How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss

How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss Jacksonville Florida

1 in 4 Women Will Experience Infant & Pregnancy Loss

At some point in life you’ll find yourself wondering how to support someone you care about whose grieving an infant or pregnancy loss. Perhaps it’s you who’s lost a baby and you’re wondering; what sorts of feelings are normal, and what you should share and expect from others during this time. What happens when someone you know is pregnant and they lose their baby, be it 2 weeks or 30 weeks gestation? Losing one of the greatest gifts anyone can be blessed with hurts. Parents will grieve and they’ll need support whether they say so or not.

Life moves on. Meanwhile their life seems to stands still.

October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month.

First Coast Doulas supports families as they bring their babies home and many who never get that chance. We receive more messages and phone calls than you could imagine. People reach out for support and to talk about their loss. We talk with them about what they’re experiencing and about being as comfortable as possible through this difficult time. We also discuss what they might expect next and how their loved ones can support them best.

It’s crystal clear that more people want to know how to support those they care about during pregnancy loss, they just aren’t always sure how.

First, you must understand that supporting others through a loss can pull at your heart strings and may feel awkward.

Imagine how hard it must be for them, they’ve lost their baby. We can do hard things. It will feel terrible and may feel awkward, show your support anyway. Don’t avoid the parents, embrace them. Be prepared to support them in a way that is best for them, not always what you might want. Each loss is different, unique, and tragic. Each baby is special.

Be present for them, even in silence.

Words aren’t always necessary. A silent supporter lets the parents talk, cry, or share any range of feelings they’re experiencing without interjecting their own perception or thoughts. You might make her a glass of warm tea and just be there by her side and acknowledge how much it sucks. There is no need to try and cheer her or fix her. Perhaps you stop by and lend a hand to the partner who is out doing some yard work, little to no words are necessary in this arena. Drop a card in the mail and include a gift card for dinner.

How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss Jax FL | Newborn Jax FL

Talk about their baby, use their baby’s name.

It doesn’t matter how pregnant she was. This little one means everything to its parents. Ask them if they’ve given their baby a name, even if they didn’t know the sex of their baby a name is beautiful way to honor and remember them. When our grandmothers pass away we talk about them and we use their names. We keep their name and spirit alive that way. You can do the same and the parents may appreciate that someone else remembers their baby too!

Do not expect them to celebrate your pregnancy or birth.

Even if this is your best friend, do not expect anything from her during this time. If she does attend your baby shower or comes by after your baby is born to congratulate you, please acknowledge that you know this is difficult for her and that you love her and appreciate her for sharing in your joy.

Never put a timeline on someone else’s pain.

Everyone grieves in their own time. There are stages of grief and people don’t always move through them on the same timeline, some move forward while others move backward and forward. Please do not impose your own ideas on when someone should be “over it”, parents are never over it. They just learn to cope and deal better as time passes, but the place they prepared in their hearts for their baby or babies will always exist.

Tears are more than okay.

In fact, it may be very helpful for her to know that her baby was important and matters to more than just her. Even if you aren’t familiar with the grief of losing a child yourself, knowing you are grieving for her loss because you care so much for her is touching and it just feels good to be loved. Human kindness and compassion goes a long way.

Help out in whatever way you can, but be understanding if they say no.

Bring food, or go grocery shopping. Prepare some food for the family. You might offer to walk her dog or help by tidying up a little. Doing some laundry, taking kids to practice or to and from school help lighten the load. Another mom shares that her co-worker remembered her favorite dessert and she dropped it by with some coffee.

Don’t question or judge her choices. Trying to conceive, waiting to try, and timing are all very, very personal, especially after pregnancy loss. She will share when she is ready.

Allow her to grieve in any way she may need to and time to talk about her loss when she is ready.

Be kind with your words to all, you never know what others are going through.

Don’t forget to acknowledge the person’s partner/spouse.

Don’t dismiss someone’s loss because the pregnancy wasn’t planned or because they have other children.

