Oct 17 2012

Grief Relief – Multiple Losses

In honor of pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, in conjunction with our three-year anniversary, we are launching the “Grieve Out Loud Grief Relief.” Read about Grief Relief here.

Today’s submission is about multiple losses. Here are some things you could consider including in your piece.

What kind of losses did you experience? (1st tri, 2nd tri, stillbirth?)
Time between pregnancies/losses?
Any medical explanation of losses?
What keeps you motivated to keep trying?
Are you afraid to try again?
What eventually brought you a live baby?
What advice do you have for RPL (repeat pregnancy loss) families?

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E-Mail Submission Guidelines are as follow:

1) All submissions are to be sent to with the subject “Multiple Losses.”

2) Copy and paste your original piece into the body of the e-mail. No attachments please.

3) Please include a one paragraph bio including your name, your baby’s name, type of loss, and blog URL if applicable.

4) All submissions are subject to editorial review and may be edited for clarity. We may only utilize a small portion of your work.

5) Submissions due by 11/01/12


Jun 11 2012

CliffsNotes on Grief – A Book Review


CliffsNotes on Grief
Good Grief! by Erica McNeal
By Julie McAnary
Photo credit: ericamcneal.com

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If you were to ask Erica McNeal why bad things happen to good people, she would likely reply with, “Why not?”

I consider myself an expert in grief. In my thirty years of life I have already buried my mother, my grandmother, my son and a few family pets to boot. Not even my own expertise prepared me for the magnitude of loss that unfolds in just the first few pages of McNeal’s Good Grief!

With no thanks to reality television or pop music, we hear the term “survivor” all the time. Erica McNeal is the true definition of a survivor. McNeal perseveres in spite of all the grief and loss she has experienced and leaves us with what I can only describe as CliffsNotes on grief.

No matter how healthy we seem, how spiritual we are, or how many times we wash our hands, bad things can and do happen to all of us. For McNeal bad things kept coming. Instead of letting these struggles define her, she turned them into a tangible resource for individuals and families dealing with cancer or illness, pregnancy and infant loss, and facing difficult trials all from a personal point-of-view.

Good Grief! recognizes that friends and family have the best intentions when it comes to consoling the bereaved, yet sometimes the wrong words fall out. McNeal shows us how to fix those wrong words in an encouraging and spiritual way.

McNeal holds your hand and gives you all the guidance you could possibly ask for. In return, she hopes you become the incredible support system your loved one desperately needs. “When you stay consistent and intentional, you create a beautiful oasis in a very dry desert for your loved one to grieve appropriately.”

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Good Grief! is now available for purchase!
As a thank you, McNeal is offering 5 bonuses for anyone who chooses to purchase the book from June 11-15.
For all the information please visit her website: ericamcneal.com

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Julie McAnary is the founder of Grieve Out Loud, a pregnancy and infant loss support network started in 2010 after her first child was stillborn at thirty-seven weeks.


Jun 29 2011

The Nest

The Story Behind ‘The Nest’ by

“After marrying my high school sweetheart and waiting for our college graduation and his graduation from medical school, we were more than ready to start a family two years after that. After trying to get pregnant for more than a year, we were thrilled when I found out I would be having a baby the following summer. Whirlwinds of buying maternity clothes and outfitting the baby’s room occupied the first few months. Oh, how happy and excited we were! But deep down, I knew something wasn’t quite right. I had been cramping since the third month with some spotting. My doctor told me that most likely everything was fine. But it wasn’t.

On May 19, when I was more than six months along, I experienced the worst pain imaginable both physically and emotionally. I lost my baby. They called it a miscarriage and I wasn’t allowed to see the baby that was delivered – too small to live. To make things worse, I was told my baby was “flushed away” and that I was silly for wanting some sort of funeral service or memorial.

I was devastated. I felt empty. I didn’t think the sun would ever shine again. I didn’t want to go on. Nobody understood. I was alone.

I did not grieve properly. I was told to “move on” with my life as if my baby’s life didn’t happen. No one seemed to understand. It seemed best to try not to talk about it. To try not to think. To try not to feel.

And so, I buried the pain for many, many years. Some say I was not the same after the loss of my baby. Some say it caused the breakup of my first marriage of twenty-five years – to the father of my baby.

A couple of years ago, I was watching a bird build her nest in our backyard. Every morning I went out to check on the progress of the nest. The mama bird was building her nest at eye level so I could see each step of the way. Finally the nest was built and the mama bird laid just one egg. I waited with eager anticipation to see the baby bird come into this world. One morning I went out and I found the nest empty – no egg. Nothing. I saw the mama bird on a phone wire nearby. I was overcome with sadness – more than what would be normal for a situation like this I cried for hours. My husband encouraged me to write my feelings down. The words raced from my mind onto paper. And then it finally became clear to me. The empty nest was symbolic of the loss of my baby years earlier.

