Birth Friendly Workplace

How does a mother’s place of work impact her options when experiencing miscarriage?

The benefits of breastfeeding friendly workplaces are becoming more widely recognized and workplaces are creating intentional places for mothers to pump breastmilk while at work.  With a private room, comfortable chair and stool, and a mini refrigerator to store the milk, mothers can pump and work, both with efficiency.

While this seeming new trend may seem to speak directly to the new mothers with living babies, mothers who experience stillbirth also too experience lactation, and her pumping of her breastmilk is an option the newly bereaved mother may consider.

I believe that breastfeeding friendly workplaces are only a start to the incredible gaps in workplace support that mothers endure.  That there are substantial disparities in parental rights in the workplace is arguably no more glaringly apparent than the mother who is experiencing birth early in pregnancy.

Obstetricians know it.  The birth of a baby not alive in the first trimester can, without medical assistance, be quite unpredictable.  Labor can seem to start, then stall, then seem to disappear altogether, for hours or even days.  A mother may only know she’s in labor by the unanticipated blood she encounters.

Because this journey can seem to be an unpredictable, delayed, exaggerated stretch of torment, agony and blood, it can seem quite impractical for the mother to simply wait at home throughout the entire labor and birth of her beloved baby.

“I don’t want to give birth at work.”

This aspect of the mother’s life holds a substantial impact on a very intimate and important family decision.

And so mothers may choose D&C, a medically assisted birth.

D&C – in fact, all medically assisted birth options – are incredibly important and they are needed.

What I propose though, is that the family make a family decision that is not quite so greatly impacted by their workplace.

 

What would a birth friendly workplace look like?

Here are some special considerations for the mother who is able and chooses to labor without more medical assistance, and who spends some of that laboring while at work:

  • Time off however possible
  • FMLA for all families
  • Considerations for staff who need to work in uniform or dress code
  • An individual bathroom option (rather than or in addition to stalls)
  • Non-automatic flush
  • A family member or SBD doula to meet the mom at work
  • Someone at work who is SBD certified to build a company emergency kit and who can serve well

These are just a couple of ideas for a very complicated challenge both to the workplace and to families.  Because every single minute an American mother experiences miscarriage, we need to gain more awareness of how to support well.  We are all impacted and we all need to engage: individuals, neighbors, co-workers, medical staff, and more.  We all have an opportunity to participate to bring love into an impossible journey.

We have birth kit suggestion lists here at stillbirthday for birth in any trimester, and we have speakers who can present a workplace birth preparedness presentation to your place of work.

 

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Love Wildly Pittsburgh

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 REGISTRATION NOW FULL!

We’re bringing Love Wildly to Pittsburgh!

{ The When }

Friday, November 6

  • {check in / arrive 3pm}
  • Love Wildly Registration table opens at 5:30pm {receive Welcome Packet}
  • Men’s event:  7pm – 8:30pm

Saturday, November 7

  • Love Wildly morning check-in / gather at 7:30am
  • Ladies breakfast begins at 8am
  • First ladies session starts 8:45am
  • Break 10am-10:15am
  • Session transitions into lunch time
  • PIZZA PARTY!  All Love Wildly moms and family invited {12:30pm – 1:30pm}
  • Afternoon session 1:45pm – 3:30pm
  • prep break 3:30pm – 4:45pm
  • LOVE WILDLY CEREMONY!  5pm – 6pm
  • conclusion, depart for your own dinner, and release to Love Wildly

{ The Where }

Hilton Garden Inn, Cranberry PA 2000 Garden View Lane | Cranberry Township Pennsylvania 16066

  • You can visit their website and choose if you’ll like to reserve one night or two.  If reserving Friday night only, you can easily check out at their designated time on Saturday and still be able to participate in all of the Love Wildly events, and the same is true if you’ll prefer to check in only on Saturday.
  • You can utilize our facebook event page if you’ll like to partner up to arrange carpooling or room sharing.
  • Pittsburgh International Airport also has a maps page with airport and baggage claim info

{ The Who }

Love Wildly Pittsburgh will be led by Heidi Faith of stillbirthday and is hosted by The Promise – Pittsburgh’s Perinatal Palliative Care Initiative.  Follow The Promise on facebook or visit their website to learn more of the precious ways they come alongside families to offer tangible love.

