining any particular *groups* after someone has suffered a loss? I’m remembering Margarita in this and how quickly your group took

A ray of hope: Margarita “likes” the comment that says licensing does not promise positive outcomes, after being taken under the wings of the anti NCB crowd swiftly after she announced the death of her son.

her under their wings when she announced the passing of her son. I can’t help but wonder if that didn’t have an effect on the way viewed her loss.

How do you see yourself handling women who are grieving but not in agreement with any of you in the birth department? What do you anticipate being the response of one of your mentors to one of their former clients, were they to “meet” again in the online birthing communities which often butt heads?

Given the “secret groups”, the rage we’ve seen, the label of “trolls” given– how do you plan on ensuring that women who innocently enter your program looking for help can be and feel safe with their mentors?

If there is anything else about the groups you are a part of, and their relation to Stillbirthday, or anything at all else to share with readers, what would that be?

Thanks so much for your time, Heidi.

An example of Bambi's online presence. Her anti natural childbirth group, she claims, is not out to get anyone and she doesn't want people to be paranoid, but their activities include screencapping people to mock amongst themselves; she admits she even does this to family.

This is the reaction of a loss mother to Bambi's online methods of expressing her grief. As you can see, Michelle has had a strong reaction to Bambi's declarations against natural birth and Michelle's loss that Michelle felt compelled to be blunt towards Bambi re: regularly blaming and accusing others. Since Michelle is a calm person, I can't help but wonder what other reactions mentor Bambi would get.

Their group doing the usual. Also worth noting-- I'm pretty sure that Carlos Mencia reference is regarding retardation.

Sammy, aka. The Skeptical Mother, battling "trolls". She is referring to something Lisa had done, seen below.

Lisa's blog makes fun of natural birth using an alter-ego, describing it as "parody". This time, she has chosen the photo of a mother and newborn to make fun of. You'll recognize the title consists of lyrics from the song "Zombie" by The Cranberries.

A reader was disturbed, and this was Lisa's response.

Lisa doing more parody, this time about natural miscarriage.

Lisa feeling comfortable with different belief systems (yes, even Buddhists).

This wasn’t done in any way to force any one mentor out of a program, nor to be a threat to anyone. No demands have been made on my part. I just want people to know who it is they are going to for care, before they give themselves over. That’s all. I’ve advocated this from the start– seeking to understand just what kind of person you are receiving treatment from, and even hardcore independence where possible. Just as you’d want to know your midwife or OB’s record before taking their care, and you’d want to know if you could really like and trust them, finding a qualified grief mentor who is stable, compassionate, and sympathetic (and perhaps even specially trained) only benefits you. In the end, though, just as in birth, I feel the choice should be yours. If you wanted to birth or be counseled by someone unlicensed, alternatively trained, or even inappropriate by mainstream standards, I support your decision. I strongly urge your educated and intuitive choice, however.

Places which may be a good resource if you are grieving & want to have healing & hope:
Elizabeth suggests: Mason’s Cause; Michelle adds: ICANhas a loss and recovery email list which deals with infant loss during a VBAC, c-section, or after birth. They also deal with loss of uterus as some have had uterine ruptures; a private group on Facebook (must contact Michelle for more info); for mental and emotional health though I would recommend a therapist who can help address some of the psychological effects of loss on not just the mother but the couple as a whole.

This concludes our current series on Getting Qualified Care. While we may do more in the future, we hope to (for the time being) return to somewhat more lighthearted, celebratory, less controversial posts for a while! Stay tuned for reviews, giveaways, and happier pieces. I love you.