When you are wondering how to show support through pregnancy loss, please avoid anything that starts or includes:

  • Well, at least…
  • Look at it this way…
  • Maybe this pregnancy wasn’t meant to be…
  • God has other plans…

Replace those with:

  • I’m sorry, that sucks…
  • I can see how much you’re hurting…
  • I’ll never understand why babies are taken away…
  • Your hopes and dreams for your baby were crushed, understandably you are disappointed…

We hope this blog is helpful to you and to those you share it with. In the words of Dr. Seuss, “A person is a person, no matter how small!”

Authored by: Elizabeth Luke

Owner and Doula at First Coast Doulas, LLC

Baby Jax FL | How to Show Support Through Pregnancy Loss

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

An Alligator, Gorilla, and A Coward Walked Into A Bar

While the tragic events that have happened recently are no joke, the way many are responding is. What kind of people judge others on their parenting skills and for the love they have for another human being? Since when has judgement trumped love and compassion? What good can come from throwing stones, name calling, and finger pointing?

We have no right to judge. Have we forgotten that we are not perfect, that we make mistakes, every damn one of us? You are an imperfect person, we are all imperfect people!

What nightmare are we living here?

We are humans, but we’ve become apex predators, more violent than any wild animal. This is our reality and it’s not good at all. The animals are being animals. The children free-spirited, fearless, and learning through play. Our children play, explore, and are curious!

Most people love their children, even those facing drug addiction and debilitating mental disorders. Majority of the time they do not want harm to come to their children.

We have a responsibility to our children. Physical, emotional, and intellectual well-being. Sometimes that is holding their hand every step of the way and other times it means letting go and being there, close by when they ask or need for our help. Have you survived teen years yet?!

We have marriages, mortgage payments, other children, jobs, sick or dying loved ones, and ourselves to care for too!

Meanwhile we parent with life in motion, while juggling work, while balancing life!

You take a quick phone call quick while they play in the tub.

You engage in conversation about the big game last night with another father at the park while you kids disappear from your direct line of sight for a few chaotic minutes.

You let your baby keep that blankie with them as they finally fall asleep on their tummy after hours and hours of crying with no sleep. You dare not risk waking him.

You allow an older, more responsible sibling to take your youngest to the potty who can’t hold it at a restaurant while you deal with your infant who just projectile vomited in the car seat.

You allow your child to run around with a lollipop so they will stop screaming so you can have five damn minutes to gather your thoughts after getting the news your mother has cancer.

You come out of the bathroom to find your toddler has learned operate the child locks and has bleach in her hand or how to get out on the back patio near the pool which he could easily have fell into.

These are situations where accidents could have happened, and they have happened.

Most of us have had a baby fall from a bed. Could we have done more? Maybe! Are kids going to be kids? Yes! Are parents going to make mistakes? Oh hell yes we do, don’t insert “but” here. No buts! Accidents do happen!

Your child could have been these children, you could have been those parents, we all could have been. So please, stop! Stop the judgement and hate, choose love!

Humans have become more predatorily than wild animals. More deaths occur in our country every year than all accidental deaths by animals combine.

So an alligator, gorilla, and a coward walked into a bar and all hell broke loose. This animal disguised as a person took the hate and anger he had for himself and projected it onto others. He killed so many for no reason other than hate. What he did was heartless and senseless, but prepare to see more of this hate if we do not decide to change.

It starts with you, it starts with me. It starts with stopping!

We are all mirrors! What we say, do, and project onto others is a direct reflection of how we feel about ourselves. Are your words kind and compassionate or full of hate and judgement?

I know you’ve heard these: sometimes less is more, those who live in glasses houses shouldn’t throw stones, and two wrongs don’t make a right. We are responsible for our actions, our words, and our thoughts. Perhaps we judge less and love more!

Feel, think, process… then respond!

Hate breeds hate. Love changes things! Choose love!

 

Our colleagues at Hampton Roads Doulas also wrote a fantastic blog. Please go over and show them some love too!

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience, Part 2

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

Continued  from Part 1, found here.

 

Sharing More Than Experience Part 2

 

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

By Abby Anonymous

 

This person said her workspace was safe and there were never two placentas in the same space at the same time. I asked! She gave me her word and now her word meant nothing.

She went on to explain that she remembered distinctly putting my placenta inside the dehydrator with the tray that has a giant crack in it. It wasn’t until after delivering our placenta capsules that she removed the “paper” from the trays to begin the “cleaning” process that she noticed the post-it note with the other person’s name on it on the dehydrator with a crack now and vice versa. She asked her son if he touched it and he said he was helping.

