Someone recently mentioned that they wished Sherokee Ilse and I had included a section on "self-esteem" in our recently published book, Couple Communication After A Baby Dies -- Differing Perspectives. While we do touch on the topic periodically throughout the book, we did not devote an entire section to it.

The person who brought this to our attention explained that they had some pretty serious self-esteem issues following their loss because they felt like they had failed. Obviously some women feel their bodies somehow failed their baby and men struggle with wondering why they were not better able to protect their family from devastation. I recall adding another dimension to that when I started to feel like a failure as a husband -- as well as father -- because there didn't seem to be anything I could do that would help Monica "move on".

Once someone starts to feel bad about themselves, it can spiral into showing itself in all sorts of ways, most of which are not healthy. It seems that when we are able to be totally logical, we can understand that we did not intentially do anything to hurt our baby, and there are simply some things in life that we are unable to control. Unfortunately, when we're extremely sad and depressed, logic does not come easily.

I would like to hear your thoughts and experiences with this issue. Nothing is more healing than knowing we're not alone and hearing how others coped.

Father's Day is Coming

After losing a baby, Father's Day can be one of those days that you face with mixed emotions. No matter what your circumstances are or how many living children you might have, it often is a day to stop and wonder what might have been.

For those of you with recent losses, I can tell you that I believe this days does get easier over time. Not because you forget, but because you heal. Healing is obviously the ultimate goal for all of us, because anything short of that robs us of our ability to truly enjoy life and I don't think any of our children would want that for us. The thing to keep in mind, however, is that in order to heal, you must first allow yourselves to hurt. Too many times, men think that by stuffing their pain as deep in the recesses of their mind as they can, they will be able to "skip" the grief and the hurt. I'm here to tell you that it won't work. You may be able to kid yourself for months -- or even years -- but it will almost certainly come back to bite you at some point.

So, keep a couple things in mind.

First of all -- whether you have other living children or not -- you are a dad. Try not to ever deny yourself that honor.

Secondly, consider letting the people around you know what would make this Father's Day special for you. They can't read your mind and you likely are not necessarily coming off on the outside the same way you are feeling on the inside. Some of us have a real gift for that little quality!

Finally, please accept my congratulations on being a dad, and best wishes for making this day meaningful to you. Not only do you deserve it, but your children do as well.