{ The What }

Love Wildly is a global paradigm movement established by stillbirthday to reach firstly mothers as well as spouses, siblings, and others in our trust circles, of all cultures, continents and circumstances to reinforce the truth that grief is messy but the griefholder is beautiful, that the chasm is dark but the worn heart of the bereaved holds light, life and love.  To Love Wildly is to believe that you are precious, valuable, and treasured even against all accusations, attacks, betrayals and condemnation that – even self-inflicted – seem to thrust you into the imprisonment of the engulfing shadows of guilt, doubt, and shame.  To dare to believe that you are worthy of love, even when such belief seems the most ridiculous or radical.  To speak love upon your soul even when it doesn’t make sense.

Stay tuned here for more updates!

 

{ Thank you to our Fundraising Supporters! }

Because of the generous support of the following organizations, the first 20 completed registrations are only $50!  This is a HUGE savings for a weekend of transformation and love!

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{ The Registered }

  • Heather K – $25
  • Karen T – fully registered!
  • Crystal N – fully registered!
  • Crystal N: Stephanie C – fully registered!
  • Stephanie N, Hope through Birth – fully registered!
  • Alicia W – fully registered!
  • Paige G, Daisy Doula Birth Services – fully registered!
  • Skye D – fully registered!
  • Missy R – fully registered!
  • Lauren M – fully registered!
  • Lauretta C – fully registered!
  • Lauren Mc – fully registered!
  • Nadine – fully registered!
  • Kelsey L – fully registered!
  • Alyssa Mc. – fully registered!
  • Kelsey L friend – fully registered!

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There are no refunds for partial or complete payments, as funding is immediately applied toward event related expenses.

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November 6 & 7, 2015

Love Wildly Cradle Mountain

We’re bringing Love Wildly to Cradle Mountain, Australia!

We’re also bringing Love Wildly to Melbourne, Australia!

 

 

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November, 2016

 

Where is Cradle Mountain?
See the very bottom of the world map, there just under Australia?  See that purple heart?
That’s Tasmania, an island state of Australia.  Near the center of this heart island,
set in the wilderness, is a gorgeous retreat waiting for you, at Cradle Mountain.What a precious place to learn how to Love Wildly.

When:  Friday, November 20,  2016  {a year from now!}

WhereCradle Mountain Lodge

Refunds: because payments secure the hotel group rate, there are no refunds once payment is made.  Registration automatically waives all liability of stillbirthday in all event planning and participation.

Photography: we will have professional photography, and by registering you agree to allow permission to be included in photography

Accommodations:

Hotel Check In & Event Check In: 2pm Friday

Event held in the gorgeous Cradle Room

Event Concludes Friday Evening

Hotel Check Out: 10am Saturday (you can always choose to reserve a second night for yourself after the retreat ends).

This will make for a very special, intimate gathering of Love Wildly mothers. Please arrange for childcare or other needs that can take away from the intention of a very focused, relaxing weekend.

Private Group access to the therapeutic spa area named the Sanctuary Friday evening.

The hotel restaurant can be utilized for meals.

Keepsakes & Events:

Special keepsakes valued at over $200 will be gifted to each Love Wildly attendee.  Special activities will fill our lovely time together, with optional pauses for reflection as well.

 

 

Event Registration: $300

 

Smaller Payments

Do you prefer to make payments toward your registration? You can in as simple as $25 increments!

 

Hotel Accommodations Reservation:

Cradle Mountain Lodge

Connect with another stillbirthday mom to bunk and save!  Join our facebook group!

 

 

Love Wildly Melbourne

We’re bringing Love Wildly to Melbourne, Australia!

We’re also bringing Love Wildly to Cradle Mountain, Tasmania Australia!

 

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 November, 2016

When:  Saturday, November 12, 2016  {a year from now!}

WhereThe Langham

We will be utilizing the absolutely gorgeous Yarra Room on Saturday!  Let us enjoy a lovely Tiffin High Tea!

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possible alternate: Crowne Plaza

Host: Willow’s Touch, Ballarat Bereavement Doula

Refunds: because payments secure the hotel event space, there are no refunds once payment is made

Photography: we will have professional photography, and by registering you agree to allow permission to be included in photography

Accommodations:

Hotel reservations are not required for this event, but you are invited to enjoy the hotel throughout more of our weekend!  Connect with another stillbirthday mom to bunk and save!

Hotel Check In: 2pm

Hotel Check Out: 11am

Each room is furnished with a twin bed and couch.  Bring your spouse for a romantic evening or attend solo for a focused time of refreshment.  Please arrange for childcare or other needs that can take away from the intention of a very focused, relaxing weekend.

