Thanks for visiting my new blog. My hope is that we can use this space to talk about some of the issues that fathers face following a pregnancy loss or the death of a baby.
My wife and I experienced a full-term stillbirth 25 years ago, and it was an event that changed my life forever. At the time, I could not fathom how anything positive could come as a result of the pain I was experiencing. But over time I was better able to be open to discovering the gifts my daughter's short life brought me. Eventually I discovered ways that worked for me to express my grief, and by doing that, I learned much about myself, my relationships, and what was important to me.
My "therapy" happened to be writing. I guess that makes sense since I was a journalism minor in college and had been a writer and editor for both my high school and college newspapers. As a matter of fact, at the time of Kathleen's death, I co-owned a small publishing company in St. Paul, Minnesota, and we were the publishers of a community newspaper. Because infant loss was rarely discussed openly in the 1980s, I decided to write a feature article for our newspaper about the experience of being a young father whose baby died before birth. That article became the seed for future pieces that I would write on this topic.
Over the years I have written a couple of help booklets for dads and recently completed a book with Sherokee Ilse, author of Empty Arms and Miscarriage A Shattered Dream, on the topic of couple communication following the death of a baby. I have also spoken at both national and international bereavement conferences -- learning far more from the fathers I've talked to on those occasions than I ever taught them.
So.... that really is the purpose of this blog. To continue to learn and discover by getting to know more dads and sharing our varied experiences, triumphs and tragedies. Each time I develop a friendship with someone as a result of my work on this issue, I thank Kathleen one more time for making my life richer and more fulfilling. As a parent, I don't think there is anything more we could ask of our children.
I look forward to hearing from you!
tim i am glad to spread the word.ReplyDelete
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Welcome Tim, very much looking forward to following your blog.ReplyDelete
Hi... thanks. I just got back in to town, so I'm sorry I have been slow in responding. I was at a a national chaplains conference in Orlando and tried to spread the word about the blog. It will be interesting to see if it catches on or not.ReplyDelete
I hope you will feel free to share, ask questions, and help get the discussion going. In the meantime, welcome, and thanks so much for writing.
The conference I just attended was fantastic in every way, and I met so many wonderful people. I was exhibiting some of the resources we offer through A Place To Remember, so was standing for many hours at our booth in the exhibit hall. One thing that struck me was that even in a group of professionals as wonderful as these chaplains were, I actually had at least three people walk by and either shudder and say, "I'm not going to talk to you," or say to the person they were with, "don't look there, that's way too sad." The other person didn't really say anything, she simply shook her head at me as if saying, "how dare you."ReplyDelete
Obviously no one ever likes to hear that a child has died, no matter what the age, but I find it sad that even people who have been trained to offer spiritual support found the topic so alarming, they were almost offended anyone would write about such a thing, much less show what's available at a meeting like that.
Unfortunately, the underlying message can be that as parents, we aren't supposed to talk about our sadness, because it makes people uncomfortable -- even professionals.
What have your experiences been? I hope you will share what professionals did that you found helpful as well as what you found hurtful. Even if only a few caregivers can learn from what you have to say, then we will have accomplished something. Thanks!
My baby boy Clarence was stillborn on August 01, 2008. I would have to say losing a child is one of the lonliest things I have had to live through so far. Pretty much no one wants to talk about it, this includes family members, friends.... pretty much anyone. There are of course family members and friends who say that you can talk to them.... but you can see it in their faces that they don't really want to talk about it. Over this last eight months I have found the support I needed from " A Place To Remember" it is a great forum. And basically complete strangers were the most helpful and supportive. It is weird how losing a child can seperate you from friends and family, while joining you with strangers who are living the same horrible thing. My best advice is to let it all out (one way or another). Tim, your blog is wonderful! I only wish I could get my husband to join, because I know he is keeping so much inside of him. Thank you so much, Dad's need a place also.
Thank you for taking the time to write. What you say is so true -- when we go through something like this, we find out that the people we assume would be there for us may have a hard time, while those we didn't expect much from or didn't even know, reach out and touch us in ways we never dreamed possible. Just remember that often the people who let us down are doing so because they care SO much, but simply feel inadequate and helpless, and consequently retreat because of their own insecurity rather than because they don't care or somehow feel we aren't justified in our feelings.
Very few of us have been conditioned over our lives to deal with grief in the most helpful way... whether it be our own grief or in trying to help someone else. That is part of the discussion I would like to get going on this blog and pass on some of the things I learned when being trained by the Grief Recovery Institute.
Please let your husband know that I would very much appreciate his input and comments on this blog. It can be totally anonymous, but I have no doubt that some of the things he's dealing with would be very helpful to other dads if he were able to share some of his thoughts. It's so much easier to deal with this sadness when we are supported by our peers than when fac3 it alone. Thanks again.
Well I guess I get admitted to this exclusive club that no one would ever want to join! Father's who have lost a baby. Thanks for doing this - look to follow it closely going forward.ReplyDelete
I am blogging too - Father's perspective of stillbirth, infertility and faith - what a coctail that is!
You're right, this is one club I'm very hesitant to say "Welcome" to. But, that being said, I am glad you made the connection and I certainly hope you find it helpful. I'm just on here for a second right now, but do feel free to post a link to your blog. The more places dads have to express themselves and share, the better off we'll all be.ReplyDelete
I look forward to your contributions and hearing more about how you are doing. Take care and thanks again for writing.
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