So she does believe the placenta capsules were given to the wrong people.

Then, she apologized profusely, tried to reassure me that the other person is someone she knows well and is healthy. She said she would “make right” what happened. She seemed sincere in her tone and responses, but how can you possibly make right this situation?

You can’t!

When I was telling Liz what happened, she stopped me here and pointed out that the terminology and processes being used by the other encapsulator were throwing up red flags. She said, Post-It notes, children playing with knobs, and  just “cleaning” are not ways to keep people safe.

Liz went on to say, “the client should always keep, transport, and store her own placenta and be met in her own home by a professional so a mix up like this one never has the chance to happen.”

Liz is right.

Liz made her view very clear, “I feel strongly that providing this service in anyone’s home other than the woman who delivered the placenta is irresponsible of a business owner. There can be serious legal repercussions for doing this anywhere other than the client’s home.”

Again, I think she’s right.

Liz went on to tell me, “All equipment should be kept in tip-top order. When things wear they should be replaced. With First Coast Doulas that tray with a giant crack would have been swapped out with a brand new one just as soon as it happened. Trays with cracks are not being properly sanitized per OSHA standards. There is a difference between cleaning and sanitizing.”

She is right, yet again.

Back to my real life nightmare.

This encapsulator mixed up my placenta and called me TWO days after I started taking the pills!

I felt incredibly violated in a way I can’t explain. Our home was broken into once and our belongings rummaged through. I still didn’t feel as violated then as I do about this catastrophic mix up.

I  told her I’d taken 12 capsules that possibly contained another person’s placenta and blood. I told her I’m a nurse. I told her I see people with contagious and infectious diseases every day. I asked her if she understood what she had done. She just sat there, quiet on the other end.

I was naive and trusted her too easily. I hung up on her again and the next several hours I spent crying and being upset. What she had done was unacceptable and made me utterly disgusted.

How do I fix this? How could I? There was no way.

When I calmed down I called her back and reached her voice mail. I left a message, but she never returned my call. For the next couple days I tried to just put it out of my mind. Then I told my husband, and he flipped out. He wanted answers as much as I did. He called and left message after message and she refused to return our calls. She wouldn’t answer text messages or emails either.

I decided to talk to my OB about what happened since she recommended her to me. My OB didn’t seem to understand the urgency of the matter or how I felt. She sort of brushed me off and suggested I keep quiet about it.

I felt sick inside, I felt gross, and I was scared.

I trusted her to help me feel better after delivering our baby, but ironically she did the opposite. I have depression that had gotten worse during pregnancy. Depression was the reason I chose to encapsulate.

I was stunned when I returned for my six week follow up visit with my OB and her information was still being handed out to patients in this very popular doctor’s office even after making such a grave mistake with the health of others.

That was the last time I visited the office and I will not be returning, ever.

I contacted an attorney. Since I have nothing in writing from this woman, no receipt for payment, and essentially no proof this happened to me I can’t really do anything about it. The damage has been done and there is not a single thing I can do about it.

I have to have protected sex with my husband and I’m being even more cautious with my children until we know for sure I haven’t contracted anything from this person who I’ve still never met.

I googled and came across the First Coast Doulas website along with others. I contacted three companies, but Liz was the only one who got back in touch with me. I had read a few of their blogs and felt comfortable having a conversation by phone that led to an in person meeting where Liz let me share without judgment.

Liz answered questions for me that no one else was willing to answer.

 

Liz also helped me understand that while there are things people can do to be safer, that this was in no way my own fault. She couldn’t give me definite answers about what took place with my placenta, noone could do that, but she offered insight about what may have happened, and listened to me. I am currently seeing a therapist who is helping work through this and other issues and things are getting better each day.

Liz also openly shared a lot about what her process involves and she seems to be very knowledgeable about the placenta, bloodborne pathogens, and how to work safely.

To my knowledge this person is still making placenta capsules in her home kitchen. There is no record of her “business” ever being registered with the state, and she is still receiving referrals from the OB. She still has not returned my calls or emails.