 

Keepsakes & Events:

Special keepsakes valued at over $200 will be gifted to each Love Wildly attendee.  Special activities will fill our lovely time together, with optional pauses for reflection as well.

 

Registration:  $175

Join our facebook group!

 

Smaller Payments

Do you prefer to make payments toward your registration?  You can in as simple as $25 increments!

 

Individual Sponsorship

Would you like to receive the financial support of your loved ones to make this event possible for you?  Often times loved ones desire to pour love into your bereavement but aren’t always sure how to do so.  Stillbirthday is an internationally respected organization providing support prior to, during and after birth in any trimester.  Our Love Wildly retreat is a specially tailored event that weaves universal principles of care with the unique, individual aspects that make your story so precious and important.  You can use the form at the bottom of the page to enter your name, and when it’s published, your loved ones can contribute toward your registration.

 

“Layaway” Registration

  • $25, Jodie Moss

 

 

October 25 Remembrance

It’s today!

 

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Thank you so very much to Jen Cantrell, SBD for capturing this photo of OUR FLAG flying over the US Capitol on October 25, 2014 in honor of Proclamation 5890!

Please click here to read Proclamation 5890.

Remembering Proclamation 5890

Families all over the world who have been personally impacted by pregnancy and infant loss gather to hold vigils throughout the month of October, and most especially on October 15, a day known as International Remembrance day.

October was declared Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month in 1988 by then President Ronald Reagan.

So stillbirthday, with help from Missouri Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Claire McCaskill, is arranging for an American flag to be flown over the United States capitol on October 25, the date that Proclamation 5890 was signed.

Thank you, President Reagan, for honoring all families impacted by pregnancy and infant loss.

Please click here to read Proclamation 5890.

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Links:

 

A mother experiences a pregnancy and infant loss literally every minute in the United States, many occurring at approximately 12 weeks gestation.  The approximate size of baby in utero at 12 weeks gestation is about the size of a plum.  If the number of American losses annually were represented in plums, laid side by side across the US capitol grounds (approximately 2 miles) it would take 24 rows of plums lined fully across the entire grounds.

24 rows

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The pink & blue ribbon, for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness & Remembrance

The M0M Center

The M0M Center is stillbirthday headquarters, and you are invited to visit.

 

The name of the center is M {zero} M, but this post is labeled as M {oh} M to help you navigate correctly.

www.healingbirthcenter.com

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Unconditional Love

Contributed by: Deana Ruston, SBD

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This song makes me wonder—and maybe even just a little helps me realize—what it’s like for a family finding out their baby has a life limiting diagnosis. Not everyone experiences the same emotions, but this song speaks volumes to me about the unconditional love a family has for their precious child.

Vividly taking us inside to hear what emotions and thoughts a Mother may have, this song is such an voice to families facing imaginable pain and heartbreak. Their world, which may have been of cheer and happiness, may be clouded with hurt and sorrow. Some may worry about getting too close to their child, only for them to not survive outside the womb. What heartbreak these families face. These children are worthy and we love them no matter what. We want you too, to be free and love your child no matter what. Please, open up and let the love grow—we’re here for you. There others here who have walked this path, you are not alone and we’re ready when you are. Take a seat, grab a cozy blanket and breathe. It is all okay. We are here now.

This song to me is an anthem. Katy Perry has brought to the forefront emotions experienced by families all around the world. Our unconditional love for our families, no matter what, is so, so important.

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What is Death Midwifery?

The global community of birth professionals continue to wrap love around the Gaskin family, and it is a time many of us who are birth doulas or birth midwives are drawing the parallels, some for the first time, between supporting during birth, and supporting during death.

But, there is a need for a clarification of terms, so I’d like to explain those.  Let’s step out of birth and death altogether for a moment and I’ll compare these terms to a life event that also has parallels – a wedding.

Maid/Matron of Honor – someone who provides emotional and moral support.  Someone who listens to you, assess what needs you might have, and presents you with options to choose from.  This person is most commonly a “she”, but, yours may not be; for our example she will be.  You can call her at midnight to tell her that you’re scared, or excited, or both, and she’ll remind you that no matter what, she is with you.  That you can do this.  She’ll remind you of your strengths, remind of your support, and she’ll rally the team together to strengthen and support you.  And if she’s really good, she’ll also have many of the same skills as your wedding planner.  If you’re not already super close before your big day, you’ll probably be close because of it.  That’s a doula.

