Two new friends – building a virtual community post-stillbirth

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Background

Over the past few weeks, I have been doing more and more research into podcasts, blogs, and websites, looking for others who had experienced a similar loss. I was hoping to find others to build community, to discover different angles or additional insights.

Initially, I had no intentions of diving into the black hole of the internet to seek out community and assistance through this journey of grief. We tried the old-fashioned, face to face contact – our village, counseling, and support groups.

Chouchou and I have supported each other throughout this journey, while also grieving in such individual ways. As we continue to grieve for Millie and try to move on with a new pregnancy, I felt compelled to seek any resources or communities that I could be a part of. Below are two resources I’ve found that are helping me.

The Joyful Mourning Podcast

One of the podcasts that I found was The Joyful Mourning, hosted by Ashlee. Currently, she is producing a series of episodes with her guest, Monique Scrip, around what the enneagram is, exploring the different types, and how to help individual types who are grieving.

I was curious and I took Monique’s test on her website. Perhaps I’ll share my findings here another day.

I found that Ashlee has built an amazing community online with numerous interviews with mothers who have met similar fates, a book club community, and other resources for marriage and grief.

Where my blog is a hodge podge of this and that, trying not to focus solely on our stillbirth, Ashlee’s podcast and blog embraces this grief and provides her community with stories of hope that moms are seeking.

While loss is her sole focus, this is far from a depressing blog – it is quite the opposite – where she seeks to provide all forms of hope and positive thinking throughout. I try to sty positive, like anything in life though, the positive vibes ebb and flow. When I need a pick-me-up, I make sure to check in with Ashlee.

Star Legacy Foundation

I found out about Star Legacy Foundation while listening to Kasey Macha’s story on the Tuesday Mom Group.

In general, the TMG podcast doesn’t focus on infant or pregnancy loss, however, these gals understood how sensitive the topic is, and made a point to discuss it. Namely, they wanted to know how to help a friend who is grieving and what does she want to hear?

Many, many people have asked me questions about what to say or do to help or have been candid with me, sharing, “I just didn’t know what to do.” Some people prefer to avoid me now, and even nine months later, I prefer to avoid certain places and situations where I would have to confront this truth with specific people (namely my students who had a contagious enthusiasm for my pregnancy).

At many points during the episode, I found myself shaking my head – agreeing with Kasey’s points. Yes, this happened to us, too. We tried counseling, support groups, etc, which helped us in the beginning from a communication and bonding standpoint, but did not prove to be what we needed for us in the long run. We wanted to begin trying again as soon as possible, too – not to replace Millie, but to propel us forward, and importantly for me, to show I’m not a failure. I can do this.

Kasey mentioned Star Legacy Foundation, and I’ve found that the website is an excellent resource for anyone- family, friends, healthcare professionals- to go to get more information on how to support grieving loved ones, statistics on stillbirth, and research. They have online support groups, local chapters, and a blog and podcast.

In the end, I lean into Ashlee’s website more than the Star Legacy Foundation. Although Star Legacy has amazing resources and information, if I lean too much into them, I find myself divided. Is this all “part of God’s plan” or was this truly preventable? Could I have had control over my situation and have Millie today? If I ever wanted to lobby, become an advocate for stillbirth awareness and prevention, then this would be a great resource.

In this season of grieving, though, I find myself needing more comfort, and Ashlee’s positive messages and resources provide that for me. When I can be less selfish and if I want to do volunteering as a support person, then I will turn to Star Legacy.

Do you have resources, podcasts, or blogs that you lean in to to help you with your grief? Please share them in the comments section!

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