Author, Blogger, Educator

Category: bereavement wars

An Open Letter – Worthiness Determined


An Open Letter to an Undisclosed Person:

Thank you for meeting with me about my displeasure with your organization. I appreciated you taking the time out of your busy day to meet although your heart was not open and we left on the same terms with which we met. At the time, I was utterly exhausted from 36+ hours of work that I had completed and honestly had less than 5 hours of sleep when we met. As you know, my work is very emotionally draining and can be physically taxing but you weren’t concerned with that, just concerned about how you were going to defend yourself and organization.

Let me say that I was not trying to hurt you personally. My displeasure was because of many things. I addressed those with you but your heart was not open. You didn’t hear me, you were only there to defend. If I were a hospital representative who expressed those feelings, you would not have approached me in such a way. You would have been open to hearing my concerns. But I am not a hospital, I am just a person who you berated, threatened and attempted to rip apart her very core.

I wanted to keep the conversation on task by trying to explore the communication breakdown within your organization but you weren’t interested in fixing that organizational breakdown and only offered for me to call you personally when your organization failed to provide. If they failed to provide, you shared you would find a way to provide. You don’t see how that isn’t really feasible and ultimately, not sustainable for you, your family and of course, your organization.

Our conversation should have been about mending a damaged relationship, addressing communication failures, and coming together to provide for families but you did not see that. You came with discontent and hate towards a comment I made on my personal Facebook page. In addition, you felt assaulted because I did not involve your organization with one of my many clients. A client you should have never known I was serving and even though you did, you did not come to me. You expected me to come to you. And when I didn’t, you were offended.

I apologized to you but you did not accept it. You offered no humanity, you remained cold and heartless, ripping apart all I do and comparing my loss to yours. Discounting my children by stating I couldn’t possibly understand your loss and referring to them as blobs. I took it. It’s not like I haven’t heard it before but there was no need to compare our losses during this conversation.  It wasn’t about our deceased children or the grief we both carry for them. This was about your organizations failings and my businesses inability to utilize a service. Then the second piece was my sadness over something I lost from your organization as a bereaved mother.

You lumped them into one big issue and refused to see either side. You were grasping at every straw in an attempt to destroy me. It was wrong and inappropriate. You said I should have come straight to you with my displeasure instead of utilizing your organizations outlet for asking questions and submitting a complaint; instead of posting something on my personal page. But why should I have come to you directly?

You stated it was because we were “friends” on Facebook as if that gives me some entitlement. Maybe it does, but what about all those who had the same feelings and aren’t friends with you on Facebook? Where do they go when they feel disappointed? I suppose to your special VIP club that no one knows about. I wouldn’t come to you (the owner) no more than a Private would go to their General if they had a concern. I explained this, but you didn’t understand that concept.

You continued to “one-up” me. Any situation I discussed, you presented something worse that you were involved in. Your underlying message was that I couldn’t possibly have an understanding because I haven’t been where you have, seen what you have, experienced what you have and more. We are both unique. We both have stories to tell but you didn’t see that; only defensiveness and hate. That’s what you brought to this meeting.

When I shed tears in front of you because of the sheer exhaustion of my last 36+ hours, not a sign of humility appeared and you continued to thrash about, searching for oxygen to heal a wound you believe I created. No humanity; just defensiveness and continued berating of me and my profession.

“Anyone can do what you do,” you said. “I can do it without any training and slap a credential behind my name,” you blundered. No, “anyone” can’t do what I do just as much as “anyone” can’t do what you do. And this is where you became such a hypocrite and didn’t even see it. I chose for my client to have a personal service, untrained by your “standards” yet trained in her own way and definitely up to serving a special case, but she wasn’t “good enough” for you because she wasn’t trained by your organization.

You said your organization is “premier” with all the training and support that is received and that is wonderful. It does make your organization special. But my organization is special and premier too. It is also unique and came with an intense amount of training. You don’t see that and you won’t, even when I invited you in to share. “I have a friend that serves families the way you do and she doesn’t have training,” you muttered.

