Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Helpful and Hopeful Resources

It feels like I haven't had much to say lately.  It felt like I hadn't posted in forever, but my last post was just on October 1.  that tells you what kind of weird space/time continuum I live in.  Anyway, in that time period that I thought was so long, I thought about shutting this blog down if I wasn't going to write anything.  But, last night, at my support group, I met a woman who had actually found it on her own, and read it, and said it helped her.  Soooo..., if my venting/free therapy can help just one other person, I'll keep going.

I still don't have much to say, but I thought I would share some resources that have helped me.  Please note that I am not endorsing these books, blogs, or websites in any way.  Some that helped early on, don't help me now, for example.  But each, in its own way, has led me to something else that has helped.

Support Groups
I think that support groups are the most valuable thing I've come across.  I currently attend two groups that meet monthly, and would attend weekly if I could.  I find the support groups are helpful in seeing that we're not the only people to go through this, and that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  Our first attendance at a group meeting was just 2-3 weeks after Morgan's death, and at the time, I didn't see how I could ever rejoin the real world.  It was so helpful to meet a woman who'd had a stillbirth in the spring, and in August, she was walking, talking, and smiling.  Not a blubbering mess!

If you're in the Atlanta area:
Caring and Coping - This group is hosted by the Northside Hospital Perinatal Loss Office.  This is more of a free form/say what's on your mind group, but I like it because it's open to the entire (adult) family, so my husband and I can attend together.  The Perinatal Loss Office maintains a website with links to parents' blogs, baby loss memento shops, and other things that may be helpful.

SHARE Atlanta - This is a women's only group, though female members of your support system are welcome.  SHARE has more of a topical format, with each month covering a different aspect of the grieving/ baby loss walk.  The SHARE Facebook page is updated more frequently than the website.  If you'd like to attend, you'll need to email Marcia McGinnis for the address and directions.

**There's also a national baby loss organization called Share.  I'm not sure if they're connected in any way.

Baby Dust: A Novel About Miscarriage and Stillbirth by Deanna Roy 
This book is a fictionalized mash-up of the stories of many women combined into the characters of several women who meet at a pregnancy loss support group.  This book was more about women who experienced a miscarriage, but the emotional journey is still there.

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir by Elizabeth McCracken 
This book is, as the title implies, a memoir.  The author and her husband experienced a post-term stillbirth, and this book covers the experience of losing their first baby, as well as the journey through an emotionally charged second pregnancy.

Baby Bumps: The Almost, Barely, Not-Quite-True Story of Pregnancy, Bed Rest and One Batshit Crazy Family by Amy Sprenger

I read this one, and almost stopped reading it several times.  Again, the title tells you this is fiction. It's not just "names have been changed" fiction.  This one deals specifically with incompetent cervix, and the author actually experienced IC herself.  However, this book made me angry, as the main character, Annie, is the only one I felt was "batshit crazy".  I guess the author wanted to put out a lighter hearted view of what happened to her, but Annie's vanity and selfishness really turned me off.  The bones of this story mirrored our situation (except they got a happy ending; sorry for the spoiler), and I know what I was feeling at the time, and this chick just didn't get it.  I guess this book wasn't very helpful, but I'm just putting it out there.

I haven't read this one yet, but it's on my list, maybe.  This one was recommended to me with the caveat that the language was pretty bad.  Looking at the website/blog, I was initially interested, but didn't want to buy it.  Looking at the site again today, after reading Baby Bumps, I may not want to read it after all. Grief and gross humor just don't do it for me, I guess.  Again, just putting it out there.

Unfortunately, there have not been any medically grounded/self help type books that I've found helpful.    This is mainly because IC is not discussed very much in these types of books.  This means that I get my info straight from the medical journals, which isn't exactly light reading!

Blogs and Websites
After spending months on this site, planning your baby's arrival, you'd think this is the last place you'd turn to for comfort after your baby's death.  However, they have several message boards and groups dedicated to Miscarriage and Stillbirth, 2nd/3rd Trimester Loss, TTC after 2nd/3rd trimester loss, Bereaved Parents, and for me, a Cervical Incompetence group.  What I like most is that unlike other baby sites (ahem, like The Bump) no one is snarky or rude in any of these groups.  Helpful hint: try setting your browser bookmark so that it goes directly to the groups page, so you can avoid all the happy crap on the homepage.

Still Standing Magazine
An online magazine with many many articles written by parents dealing with pregnancy loss, child loss, and infertility.  Not every article hits home, but so many do, even when the situation is not the same.

Northside Perinatal Loss Office
As mentioned above, there site is a great resource to finding other blogs.

Baby Loss Blogs
I'm not listing blogs here specifically because there are so many, and each is helpful in its own way.  I also don't list them because many are inactive.  Once the families have their rainbow babies, they abandon the sad blog and create a new happy blog.  I tend to get addicted to my blogs, and get sad when they end, but I'm glad to see happy endings do happen the next time.

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