I wonder if she told the other person about the unacceptable mix up. Her actions tell me that although she told me about the mix up, she still isn’t providing this service safely. According to her website she is still “picking up” placentas.

I never thought I would say this, but if we decide to have another baby and I try to do this again I’d most definitely hire Liz with First Coast Doulas to handle this delicate process for me. She’s taught what I need to know to be safer, has listened without judgement, and it’s easy to see that she is the best at what she does.

Things to be mindful of when selecting someone to encapsulate your placenta:

  • Always ask about their certifications and training. Don’t be afraid to check in with their certifying body to be sure the information they’ve given you is true.
  • Not all trainings are created equally so look into what their standards are.
  • Ask them to describe the process. If they seem to flounder or not explain things clearly there could be issues there.
  • Ask to also see their certification for Bloodborne Pathogen.
  • Lower price doesn’t = best deal. The market is all over the place and confuses consumers. Fees range from $0 to about $350 in our area.
  • While a higher price doesn’t guarantee anything either, a business has to pay taxes, has overhead and supply fees, and the person preforming the job should be compensated well for his/her skills. If a person hasn’t taken the time to factor all of those things into the cost they are not running a business sustainably and could be cutting corners with your safety.
  • Contracts and receipts are important, it tells the customer what to expect, what is expected of them, and shows they have systems in place.

            Last and Most Important:

  • Who takes the placenta and where is it going? Placentas should always stay with the woman who delivered it. It shouldn’t ever be transported in the encapsulator’s vehicle, go to the encapsulator’s home or “workspace”. Workspace generally means the person’s kitchen, around their spouses, curious pets, kids, and foreign germs. How many kitchens would you eat out of without seeing it? Oh and separate workspace tends to me garage or shed.

It was clear after getting to know Liz that she genuinely cares about people, their safety, and her business very much. Thank you Liz for taking the time to care about others, keeping my identity private, and sharing my story.

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience, Part 1

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

We were contacted by a woman, we’ll call her Abby, and she wanted to learn more about our placenta encapsulation process. To be honest her email seemed suspicious. You see, in this business it’s not uncommon to receive emails from weirdos looking to talk about vaginal checks, sex during pregnancy, and such. Well, as it turned out Abby had valid reasons for being cautious, using an alias to protect her identity, and for contacting us.

Without further ado, Abby shares her story.

Placenta Capsules Jacksonville, FL

Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience

By Abby Anonymous

I will apologize now for the book, but there is nothing that can be cut from my story. Every word and every line is relevant and important. I never wanted to share my story

What I wanted was answers. I wanted to go back to the day she picked up my placenta and change my mind. I never asked for this.

Now, after talking with Liz, owner of First Coast Doulas, I know without any question that I need to share my story to tell others so they don’t make the same mistakes that I did. I don’t know if the other person knows what happened or if there are more people this has happened to. Maybe if the right people in the community share this blog they’ll see it.

What I really want is for others to beware when hiring someone for placenta encapsulation.

I have to protect my identity because I work in the medical field and do not want to be questioned by my colleagues. They already pick fun at me for choosing a more natural approach to all things. They ridiculed and mocked me about my decision to “eat my placenta”, now I wished I would have never told them. At the time they were just a little annoying, but as you can imagine if they found out about this I would be mortified.

Sharing my truth with people through this blog seems like the right thing to do because Liz was gracious enough to sit down with me and explain her process, step by step, from providing the clients with everything they need to take the placenta home to protocol for sanitization, and she answered all of my questions that she could answer.

I was 6 days post-birth when I received the call I never in a million years imagined I’d get.

It was the person who I trusted to pick up my placenta and return my placenta capsules to me on the other end of the call. Before she even broke the news to me I could sense regret in her voice. I knew something wasn’t right.

What she said next blew me away, “I am sorry, but I think I may have accidentally given you another mom’s capsules by mistake. I can pick the bottle up and bring you your capsules.”

What she said next I’m not sure, did anything really matter after that noise?

I hung up the phone in her face. I got sick. I literally became sick to my stomach and vomited not once, but twice.

I called her back and asked her how the hell it happened, who the other person was, and asked if she had spoken with the other person yet? I wanted to talk to her.

I was terrified and rightfully so.

