Birth Ease

Baby Loss Support

PODCAST  EPISODES

The following are episodes of The Birth Ease Podcast that focus on grief and perinatal loss. There are episodes featuring guided relaxation sessions, interviews with experts in the field of perinatal loss, with parents sharing their journey of losing their child to stillbirth and  pregnancy after loss, ways to support a grieving family, and the alarming disparities black mothers that face. (Black women are twice as likely to experience a miscarriage than other races and are three to four times more likely to suffer from infant mortality, have pregnancy complications, and experience pregnancy related mortality than white women in America.)

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The holiday season can be magical, and at the same time there are the images and expectations of happy family get-togethers and the pressure to keep up with the parties, gift giving, and years of tradition. Michelle has created this special episode for those of us facing the holidays after experiencing a loss. The experience of grief may take the form of the death of a loved one, it may be the loss of a relationship through a break up, divorce or separation, it may be a move that now has you far from family and friends, or a major life transition. The grief may be from the wounding we experienced from past painful holidays. This episode is meant to create a space to simply relax into and honor what is there for you. Michelle shares 7 tips for facing the holidays when grieving or facing the challenges of stressful family dynamics. There will be a meditation at the end of this episode to help create a safe haven in a time of loss, grief and/or transition. 

In this very special episode, Michelle honors of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. With this in mind, Michelle created a guided relaxation recording geared towards parents grieving the loss of a baby or a child. However, it can be helpful for anyone walking through the journey of grief. The intention is to help release some of the heaviness of our grief and to provide an opportunity to feel the love and connection that we have with our beloved child or loved one. If you would like a version of this guided relaxation session geared towards the loss of any loved one, please simply contact us through the contact form. We would be honored to send it to you.   

1 in 4 women have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. Because of the silence around the loss of a child, it can cause the necessary grieving to be a lonely and isolating experience. Even if you, as the listener, were blessed to have never personally experienced perinatal loss, the chances are quite high that you know someone that has. The silence surrounding this type of loss can leave us unsure of how to really support grieving families, which can sometimes lead to well-meaning comments inadvertently cutting a grieving parent to the core. Michelle shares best practices and helpful ways to support families experiencing the devastation that perinatal loss brings.  

Michelle has a beautiful and inspirational conversation with Nydia, mother to Santiago and Mateo. Her insights will benefit anyone traversing the pain of losing a child, a loved one, or some sort of tragedy. During Nydia's eight month of pregnancy, she lost her beloved older sister to cancer. Approximately a month later, Nydia experienced the stillbirth of her son, which almost cost her her own life, as well. Nydia sagely shares what she found instrumental in her ability to move forward from such intense grief.    

Michelle has an open and raw conversation with Matt, who lost his daughter, Rowan, to a stillbirth. Matt candidly shares the journey of baby loss from the father's perspective. He describes how grief, through no fault of your own, can create a sense of being ostracized by those around you. Because of the unique nature of perinatal loss, Matt explains how grieving parents inadvertently often end up comforting those around them. Michelle and Matt discuss how the loss of a child can shake the foundation of your belief system, how you understand the universe, and even your place in the world. Matt also points out that sharing unsolicited religious beliefs in an attempt to comfort someone mourning can often inadvertently have a profound effect on their grief — it can cause anger, sadness, increase their sorrow or compound the burden that they are already carrying.  

Michelle has a beautiful and healing conversation with The Radical Rabbi, Elisheva (Emily) Brenner. Emily shares her own journey of perinatal loss, which she describes as the tsunami of her soul. She retells the sacred wisdom story that helped her create a Divine Reframe and quiet the storm in her own heart. Emily explains the foundational 5 step program she teaches, based on the journey of the Israelites in the desert, which can assist anyone in weathering the most difficult of circumstances. As a divorce lawyer, a psychologist, and a rabbi, Emily shares insights that can help couples to traverse the extreme grief of losing a child and support any other children they may have that are also grieving as well. Michelle and Emily discuss how even in our deepest sorrow, in our deepest pain, we can still find peace. We can still find moments of joy. 

Michelle has a profound conversation with her mentor, Amy Wright Glenn. Amy reflects upon what healing means and focusing on ritual as part of the healing journey.  She suggests that emotional healing does not mean returning to what you were before. We are touched by loss, marked like a scar. Grief changes us irrevocably; we must learn to reconcile the loss. Amy councils to make room for the ‘new me.’ She advises to think through the death choices before you are in emergency mode. When a child is lost, we are not just grieving the death of the person. Amy advises to slow down and be gentle with yourself. Ritual will help to keep their memory alive; both public and private, religious and secular rituals. The most impactful rituals are when it involves the body, physically doing something connects it in several places in the brain. 