Oh, but it is very important that your friend receive training. I explained that it is frustrating that your friend doesn’t have any formal training because there is so much that can be offered. Maybe your friend is offering it but without the training, your friend may not even know. Training doesn’t make one superior but it does help families.

However, I see a bigger issue here beyond all that. It’s worthiness. You and your organization determine worthiness and that is not okay. It’s also discrimination at its finest. What makes someone more worthy than another? You have a manual complete with pictures and statements which determines worthiness. Your statements were sickening and heartless. I was in utter shock to hear you placing humans into worthiness categories, no different than all the scuttlebutt with Planned Parenthood who also determines worthiness.

“You see this? What can we do with that?” = UNWORTHY
“See this here? Now we can do something with this. We can create something great.” = WORTHY
“What do we do with a blob?” = UNWORTHY
“This one is so perfect.” = WORTHY

Looks determine worthiness. Age determines worthiness.

And you still question why I DIDN’T CHOOSE YOUR ORGANIZATION?  I was not going to allow you or your organization to determine the worthiness of my client or any of my clients for that matter. You continued on in an attempt to defend yourself but you really hurt yourself even more. The clarity I had after sleep was so unbelievable. You told me to call you and you would personally find the right person within your organization to help, but that isn’t helpful. It’s a special club; the club where those who were deemed unworthy, become worthy. It’s not enough that they are already in a “club” but now they are in a “sub-club” and can be treated as a VIP; if you determine them worthy.

But what about all those you never deem “unworthy?” Where are they left? What do they get? Oh, they can still get a box, which is much better than a bag, right? But that’s it. They aren’t offered the professionalism, just some random person with little training to fill in.

You stated that this can be too hard for some people in your organization; that they leave because its too difficult. So maybe the training isn’t correct? Maybe they need different training? More training? Have you explored that? Or maybe you tell them about the worthiness and they too feel that some are unworthy, because of your standards. This is not okay.

I asked where you wanted to go from here and you turned it back on me. I shared from my heart where I wanted to go with you and your organization, how much I believe in it, how much I support it but that didn’t matter. There was no thank you, just defensiveness and anger. Your heart never became soft. There was no reciprocation. You even went so far as to say that I performed a major disservice to a particular client. That if I had called upon your organization that you would have been able to provide something I couldn’t. You hit below the belt on this one although my client would not have been worthy by your organizations standards.

When I asked again where we should go from here, you said you asked that question and I didn’t answer which was not true and I again explained and asked what you wanted. “Respect,” is what you said. I had respect for you but how can one have respect for you after learning all these things? You asked for personal respect, which is admiration. But you do not have qualities with which I would want to admire nor emulate.

You didn’t ask for respect for your organization, you asked me to respect you. You didn’t ask me to support your organization, you asked me to support you. But after all that was revealed to me, in an attempt to show me what my clients may be missing, I cannot respect your organization. It is not all inclusive.

You are not the one that determines worthiness. I am worthy. My children are worthy. Everyone deserves VIP treatment no matter how hard it is. And finally, you had the opportunity to make things right, but you didn’t. So I just want you to know. I AM STRONG! I am here and I will provide VIP treatment to all my clients. They are all worthy! I operate with integrity. I do what’s best for my clients and if not using your organization is best, then that’s what I recommend.

The Bereavement Wars

The Bereavement WarsBereavement Wars? What are they?  This is going to be controversial and I imagine there will be backlash but this needs to be said.

This isn’t something new. I have talked about it before and have been experiencing issues off and on since I came into the bereavement field. I don’t know why we have to “fight” over who gets to help families through pregnancy loss. This is the worst time in a families life and behind the scenes people are fighting over it.

This normally would be something flattering. You know, similar to two guys fighting over a girl but this is not flattering at all. It’s downright horrible and disgusting. We already have too many pregnancy loss groups. All run by different individuals and organizations. It’s overwhelming to a newly bereaved family. Where will they find support? Is this the right group for me? Will it be a loving and comforting environment? Who governs this group?

