306 pages, paperback. For purchase on Amazon & you can request it at your nearest bookstore or library.
Contact us for bulk purchase discounts for prenatal care facilities.
View below for Invisible Pregnancy Mother Retreats!
An Inside Look
Stillbirthday provides real, printable birth plans and gentle, honoring explanations for every kind of birth experience, we have professional doulas in every US state and internationally, listed here to meet you as soon as you discover a possible pregnancy/infant loss, who are trained to come alongside you prior to, during and after the birth of your baby, we have valuable tools for immediate postpartum care, including lactation professionals who can support you when facing lactation after loss, and immediate farewell decisions such as funeral planning.
The book The Invisible Pregnancy picks up after these immediate aspects of your experience have passed. When it feels as if everyone you love has moved on, and you feel alone in the dark, this book is intended to meet you in the darkness. It is filled with 40 gentle challenges that I present as “dares” to help you make sense of the feelings and of the experiences you are faced with. I share some of the obstacles I faced, my interpretation of the rapid changes to my baby’s physical form, and why I believe it is important that grief be nurtured and disciplined.
While the book is affirming and gentle, it is in fact challenging. Grief is labor, and in this book, there are some difficult tasks. This book lets you know that it is important to honor the space after loss. It is important to recognize that you need care. It is important to nurture your grief, through being gentle, giving yourself time, allowing for freedom to explore and identify all that is lost and all the emotions you are left with. It is equally important to discipline your grief, by setting healthy frames around your nurturing, so that you are reminded and encouraged to continue to grow toward healing. Through the support of this book, you see the importance of having sufficient proportions of nurturance and discipline, for your biggest growth and strongest healing.
The Invisible Pregnancy draws from parallels of pregnancy and grief: from identifying and confirming your grief pregnancy, to discovering the gender of your grief, to learning skills in laboring through the contractions of offense that squeeze your spirit and finally, to giving birth to healing, it is written in an affirming way to remind you that you are a mother and that your experiences are valuable.
The book culiminates with forty dares, assuring you that simply rushing through and checking off each activity will not make healing happen. Each “grief pregnancy” is different, just as every mother-child relationship and every pregnancy is different. This journey, this “grief pregnancy” takes time. It takes your care, and your full presence. Sometimes, for some mothers, it will require “interventions”. In the book, I talk about what some of these might be, such as seeking the support of a professional counselor, a wise spiritual leader, or a support group, and how these don’t replace your own “labor”, but serve to help you in continuing to reach forward. This is your journey, your labor, your grief pregnancy.
In his book Oxytocin: The Hormone of Healing and Hope, Dr. Stoller looks at the impact of the synthetic form of oxytocin, named Pitocin, on childbirth and on grief. He and I both agree that utilizing the hormone oxytocin in grief can prevent a need for additional pharmacological support. Sharing his own first hand account of using oxytocin after the death of his son, Dr. Stoller includes in his book how prescribing physicians can contact compounding pharmacies to create a nasal spray or tablets for sublingual use. While I concur with his findings on the benefits of oxytocin both during childbirth and during bereavement, I firmly believe that each mother can harness her own rich well of natural oxytocin first, and perhaps instead of, more synthetic versions of healing aids, including Pitocin. The Invisible Pregnancy offers several activities designed to help establish natural oxytocin.
Finally, in the book I discuss what “giving birth to healing” might be like for you. It is not the end, but rather a beginning. I don’t believe I will ever “ungrieve”. I will always be bereaved, because I will always be a mother. Discovering healing doesn’t end the painful loss; instead, it transforms it.
The Invisible Pregnancy draws from parallels of birth and death: what happens to your baby’s physical form after death? How can this be interpreted in a way that is honest, that is not frightening, that is…….beautiful? Eco-thanatology is an important but difficult concept of parental bereavement and is addressed in this book. Shining light on the inherent spirituality within the physical changes that take place to our baby’s physical form after death leads us back to the wonder of the spirituality of our soul and of the difference between the physical changes after death, and the wonderful, spiritual life after death.
The Invisible Pregnancy is also an invitation to explore the vast spiritual potential there is in grief. I share the importance of releasing your pail to become a well, discovering the importance of gathering morsels and nurturing them, how to grow your Self to the biggest it can be, and why these skills are important as a mother preparing to birth her healing. I drew from concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy, homeopathic support for wellness, some of my most favorite places, resources and information, but most importantly, from the truth that so many stillbirthday families have shared with me, that even in the earliest of weeks, and/or even with the most medical assistance, experiencing what is called a “pregnancy loss” is still in fact, birth.
While I am Christian, this book is not actually intended for a mother of strong Christian faith. It is intended for a mother who perhaps does not align with a particular faith, or who is experiencing a crisis of faith. The Invisible Pregnancy draws from biblical principles, highlighting popular, trendy, “New Age” concepts and bringing them back to their biblical heritage – “self/Self” shines light on the mystery of recognizing the indwelled Holy Spirit.
Toni from One World Birth aligns with these interpretations as she, too, sees the enormous need for birth professionals to have a trusting, sure and gentle way to guide mothers from the transition of being pregnant with child, to becoming “pregnant with grief”.
Because releasing your pail to become a well is such an important concept of The Invisible Pregnancy, if you make any purchase from the Holden Uganda website, I will provide you with a $3 off discount code from your purchase of the book when you email verification of your Holden reciept to firstname.lastname@example.org prior to your purchase of the book.
Here are just a few of the dares I challenge you with:
- creating a family tree for your child
- establishing a love note jar and later a beggars bowl
- making living bread
- progressive muscle relaxation
- having a girlfriends night
- getting a professional hair washing
- making a short movie, which will be added here
Invisible Pregnancy Mother Workshops & Retreats!
Would you like to gather a few mothers together, just for fellowship and spiritual growth, in an absolutely beautiful, scenic location, any time of the year? Learn about stillbirthday workshops, including the very special Invisible Pregnancy Mother Workshops & Retreats, where Heidi Faith creates a workshop based on the book!
I am excited for this book and hope you consider buying it, for yourself or for someone you love. Visit this link to purchase!
Contact us for bulk purchase discounts for prenatal care facilities.
Bonus Material to the Book
Below are additional resources as we expand on some of the dares over time. In this way, you can enjoy a wonderful extension to the book, and to other mothers.
Womandalas: Zeroes Count
- Drawings, paintings or other zero art crafted by stillbirthday mothers are held in our Mothering the Mourning section. The inspiration for this activity came from the swirling activity involved in creating a special family tree for your baby. Learn more about Womandalas.
Love Letters to My Body
- Written words of betrayal, abandonment, rejection, anger, forgiveness, inquisitiveness, curiosity, friendliness and love toward our bodies after experiencing pregnancy and infant loss are woven into our Mothering the Mourning section as well. The inspiration for this activity came from the self-exploration and intentional intimacy with your spouse activities as part of the Invisible Pregnancy.
Invisible Pregnancy Short Films
- Short videos showing inquisitiveness, vulnerability, transparency, authenticity and journeying in the Invisible Pregnancy are added here below. This challenge is from dare 15, which might mirror week 15 of a physical pregnancy, the approximate time some mothers wait before sharing with others that they are pregnant. In that line, these videos might serve as Invisible Pregnancy announcements.