We all need a guide to help us stay in a more positive and peaceful space for ourselves and our babies. Dr. Ankita Marjadi’s book, "Knock, Knock, Let's Talk" is just that. This beautiful resource is for all expecting mothers. It is designed to reduce the fear and anxiety a mother may be experiencing during her pregnancy and to enhance bonding with the baby in her womb. It acts as an uplifting guide for mom during each week of her pregnancy and provides a passage to be read to the baby that teaches a virtue such as kindness, happiness and honesty.  It also includes a space for journaling and sharing a mother’s own thoughts and dreams with her baby. In this episode, Dr. Marjadi graciously shares with Michelle how the book was born during her second pregnancy as she searched for a way to lessen the fear and stress that threatened to consume her after losing her first child to a stillbirth. This sweet book, which can be used at any time to receive a dose of motivation and positivity, is the achievement closest to her heart.  

In this very personal episode, Michelle and Susan Dascenzi have a conversation regarding the multitude of losses the pandemic has brought us. They discuss how the strong emotions and overwhelm people are experiencing globally are due to grief. Susan shares what can happen if we push our feelings aside as we work to get back some normalcy. Together they dig deep into the places that we may not even realize that what we are experiencing is grief, where we may be in grief overload, the differences between emotions and feelings, Michelle’s own grief, why we can have a difficult time supporting one another as we mourn, and tips to walk with the grief. . 

Michelle has the privilege to have a conversation with Diana Kelley, the director of Infants Remembered In Silence © (IRIS) a 501(c)3 Nonprofit organization that she founded in 1987, following the full term stillbirth of her son. Together they discuss how the care parents experiencing baby loss receive has become more compassionate throughout the years and the extreme value of having someone to sit with us in our grief and give space for power of silence. Diana shares sage advice for bereaved families, how IRIS's services have grown and evolved over the last 33 years, and IRIS's project to invite cities across the nation to light up buildings, statues, and monuments on October 15th in honor Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day. Thank you cities of St. Cloud and Orlando, Florida for your support! 

Michelle and two student filmmakers, Taylour Marks and Candace Williamson, discuss their debut documentary film, a deeply flawed system, the disparities facing black mothers, and perinatal loss. Black women are twice as likely to experience a miscarriage than other races. African Americans infants are 3.8 times as likely to die from complications related to low birthweight, have 2.3 times the infant mortality rate, and in 2017 had over twice the sudden infant death syndrome mortality rate as non-Hispanic whites. Their film, In Between USis an intimate portrait of black motherhood, a deeply flawed system and the complicated beauty of life. The story was born from the alarming statistic that black women are three to four times more likely to experience pregnancy related mortality than white women in America. If it’s not about money, education, or pre-existing conditions, then why are black mothers and their babies still dying at higher rates?

 

Michelle has a two part conversion with Gary Vogel, LMHC perinatal grief expert and founder of HEAL, a Central Florida support group for bereaved parents. Together discuss how the loss of a child disrupts our perception of the natural order of things, what grief is and isn't, and the 3 tasks of grieving. Gary shares that the trauma associated with the sudden loss of a child qualifies many bereaved parents for the diagnosis of PTSD and a part of their journey of dealing with their loss is working through that PTSD component. Because the enormous impact perinatal loss has on a relationship, the divorce rate after the loss of a child is twice the national average. The experience of losing a child has the capacity to either tear the relationship apart or make it stronger. Gary explains that everyone’s journey through grief is unique to them, and couples can and do grieve differently. Understanding these differences helps prevent miscommunication and misunderstandings that can happen when one partner imposes their grieving style on the other partner.  

Michelle continues her  conversation with Gary Vogel, LMHC perinatal grief expert and founder of HEAL, a Central Florida support group for bereaved parents. Gary shares the beautiful story of The Angel of Hope and how we here in Central Florida acquired our own statue. Together they discuss the vital role of the validation of our grief experience, feelings, and emotions plays; the impacts of the word “should” and the shame it can create; how grief is transformational; and how our US culture no longer has outward signs of bereavement and the value that can bring.    

Michelle has a tender conversation with Heidi Faith, president and CEO of Stillbirthday. Heidi shares her very personal journey that led her to found Stillbirthday Global Network, which is an internationally trusted benevolent organization whose philanthropic mission is simply to doula: to nurture sources of perinatal bereavement, strengthen skills of healthcare professionals and increase healthy engagement of perinatal related needs among communities. Together Heidi and Michelle discuss the depth of the resource that Stillbirthday is for families experiencing baby loss and for professionals alike, suggestions for supporting a bereaved mother,  the ways in which grief is like a tapestry, and a reminder that it is okay to be vulnerable and go slowly when navigating grief.   

Jasmine Katatikarn shares her almost 6 year long fertility journey with Michelle. Together they discuss how difficult and lonely infertility can be for so many, the importance of advocating for yourself, as well as finding someone to talk to or a way to process and release the feelings and emotions such as grief, loss, guilt, and shame that often accompany infertility. Jasmine also explains when she was at the lowest point in her fertility journey, she decided to apply the creative and strategic mindset that she uses in her career as an artist. From this mindset she created The FREEdom Method Fertility Training which assists other women on their fertility journey by helping them to  Find their core values, Reframe their challenge, Explore creative solutions, and Execute their plan. 
 

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