But behind the scenes, much of it (bereavement wars) is all about the person who runs the group. Hate towards other organizations similar and not similar. Hate towards authors, bloggers, other loss mothers, etc. It seems to be about who can provide the best support but in reality, no support is being provided. It’s the hidden agenda in the persons group/organization. It’s about their personal gratification.

Don’t call that bereavement doula because we have an awesome program at our hospital. Don’t inform a family about that resource because we already have resources available. Don’t do _____ because _____.”

Why not provide women ALL their resources and options? Why hide resources? Isn’t the purpose of the group/organization to  provide support, provide healing, provide love, provide resources to further healing? It IS in my opinion. But who am I?

I am not talking about organizations and groups that have niches.

First Trimester Miscarriage

Second Trimester Loss


Fatal Diagnosis and carrying to term support

Fatal Diagnosis with termination support

Sibling support

Partner Support

Grandparents support

Support for birth professionals

Support for hospital staff

Training for hospital staff

Stillbirth photography

Pregnancy After Loss Support

Abortion Support

Angel Gowns


Memory bears/dolls

Memorials and Remembrance Walks

While I know we cannot ALL fall under one group/organization because each of us wants to bring a piece of our child’s legacy into what we are doing, why are we fighting with the other groups/organizations? Maybe your organization or group doesn’t fit that family’s needs? Ah, but then you wouldn’t have helped. That’s a sad way of looking at it.

You DID help! You provided a resource. Your group/organization may not have been the one the family utilized but your organization provided a resource the family could use and they will be forever thankful for it.

My list here is not all inclusive, but I don’t ban or not include any organization, even if I have disagreed with the owner. I may talk about how awesome one group or organization is, but there are so many out there for you to use. I wish there were less. I wish there was one place all the groups/organizations out there could be listed. We need a directory. I know The Miscarriage Association (US) has a “directory” but it’s not enough.

Loss families do not need to know we are fighting behind the scenes but some do know and when they find out, it’s destructive. It reduces their ability to heal and cope. It’s not flattering to them. It’s sickening to them. So why are we at war?

Most of these groups are run by women. Women in general are so hateful to each other. The age of the internet has compounded the ease in which hate is transmitted.

But I tell you, this has got to stop.

Are you willing to come together and put your personal feelings aside for the greater good of the loss community? Are you willing to ban together, not further separate so families can feel surrounded by love? If you are, let me know! Comment here. Share this! Help others to see it’s time to come together in ALL aspects of loss to help our families in need.

Our families should not suffer anymore hurt because you didn’t want to refer or call or pass on a resource. We can’t provide everything a family needs. Remember that it’s OKAY if you can’t provide everything they need. That’s why we have other organizations to refer to. You are amazing for all that you give to the loss community. You have such a huge heart to bear your soul with them and share in your own experiences. I hope you will help us stop these bereavement wars. We are failing the community we so desperately want to heal.


Miscarriage Series – The Banishment

WOW! I can’t even believe I am writing this post. It seems so surreal. During some of deepest, darkest days following the loss of Gus, I was banished from a group. Let me provide a bit of background before diving in.

I began my bereavement support journey after suffering a miscarriage in 2010. I have published several books in that time, speak at events and hospitals, and teach other birth professionals how to support families through pregnancy loss.

I never thought I would experience another pregnancy loss. Mostly because I didn’t think I would want another child, especially at my age. So needless to say, when I learned my baby no longer had a heartbeat, I needed a bereavement doula. I needed support from more than just my family.

I felt more prepared than ever to work through my loss. I knew ALL my options (after all, I wrote the book on that), and I knew how to advocate for myself but when my husband was unavailable for an important appointment, I didn’t want to experience that alone. I didn’t know who I could invite into that space with me. When I found the right person, I still struggled to let her in but she did amazing and was there as I needed her on that particular day.

Grief doesn’t last one day though. Even though I have a wonderful support network of bereavement doulas, fellow loss mothers, and friends, today, I wanted some anonymity. I turned to a support network I have been following for well over a year but never really posted in. Again, I never thought I would need to.