The risks of taking someone else’s placenta capsules means you risk getting any contagious diseases the other person may have. You also risk your body having adverse effects to the other person’s placenta since its complete make up is unique to the person who grew it and delivered it.

The things I thought that day and in the days since: What about my baby, what if I contracted something awful can I pass it to her through breastmilk? I have to tell my husband and we will have to have protected sex until I know for sure I am safe. Why me? How could I of avoided this?

She said she believes her young son might have switched around the Post-it notes she labels the dehydrators with.

Post-It Notes?

What kind of shit show is she running exactly?

She continued, saying she has never had an issue with her son touching the dehydrators until recently and went on to say he has become a bit obsessed with playing with the dials and labels recently.

So this could have happened before and would likely happen again if she didn’t stop. Who knew what else could have happened. Why was the dehydrator around her son?

To be continued…

Read about what happened next in Placenta Capsules: Sharing More Than Experience, Part 2

 

Our Fur Baby Died, If I Had a Doula that Day

Our Fur Baby Died, If I Had a Doula that Day

Our Fur Baby Died, If I Had a Doula that Day

Over the years I knew that the day would come we would have to say goodbye to our sweet baby. I knew that his average lifespan was only 10-12 years, but the heart never really prepares for such loss.

It was a long week, one of the longest yet shortest weeks of my life.

He had been sick and the medicines were not helping him improve. His quality of life was poor and it was no way to live. He was our fur baby and he was committed to our family. He was a chocolate Labrador retriever, his name was Bud.

I know many of you are animals lovers and can relate to the love I had for my fur baby! At times he aggravated me, but he filled a space in my heart that will always belong to him. He just knew me and understood me like no human could! He never licked my toes, he moved before my feet touched the floor in the morning and before I could ever raise my voice he would get up and exit the room, somehow he just knew. 

Our fur babies look at us with eyes so innocent and loving that they really our our babies, just like our kids.

He comforted me when my mother died. He made sure no one ever got through our gate without notifying me first. As I labored alone at home for hours with our last child he was my faithful companion. I did hip circles on my birth ball and he lay in front of me, breathing in the other direction as not to aggravate me. He played happily with our children and his tennis ball was all he ever asked for. He was the first to greet me, and the last to want anything other than love from me.

Our fur baby died, if I had a doula that day she would have validated my feelings and reasons for choosing to euthanize him in a more peaceful way. He had congestive heart failure, he wasn’t going to improve. He was old, he lived a great life! It was a Friday, my daughter and I were alone at home Bud. Our boys were in school and my husband at work. If I didn’t take him in he would have suffered a long weekend.

I couldn’t be selfish, but if I only had a doula she could have helped me talk through this.

Our fur baby died, if I had a doula that day she would’ve been in the know. She would’ve provided me with information support and called the vets in town and who offers the best end of life care for pets. She would have taken some final pictures of me, my daughter, and our fur baby. She would have helped me take him for a last swim! She would have reminded me it was o.k to slow down and take my time if I wanted to.

My doula would’ve sat with our five year old daughter in the other room while I held our other baby as he left this world. She would’ve helped our daughter see that just as birth is normal, death is also normal and can supported and cherished.

If I had a doula she would have held my hand as my daughter and I walked through the store to select flowers to decorate his grave. She could’ve phoned my husband to let him know what was going on, he tried hard to make it home, but couldn’t.

She would have handed me tissues and helped my daughter interacted with the cashier instead of me. The stares I received walking through the store were almost too unbearable for me. I rarely cry and when I do it’s not in front of others, but our daughter wanted greatly to select flowers for our fur baby’s grave.

She could have held me as I sobbed uncontrollably after burying him. It would have been nice to have someone bring me a glass of water on that hot day, and reminded me that it was going to be o.k.

I’m also 100% positive that if I wanted educational support she would have led me to unbiased resources and if I didn’t want those she wouldn’t force those upon me. Some people just don’t want the education or research sometimes.

Could I have done this without her? Sure, because I did it without her. But, the day our baby died, if I had a doula not only would I have felt completely supported and loved, but my family would have too!

What Do Miss Universe Pageants and Birth Have In Common

What Do Miss Universe Pageants and Birth Have In Common Sometimes?

