Welcome to my new professional website and my opening blog!
It's been almost 35 years since I began this mission of shifting the paradigm of care from dismissing babies who died as unimportant, whisking them away from their parents often before they could be seen, ignoring this kind of loss, and pushing mothers and couples to 'move on' by forgetting. I call this the 'Dark Ages.'
Why do I continue to share my time and energy with families who have losses - all kinds of losses including blighted ovum, infertility, early or later miscarriages, stillbirth, neonatal losses, SIDS and beyond? Because I believe each of these may (and often do) represent the loss of a LOVED CHILD. Too many parents do not receive the support, recognition, and validation that when their child dies; they have deep needs to be RESPECTED and TREATED as the parents of these children. Their families and care providers deserve to be taught, trained and educated well so they can gain in comfort and confidence as to how to both be supportive and deal with their own feelings of loss.
I have been working and living this heartfelt mission for decades for many reasons I will eventually share with you. I love this mission because I have been there - on the parent side, the family member side and the care giver side. I can say 'we' in each of these instances and can speak from the heart and head. I love being a representative for those who been thrust on this journey practically drowning in the trenches, because I KNOW how it feels and have learned personally and through thousands of interactions with others, the breadth and depth of despair, anguish, growth, and healing that often comes (but in no specific order and definitely not in 'stages') when one's child dies or is never born.
Over the years, I have learned so much from so many. In turn, I share and pass on the knowledge and guidance of how to enhance the care for families. And how to work with and support the care givers and family members. It has been a long, rocky path of high mountain and deep valley moments. It is my commitment and desire to share all that I can to help parents feel loved and understood, to honor their little ones gone too soon, and to inspire family and care givers to go the extra mile and offer a 'gold standard' of care to each person who experiences such loss. There-are-no-DO-OVERS! as my friend and colleague Suzanne H. always says. Parents get one chance and we all need to collaborate and work hard to make sure the regrets are minimized and the memories are maximized. Period. No exceptions.
It is my commitment with this website, this blog, all my trainings and interactions with bereaved families...to share honestly, teach intentionally, touch compassionately and encourage convincingly.
I seek to explain the 'why' behind care strategies and decisions since attitudes are more important than lists of 'policies and protocol'. They are the foundation for the care policies and procedures and from them conversations and guidance will come more naturally.
One of my philosophies probably shines through in what I do...Never give up, never give in. I am a strong advocate and fighter who works hard to invite parents, families and professionals to 'consider' and to be 'fully informed' even when words are hard to say. This is in contrast to 'pushing' or 'protecting' which is not respectful. The needs of parents are always at the fore of this work for me. And I hope for you.
I also love to network and share resources so you can count on that too! Starting now...
www.PLIDA.org - check out the Phoenix conference in Phoenix AZ Sept 28- October 1, 2016. You will meet incredible professionals and parent advocates (including many parents who have created wonderful missions to help families) and learn so much.
www.PLAProgram.com - Anisa has created cards that can be given to the receptionist, doctor, midwife, or nurse at the clinic when mom goes in for her follow-up appointment. The I AM A BEREAVED PARENT card gives immediate, practical tips staff can use to give excellent care during a traumatic time (for most).
www.BabyLossFamilyAdvisors.org - Find someone to help you navigate the choppy waters as soon as when you hear the heart breaking news and beyond. The Find an Advisor page has a list of people across the country who can help via email, phone, text and/or in person when possible. It is also a place for those who are ready to give back one-on-one with other mothers/parents to learn and grow. Become certified or just take the two day class to learn how to be more confident while increasing your skill set when caring for bereaved families..
Many blessings and gratitudes...
Sherokee (mom of two incredible living sons and three babies who bless me everyday even in their absence - Marama, Brennan, and Bryna)