I became shocked when I turned to that support group and was quickly banned after revealing who I was. Maybe the admin was threatened by me? Maybe she felt I was advertising somehow? She has refused to respond to my private messages so I don’t know why she deleted my post and banned me when I needed support the most so here I am, revealing private messages in hopes someone will reach out and explain.

But before I reveal anything, please understand, I am a grieving mother. My baby has died and I miss that child. I miss all that we will never do together. I miss the child I never met. I held space for this child, prayed for this child, nurtured this child, loved this child, dreamed of this child, and I will never hold this child on Earth. That’s difficult to swallow.

The question I asked in the group was, “Let me know if there is anything I can do to help.” Did anyone TRULY find this statement helpful during your loss?”

Photo 1

I received a bunch of responses. Some said it was helpful, most said it was not. Some were in the same boat I was in, unable to let someone in and tell them what they could do. By mid-afternoon, I received a response from an admin of the group (Sheri Bright Timmers); most likely, the owner of the group. Her response was judgmental and berating. I was shocked to be talked to so negatively about what I was feeling.

Photo 2

With who I am and what I do for loss families, I had to provide some background information about me. I had hoped she would be a bit empathetic but instead, BANISHED!

Photo 3

I was blown-away. I was seeking support from a large group of loss families during my time of need and I was banished for unknown reasons. I couldn’t even fathom why I had been banished. I asked friends for help on this situation and received a multitude of reasons including, “some groups don’t let doulas, midwives in,” and that one hurt the most.

Where does a doula go then, if she needs support during her pregnancy loss? Why must she be looked at like an enemy or having a secondary agenda than any other loss mother? I didn’t want to turn to my regular doula groups for help. I just wanted to be like any other loss mother seeking help from other loss mothers.

I heard other complaints about this group, the admin, and how the bereavement wars is still alive and hurting women and families. It physically pains my heart to think that women can be so evil to each other during loss. Vying for attention, to be number one, to be the ONLY one out there that can provide the support. It’s sad, disgusting and will be our demise.

I have seen these “fights” between other groups. One group posts, “don’t support ______ group.” And the other group posts, “don’t link to ______ group.” Then another, “don’t trust _____ group/organization.” And it just goes on and on. Do we really think we are helping those who need us the most? And now, when I need someone outside my normal groups, I can’t ask, because of my profession?


I sent a private message to thirteen admins in that group. Only one responded, the others left the conversation. It wasn’t until the next morning after I received screen shots about my banishment did I begin to receive a private answer. It all boiled down to…ADVERTISEMENT.

Seriously? In 2012, after my book All That is Seen and Unseen was published, I posted it in the group. I always check group rules before posting about my book so I wouldn’t been seen as a spammer. I never was never banned from the group for those two posts and they were still there as of May 17, 2015 at 11:30am. Then there were no other posts in the group from me. Why?

Because I became pregnant. I stopped following the group because I couldn’t bear to see all the pain from miscarriage and stillbirth during my own pregnancy. I stopped following a bunch of groups because I needed to focus on positive energy during my pregnancy and reduce the anxiety I was already feeling. 2012 passes to 2013 and my son is born.

In 2014, I slowly began to re-follow boards to offer support, it wasn’t until my loss this year that I began searching for other groups where I could express my grief and look for support. The Miscarriage & Pregnancy Loss group had over 5,000 members. I knew I could find support there, so I reached out.

Then the admin responded so negatively during my hurt that I revealed who I was and that was taken as advertising. So Sheri, you really think that I just hung out in your group for three years just to advertise without posting links or anything? Seriously? I am just a little over a week into my grief and I go post in your group to make money? I make no money. I give away more books than I sell. I am here to help women, not berate them and destroy them in their grief.

Two admins said they “knew I was there to advertise.” They felt my post was merely a ploy. I am sorry, I don’t do this but if it helps you sleep at night to feel that I was advertising and not a grieving mother looking for support, so be it. I will take my grief elsewhere.


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