I want to preface this by saying that First Coast Doulas respects and supports all types of birthing experiences from elected cesarean births to un-medicated home births and everything in between! This blog is written for those who had their hearts set on a (fill in the blank) birth and ended with something other than their heart’s desire.

What Do Miss Universe Pageants and Birth Have In Common

Being center stage waiting for the title of Miss Universe to be announced has to be nerve racking. Your competition has been narrowed way down; you are a finalist! Competition to your left, competition to your right, when it happens…

Steve Harvey announces you’re the winner!!

Then, as fast as you received the crown, it’s taken away in a blink. The wrong winner was crowned! You were Miss Universe for a moment in time.

What do you do?

What any winner does! You hold you head high, smile, and think to yourself, “What in the exact hell just happened?” You were announced the winner of the pageant and then crash, the crown was gone. The crowd stopped cheering; your heart sunk into your stomach. You’ve never felt anything quite like it.

Now, imagine your perfect birth is unfolding just as you planned. It’s really happening you think to yourself! Your partner and birth team are there to support you and keep you and your baby safe.

Sometimes though, things don’t always go as planned. Birth is one of those times. You really just never know!

Everything can change very quickly and you could find yourself thinking, “What in the hell is happening? This isn’t the way it’s supposed to be.” First Coast Doulas is there to help you get answers, know your options, and navigate the changes that are taking place .

Before you know it, you’re left with all of these feelings inside. Feelings you aren’t sure what to do with. You have pain, a beautiful new baby, a partner who just doesn’t understand.

You have people telling you, “No one gets an award for a (fill in the blank) birth. You did the best you could” and, “At least you have a healthy baby.”

What do Miss Universe pageants and birth have in common?

Sometimes we do everything right-we’re set, all is going perfectly. We’re in the home stretch and shit gets real, real quick! Your crown is snatched right off your head and you’re hurt, you’re angry, and sometimes you don’t even know what you feel.

You wonder, “what happens now?”

You are left to piece it all together, all while being a new mother. You have this precious little life depending on you and perhaps more children at home.

Your crown isn’t taken away by not having a (fill in the blank) birth. It’s taken when your choices are taken from you and when people feel like it’s not necessary to allow you to process the vast change that has taken place.

First Coast Doulas allows you that space to be angry, to process without judgement or guilt.

First Coast Doulas understands these feelings and emotions. We know that although you may have this beautiful healthy baby in your arms, you may feel lost or loss. We are here to help you process your birth experience. For better or worse. We listen with open ears and a loving heart who knows your feelings are valid and real.

We’re here when you bring home the crown and when it’s snatched right off your head.

The postpartum support we provide families is a huge part of recovery for the mother and helps the entire family unit bond. Our postpartum support relieves tension that can arise when no one else is understanding what you are going through.

Let First Coast Doulas help you recover your crown!

 

FC Doulas Postpartum Support;

While we can’t diagnose or treat, (we are not medical professionals), we are trained to identify signs of postpartum blues, postpartum anxiety, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis by:

Listening/Processing Birth Experience

Assistance with Breast or Bottle Feeding

Connecting You with Resources As Needed

Assistance with Mobility

Mother-Baby Bonding

Help with Pain Management/Relief

Meal Prep/Cooking

Easy Snack Prep for Mom

Light Housekeeping

Sibling Care

 

 

Steve Harvey Announces The WRONG Winner of Miss Universe 2015

Never Say These 10 Things to A Mom

Never Say These 10 Things to A Mom

never say these 10 things to a mom jacksonville doula

It happens more times than you might realize, a woman’s feelings are invalidated by other people. When a new mom comes away from her miscarriage, stillbirth, live birth, postpartum, or breastfeeding experience feeling sad, disappointed, hurt, or upset, her feelings are anything but satisfying to her.

Regardless of how she feels her feelings are hers!

This blog is not to point to fingers, or place blame, but rather to raise awareness.

Every one of us is likely guilty of invalidating another person’s feelings, unknowingly or otherwise. I know that before I started my journey in birth work I said something to discredit the way another woman felt about her own experience without even realizing I did it. Luckily she was my dear friend and she was able to communicate that what I said made her feel worse. It helped me reevaluate my words.