Justice of Peace/Preacher/Chaplain – on the beautiful day, this is the person you stand in front of to deliver your commitment as a unit.  You pick this person out beforehand, making sure they see your vision and that they’re a good match for it.  You agree on the date, and you meet together.  You stand before this person on your big day.  You are the one making the vow, not this person.  But this person is essential in making sure your vow actually happens.  That’s a midwife.

Courthouse – let’s just toss this in there because even though it’s not the fun part, it is a formality.  Does your beloved have a criminal record?  Are you agreeing to a prenuptual agreement?  Do you file taxes?  The fine print.  The stuff that takes all the pretty out of your day and puts it into documentation.  The legal stuff.  For extreme simplicity’s sake, we’ll call that the hospital, the doctors, and/or the laws in your area surrounding your birthing choices.

I just don’t want the value of what Ina May Gaskin has brought to the birthing choices of mothers to become diluted as I’m seeing the mistakes in droves as people are comparing her experience right now to death midwifery, but doing so by erroneously speaking of the role of a “death midwife” as “bereavement doula“.

Here at stillbirthday, we train and certify both, birth & bereavement doulas, and, what others are calling death midwives – but we call ourselves midwives of thanatology.  So let me address these two terms.

A birth & bereavement doula provides support prior to birth, during birth, during the welcoming, during the farewell, and during the healing journey.  This support is provided in much of the same capacity as our maid of honor, looked at earlier.  You can learn more about our birth & bereavement doula certification program, here.

A midwife of thanatology, also provides support prior to birth, during birth, during the welcoming, during the farewell, and during the healing journey.  In fact, the SBD doula program is a prerequisite into the midwife of thanatology program.  But the midwife of thanatology is comparable to chaplain in the example above, and in fact we call this program our SBD Chaplaincy program.  A midwife of thanatology helps you exert your rights as you prepare for the event of your farewell.  Your local birth midwife knows your local laws regarding where you can birth, with whom, and under what laws.  Your local midwife of thanatology, knows your rights of sepulcher, knows the difference between hospital policy and local law regarding your time with your deceased beloved, knows where you might bury or cremate, and can officiate the farewell, exactly as a chaplain might speak at a funeral.

Let us all understand that birth doula and midwife are not the same, and neither is birth & bereavement doula and midwife of thanatology.  And let us understand that all of these roles are of tremendous value.

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This is what was shared via our facebook page yesterday:

“Ina May Gaskin is in many ways a trailblazer of non-medical childbirth options and is known as a mother of midwifery.
While the world celebrates her contributions to the options in childbirth, facilitating bonding and joy between mothers and newborns, her first birth resulted in her beloved newborn son, Christian, dying in her arms.
I honor Ina May not even for her work, but for her motherhood journey.
Today, everyone who celebrates Ina May for her contributions to birthing choices is gathering to pray and send healing thoughts as it is being reported that her beloved Stephen is nearing his death.
Ina May, I am so sorry for the death of your son, Christian.  Thank you for bringing joy to mothers through your own motherhood experiences, that you see the value of birth intrinsically, the value of mothers loving and connecting with our babies, no matter what, and for finding ways to facilitate that.
May these moments with your beloved Stephen now be filled with significance to you, even joy, and may you be given a space to just authentically honor your journey, free from the scrutiny and publicity that has chased you since your first birth, and may you just find spiritual and emotional rest in these moments as your beloved may be entering his.”

Held by Natalie Grant

Contributed by: Deana

As a part of the SBD News Team

 

The song Held by Natalie Grant is such a powerful song. I don’t know the intended meaning behind this song but this is what it means to me. Natalie is singing about the loss of a baby at 2 months old. She speaks about being held by a higher power, perhaps God, helping her through the pain and grief. She sings of the pain of losing something or someone so sacred and important to her. The grief process is not instant. It takes a lot of time. For her, it’s a nightmare that a baby would die. She doesn’t know why it would happen to someone, it’s unfair. There is a promise that you’ll be loved by those around you. Family, friends, God or another higher power are there to guide you and support you through the tough times. Slowly with time, you see tomorrow. Hope is here. You are held, and loved. Hope comes through the suffering of losing a baby, at any trimester. This song has been the song I listen to during tough times. It always calms me down and brings me back to God, and remember I am strong and can get through anything. We at Stillbirthday are here for you. We’ll hold you and support you in any way that we can.

 

 What does the song Held mean to you?

Deana is a thanatology student at King’s University College, in London, Canada. She would like to work with families who have experienced prenatal, infant loss and pregnancy in any trimester. Starting in January 2014, she will begin her Stillbirthday Doula training.

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