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The Morning Prayers

About three months ago, I began to say the morning prayers. I had been thinking about it for about a year and I decided that I wanted to begin this “devotion” in mid-January to February. I don’t recall exactly when I began praying them but at first, it was a bit difficult.

Mid-lent, I imagined that I would never been able to keep up with this. While on my knees reciting them, I tried to see myself as an old woman reciting my morning prayers. Would I really be able to keep up with such a devotion? Am I strong enough? Lord, grant me the endurance to keep reciting them!

And here we are on May 1 where I am still praying them and over the past two to three days realized that I have become subject to the prayers. What I mean by that is, I am now seeing the areas in which I am failing to do good. It’s almost as if it’s a morning “examination of conscience,” which makes little sense if you do the evening prayers because you do an examination of conscience before bed.

I haven’t been able to add the evening prayers yet. My evenings are usually busy as this is the time I reserve for my daily rosary and reading a saint books with my middle child. My rosary time is usually heavily interrupted with kids declining bedtime, wanting a shower even though we reminded them 30 min ago it was their last chance and sometimes I help with putting the kids to bed (although this is hubby’s area since he hasn’t had much time with them throughout the day). Sometimes, I delay my rosary to pray it together with my middle child. This isn’t my favorite because he likes to lead and often doesn’t realize he skips a Hail Mary or two.

I very much enjoy my morning prayers now. It’s my “alone time” with God where I can be solely focused on him. I don’t usually wake up with a wandering mind and I can really concentrate on being one with my Creator and offering up to Him. If my body wishes to sleep longer, my morning prayers become interrupted as well with the little ones stumbling down the stairs, the annoying sound of my dogs paw nails clicking on the wood floors while she begs to be let outside, and sometimes the kids turn on their devices and I hear songs and/or disagreements depending on whose pad is charged or not.

I long for this time but my body sometimes doesn’t want to give it. I realize that’s normal and I just want my body to freely want this time because in the beginning, it really was a fight to get my body out of bed, retrieve my Missal, get on my nearly 50 year-old knees on thin carpet in front of our home altar and pray. Sometimes I wanted to skip the Litany but I refused…most days.

What I have found today though, is that the morning prayers are beginning to change my life. These prayers are giving me joy and comfort I have not experienced. It’s a peace and reassurance that is difficult to describe and I do not look at them as just “another thing” I need to do in my day. When I do that, when I feel I am obligated to do that instead of desiring with my heart to say them, I will know there is something wrong.

I should never look at any prayer or Mass as just an obligation. That’s living more as a slave rather than living for my Creator. If it feels like an obligation, I shouldn’t do them. I want to continue to strive to do better in the areas that are mentioned in the morning prayers, “to be mild, humble, chaste, zealous, charitable and resigned. Incline my heart to keep thy commandments.”

There is so much more to these prayers. I recommend everyone begin their day with 10 minutes or longer of prayer but if you can’t, start with just the Sign of the Cross at waking. You will find that as you put God at the forefront of your thoughts as often as you can, He will be there more and more often in your thoughts. It’s definitely hard at first to remember but you and your soul will be the better for it.

Pax Christi!

Latin Mass, FSSP and Pope Francis

Today we received joyous news that Pope Francis has allowed the FSSP to continue to celebrate the Mass and Sacraments according to the 1962 Missal. Yet, there are many traditional Catholics who are upset and are calling this another gaslighting move of the pope.

I get it. I don’t understand his motive. Is it genuine? Is it to corral the trads in order to cut them off? What is it?

Today, I do not want to focus on that. I want to offer thanksgiving because that’s what we SHOULD do. Why?

For months you all have been telling me that it’s over. The Latin Mass is disappearing and by Ash Wednesday, the pope will have declared us schismatics. For months I have heeded this warning, so I prayed, offered penance and sacrifice, abstinence and fasting (although I fully admit I could have done more).

And today, we were rewarded. The FSSP was consecrated to Mary and I believe her intercession was received. This does not mean I am blind to what the pope might be doing. This does not mean I am not still in the fight over the Latin Mass.

What this does mean, is that I am going to offer prayers of Thanksgiving today and continue to pray for intercession that the Latin Mass is NOT suppressed. That this does not become part of a larger issue of corralling people to the FSSP parishes and then cutting them off as schismatics.

I want to rejoice in the fact that for now, my son will be confirmed and receive his First Communion in the Latin Rite and rejoice that this has been held off a bit longer so more children like my son can receive the Sacraments in the Latin Rite! These children are going to receive hefty graces to enter into this spiritual battle! They will be able to fight along with us knowing the Truth!

