Helpful Things

The items below are listed in (almost) alphabetical order, as to not show preference for any organizations or stories of others. Sharing these links is not necessarily an endorsement of entire blogs or people’s beliefs; it means I found something they said helpful at one point. It is up to you to decide what is or is not helpful in your journey.

Organizations

  • 11 Angels is a group providing support to baby loss families. We did not receive this support, but have a few friends who did and deeply appreciated their help. This organization is connected with Star Legacy Foundation, dedicated to stillbirth research and education.
  • Faith’s Lodge provides retreats and space for grieving parents or parents of critically ill children. Nick and I were able to go three months after Rayna died, and found it to be a very helpful and healing place. We also made new friends with other parents and continue to stay in supportive contact with these wonderful people. Their website also has helpful tips and links for people who know grieving parents.
  • Griefshare is an organization with groups throughout the U.S., including rural areas, for people to walk through various types of grief together. I have not personally attended a Griefshare meeting.
  • Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a beautiful organization providing infant loss families with free professional photos of their children. I have experienced nilmdts both as a chaplain and firsthand as a stillbirth momma. I am so thankful for the beautiful professional photos they provided us of our all too short time with Rayna.

Blogs & Articles

Music
There have been many meaningful songs for me during my grieving process, some so meaningful I am choosing to not share here. These are some that deal more specifically with baby loss and faith during times of trial and loss.

Still Standing Magazine has the largest collection of songs for bereaved parents if you’re looking for more songs.

Books & Other Resources

  • A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis)
    C.S. Lewis writes during the time following his spouse’s death. It is messy, raw, and beautiful. There were many moments in this book when I thought, “Yes, that is exactly the feeling!”
  • Empty Arms: Hope and support for those who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or tubal pregnancy (Pam Vredevelt)
    This book is written from a Christian perspective by a woman who experienced baby loss in the fifth month of pregnancy. If you are a person of faith, you might find this book helpful, though I recommend not reading it for at least a few weeks after your loss. Remember when reading this or any book that a chapter, paragraph or sentence may not be helpful to you (parts of this book were not helpful to me)… just ignore those parts. Take from the resources what is helpful and forget the rest.
  • Grieving the Loss of Someone You Love: Daily meditations to help you through the grieving process (Raymond R. Mitsch, Lynn Brookside)
    This is a 70 day guide through grief given to us by a family friend who experienced the death of her husband a few years ago. This resource is written from a Christian perspective, each day offering a very brief reflection. Author Lynn is also a baby loss mom.
  • Healing Your Grieving Heart After Stillbirth: 100 Practical Ideas for Parents and Families (Alan D. Wolfelt and Raelynn Maloney)
    I came across the title of this book on another website, and we are nowhere near through the book, but I really appreciate the daily carpe diem, a prompt for reflection, conversation and/or action for each of the 100 days.
    They also have versions of this book for miscarriage; death of a spouse, parent, sibling, friend; for teens or children; trauma deaths; cancer diagnoses; deaths during the holidays… Great resource!
  • If I Could Mend Your Heart… (Mary I. Farr)
    This is a coffee table style book applicable to any loss. A friend gave it to me, and I find it very encouraging. It also has good reminders to not push myself and to be okay where I am at in the moment.
  • I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy (Angie Smith)
    I loved this book so much I had to pace myself and only allowed myself to read one chapter a day. The author is a mother who learned at 18 weeks pregnant that her baby would not likely live after her birth. She writes with such honesty and beauty, and I resonated deeply with much of her perspective. I think anyone touched by infant loss would appreciate this book.
  • Tear Soup: A Recipe for Healing After Loss (Pat Schwiebert & Chuck DeKlyen)
    We read this at a support group, and it is a great book for both children and adults. It is beautifully illustrated and creatively shares how every person grieves loss in their unique way.
  • This Little While: For parents experiencing the death of a very small infant (Joy and Dr. S.M. Johnson)
    This small booklet was also provided to us by the hospital. Again, helpful in its brevity, though I would have appreciated further exploration on some topics. I read it three weeks after Rayna’s death, and appreciated its focus on grief. It also had a few good pages for dads.
  • When Hello Means Goodbye: A guide for parents whose child dies before birth, at birth or shortly after birth (Pat Schwiebert, RN, and Paul Kirk, MD)
    This is a small booklet given to us at the hospital. It is helpful in its brevity, covering topics from physical symptoms a mom might experience, tips for dads, and even if your child qualifies as a dependent for tax purposes. There are stories from other baby loss parents and some poetry sprinkled throughout. I read this after we returned home, but parts of it may be helpful to read while still in the hospital (or maybe to have a family member or friend read while you are in the hospital, so they can help answer your questions).
  • When Your Baby Dies: Through miscarriage or stillbirth (Luis A. Gamino and Ann Taylor Cooney)
    This book was given to us by a family friend, and is another little book about baby loss. The book is written from a Christian perspective, and includes some neat prayers, a chapter for fathers, and a chapter for grandparents and siblings.
  • The Year of Magical Thinking (Joan Didion)
    I came across the title of this book on another blog, and I loved it so much I recommended it for my book club. I plan on re-reading it once in awhile, and I almost never do that with books. Joan Didion writes of the year following her husband’s death while also navigating her daughter’s serious illness.
  • You Are the Mother of All Mothers: A Message of Hope for the Grieving Heart (Angela Miller)
    This is a short and wonderful coffee table style book I received during our stay at Faith’s Lodge. It is written by a loss mom, and I find it helpful and encouraging to pick up during my tough moments or days.

8 thoughts on “Helpful Things

  1. I found your blog through a mutual friend with whom I went to seminary. I spent the morning reading it., and in the midst of this colossal loss of yours, the Holy Spirit has merciful convicted and spoken to my heart. The way your faith is demonstrated through your pain is one of the most powerful testimonies I’ve heard of… I am not sure if knowing that He is ministering to others through your loss comforts you or not. In a way, I want to pick my words carefully because it feels selfish to receive help for my own life through reading a testimony of someone else’s pain. I honestly cannot imagine standing strong while going through what you have experienced. I have been defeated by much less… Thank you for sharing your loss for the glory of God. I am so tremendously sorry for this new normal for your family. I pray for comfort for your heart, peace for your heart, and for so much beauty to rise from these ashes that you are helped through each day…..

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    1. Thank you, Megin. It is certainly a journey my spouse and I are still on, and I will likely post more specifically about our faith in future posts, but we do appreciate the ways Rayna’s story has and does impact the lives of those who encounter her.

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  2. The books and CD you gave me after my miscarriage really helped me! I’m so glad we got to meet! I think and pray for you guys often! God Bless!

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