Through the words I wrote down, I was finally able to grieve my loss. And it was finally “okay” to grieve – to let it all out, to cry, to scream, to get angry and sad. My husband has been in the music business for many years. He took my words and composed a melody to go with them. My words became the lyrics to the song he wrote. It’s called “The Nest.”

Although the song is sad, it helped me work through my grief. I am a happier, healthier person today because I finally grieved the loss of my baby that I lost almost exactly thirty years ago.

I invite you to listen to my song. To those of you who share a loss similar to mine, please know that it’s ok to be sad, to grieve. But, please, PLEASE do not be alone. There are others who understand and can help you through this terribly difficult time in your life. I wish Grieve Out Loud was available when I first lost my baby. How wonderful this organization is!

Thank you for listening. If you have any comments, please feel to leave them on the YouTube web site or you can directly through e-mail.”

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Thank you Cindy for sharing your story and beautiful song/video with us! Hope this inspires our readers to put their words of grief into such beautiful and creative works of art.


Jun 9 2011

When Another Pregnancy Isn’t an Option

So many of the families who experience pregnancy/infant loss have a strong desire to fall pregnant again. “The sooner the better” becomes their day-to-day tagline. We feel it is important to share stories from families that cannot try again. This particular story comes from our own Team Member, Susan F. It is one of our submissions from our Giveback Project.

Thank you Susan for pouring your heart out to us. I know this piece will help families dealing with a similar situation.

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“I was asked to write a piece for this project a couple months ago and I just did not know where to start – I think about it everyday and things really start sounding good, but then when I have the chance to start actually writing, my mind draws a blank.

Let me start by introducing myself. My name is Susan, the mother to four angels; Jordan Donise born at twenty-seven weeks, Alexander Michael, born at twenty weeks, Alisia Noelle, born at twenty-three weeks and Gabriel Ryan, born at twenty weeks and my one miracle daughter, Madyson Leah, born at thirty-eight weeks!  Those are the only children I will ever have.

Last November, I made the heartbreaking decision to have my tubes tied (tubal ligation) and put an end to the chance of another pregnancy. I knew deep in my heart and soul that for my own well being and to those around me that I could not go through losing another one of my babies. I have learned to live with the grief that surrounds me.  Anyone meeting me on the street for the first, even second or third  time would never know the pain that I have had to endure or the thoughts I have almost every day.

Growing up, I wanted at least two kids, a boy and a girl. Yes, I have that, but not the way I always wanted. Yes, I have had five beautiful babies, but that is all I will ever have. I have had to learn to live with knowing I won’t ever be able to be pregnant again when everyone around me seems to be getting pregnant.

I seem to be at the age where everyone has decided to start having babies or talk about it. I agree, it’s hard to be happy for someone that is pregnant and that can go on and have a successful pregnancy. I also agree that sometimes life just is not fair when we cannot have healthy babies, but someone who is sixteen and could care less about a baby has one.  I ask myself everyday why did I get dealt these cards? Did I do something in a past life to deserve this?  Am I really that bad of a person and I just don’t know it? But, on the other hand, I know that I didn’t do anything. I cannot change what has happened to me, but I can make a difference in what does happen to me. I can take each day and enjoy it the best that I can. My family deserves that.  I deserve that.

After we lost Gabriel, I knew that the only thing I could do was to get my tubes tied. It was a gut wrenching decision. I cried every night. Because of insurance reasons, surgery kept getting delayed, and it just made my grief all that much worse because not only did I just lose my child, I was starting to lose my relationship. My fiance and I grew apart. I didn’t want him to touch me, I was so scared to get pregnant again and have to go through yet another loss. I finally came to terms with everything and KNEW that my life wasn’t over, I could learn to live with the cards that I was dealt. Sure, I still think about wanting another baby, but know that I cannot.

My life is not over, not by a long shot.

I know each of you are thinking, I want another baby, I cannot wait six, or even three months to start trying, I want to be pregnant NOW.  You will probably always have those thoughts, but they do not have to consume you and do not let them!

Take time to grieve the baby you lost, renew old friendships, put more effort into new friendships, enjoy finding out why you fell in love with your significant other all over again, and most importantly take care of YOU!!  It’s not the end of the world if you cannot get pregnant right away, maybe it is your body saying you need to heal from the loss of your child before you can really enjoy the pregnancy of your next child.  Yes, I know that is one of those phrases everyone hates to hear, but you want to be able to enjoy your next pregnancy not worry each and every minute and let the best times pass you by! And if you are like me, and have chosen to not have anymore kids, it does get easier, each and every day.

Yes, I still think about wanting another baby, and always ask myself if I did the right thing, but deep down in my heart, I know I did.  My daughter is eleven now, getting ready for middle school, I owe it to her to not let my grief get the best of me. There are still some days that I cry for what will never be, but there are other days where I am thankful that I have had the chance to see my babies and be able to kiss them goodbye.”

Susan F.