How many other times had I done this? 

I am sure that like me, most of you are well meaning individuals. Maybe you, like me experienced a moment of awkward silence and in effort to try and make someone feel better you invalidated their feelings because you didn’t know what else to say, it happens.

It’s time we understand that the awkward silence is o.k. That noone feels more about an experience than the person who experienced it.

I compiled a list of the top 1o most invalidating statements. How many have you said, heard someone say, or never even gave a second thought to?

never say these 10 things to a mom jacksonville doula

Never Say These 10 Things to A Mom:

  1. “All that matters is a healthy baby.”

No, that is not all that matters, knock it off! In the big scheme of things of course a healthy baby are what a mom would say is the pinnacle of importance, but a healthy mom; mind, body, and spirit is very important.

  1. “Well when I ____________”

Stop right there! Yes, your experience is important, but this is about her right now, not you, not me, not anyone else. Her experience is unique no matter how similar anyone else’s is. Telling her about yours when she has opened up about her own can be helpful, but can also take what ownership she had over the experience away. Tread lightly.

  1. “There’s no award for having a baby natural birth!”

Wait just a damn minute! Her goal of having an un-medicated birth is something she set for herself, something of great importance to her; otherwise she wouldn’t have set that goal. Her award is achieving the goals she set for reasons she felt the goal was important. By telling her there is no award you are saying the reasons she set the goal are not important.

  1. If anything you says begins with, “you should or shouldn’t” or “at least”, then you are invalidating her feelings and being unsupportive.

Examples: “at least you had a vaginal birth”, “at least you know what it’s like to be pregnant”, “you can always try again”, “at least you knew adoption was the best choice”, “you shouldn’t worry about that”, ” you have other kids that need you”, “you should be grateful you got your homebirth”.

  1. “Why did you give up on breastfeeding?”

Give up? Are you serious right now? The choice to breastfeed or not is very personal. Some women choose to breastfeed for a week, some for a year, and some for 6 years. Just because she doesn’t breastfeed as long as she set out to originally, or doesn’t breastfeed as long as you think she should doesn’t mean that she gave up. Perhaps there were medical reasons, perhaps there were personal ones, perhaps she changed her mind, and it’s ok. and doesn’t mean gave up! Unless she says she gave up, then she did not give up, she shifted gears!

  1. “So, when you going to have another one?”

Seemingly harmless right?! Tell that to the couple who has been trying to conceive and struggling? Is it really anyone else’s business?

  1. “You have no idea what it’s like.”

No, for you she doesn’t. She knows exactly what it’s like for her though and telling someone they have no idea what it’s like is a bit condescending.

  1. “Sometimes things happen in labor that we don’t like, it is what it is.”

Sometimes things happen that we don’t like. Well, of course, that’s a given, that’s life, that she knows, and she doesn’t need to hear that from anyone. What she experienced could have been very traumatic for her, by her definition, not anyone else’s.

  1. “Some babies don’t want to be born vaginally”

Really? How would you know if her baby wanted to be born vaginal or by cesarean? If it were that simple she would know and plan accordingly wouldn’t she?

  1. “There’s always next time”

No, there will never be a next time. Not for this baby, this birth, this moment, or experience. Never again, this is it. There may be more times, but never this time again. Please try and understand this, honor this, at very least respect it.

In the words of my Doula partner, Heather Horrell, perhaps this might be a better way to respond to a person experiencing grief, “I’m sorry your birth/postpartum didn’t go/isn’t going as planned. I know how important that is to you. What are some parts that you feel were/are good? What are some that are bad and you’d like to process? I’m here to listen and help”.

So whether or not she gave birth vaginally, by cesarean, at home or in the hospital her feelings about her experience matter.

Whether she breastfed for a week, a month, a year or never, her feelings about it matter!

If her baby was carried to full term, born prematurely, miscarried before anyone knew she existed, or adopted, her feelings matter, they are important and are valid.

Nothing we say should be anything less than supportive. Sometimes all a mom needs is someone to just listen in silence. Sometimes all she needs is someone to just hold her and say I’m sorry. Sometimes she needs someone to say what you are feeling sucks, but it’s o.k. to feel that way, your feelings are valid!