So today, I am grateful because many of you were wrong…about today.

The fight is not over. I have am close friends with a priest who offers the TLM at his Novus Ordo parish and he will be devastated when/if his Bishop brings down the hammer. I know a few other priests who LOVE the Latin Rite and celebrate Ad Orientem. Their hearts will be crushed. I will continue the fight for them too, and all those who love the Latin Mass.

But I urge all of you to take a moment and thank the Lord. This is not over but the Lord deserves thanks. Please, I beg you, offer thanksgiving.

Police Work – Who Would Do The Job These Days

I want him out! Who wouldn’t want their spouse out?

Police officers talk with each other outside the apartment where suspect James Holmes lived in Aurora, Colorado July 21, 2012. A controlled explosion by a bomb squad on Saturday appears to have made it safe for police to enter the booby-trapped apartment of the man suspected in Friday’s mass shooting at a Denver-area movie theater, police said. Police were undertaking the delicate task of disabling what they described as sophisticated explosives at the Aurora, Colorado, apartment of suspect James Holmes, who officials believe booby trapped his home before killing 12 people and injuring more than 50 others at the theater early on Friday. REUTERS/Jeremy Papasso (UNITED STATES – Tags: CRIME LAW)

Police work used to be something people were proud of. Not just the families of the officers but citizens too. It used to be work you could share with others but now it must be hidden so families aren’t targeted. Police Officers are hunted now. They had been in the past so this isn’t new but it’s certainly new for our time (day and age).

Last night this came across an email. It was a private email prepping officers. Two Aurora Police Officers had warrants issued for their arrest for their performance of duties on a trespassing call. It was disturbing last night but today the news is much worse. The press conference is in an hour or so from when I wrote this.

It can always be worse and it likely will be. But there is something deeper in here when the first email came through. The implication before any of these extra details had come out, was that officers are being prosecuted for doing their job. AND, this will be the new norm.

As this story progresses, it doesn’t look that way but the shock of the last 12 plus hours is that officers need to be on the lookout as they serve their regular duties. And this is not something that officers are really prepared for. I know that doesn’t make much sense, especially to the younger population, who are social justice warriors and subscribe to defund the police (very dangerous by the way) and who have turned good into evil and evil into good.

The devil has certainly taken over here. It’s biblical. You were predicted to be this way. It’s quite dangerous and we pray that God will prevail. There is quite alot to unpack in all this but I’m trying to keep this short.

Police incidents like this seem to be very common. The news perpetuates it and they are no different than ambulance chasers. They just want clicks and likes and the next “story.” Many are without merit. This particular story hasn’t manifested enough for me to make any determination although if Haubert had been arrested previously, he should have been disqualified for hiring as a police officer.

Police officers sign up to be at risk of death. Wives worry and stress that every phone call will be THE ONE. Wives really struggle with this possibility and I will admit, it’s not something I have really worried about much. I don’t think that it’s because this is not a possibility for us. I don’t think it’s because I trust all the training my husband has, although he will tell you that when he first started I asked him to show me multiple times how fast he could draw his weapon.

I think I have just accepted this as a possibility or rather, a reality. I have planned his funeral and his eulogy. I never want to read it. I never want to see his children stand up to speak for their father. I never want any of it to happen, but I have prepared for it as best I can. What I have not prepared for, is for society to speak out against him. When I say him, I am referring to officers.

I have not prepared for the public to chastise him, to push legislation against him, to want to string him up for doing his job; a job which the public asked for and needs. A job that the federal government cannot provide although that’s the end result. Why oh why do you young people want the government to provide everything? Don’t you know they don’t really care about you?

When the State of Colorado approved legislation following the death of George Floyd, the legislation was against the police. It doesn’t protect the citizens from police officers like Chauvin. It restricted all officers, including the good ones. It has restricted their desire and ability to protect the public. A direct result of this has been an increase in crime and less people in jail. The restrictions keep coming. Evil good, good evil.

Is the ultimate goal to get rid of the police? It is happening within itself. It is becoming harder and harder to find people to do this job. It is becoming harder and harder to find GOOD, QUALITY candidates. Standards have been lowered. We’re running out of the “good” officers. It’s your fault.

Legislators are not interested in what really needs to be done. I contacted all of them last year when they were proposing the legislation on police reform. Only ONE responded and he never followed up with me. I begged them to talk with the officers, NOT management, who train officers and see the problems but these problems can’t be addressed BECAUSE of police management. Police MANAGEMENT IS THE PROBLEM!!

Hiring good employees costs money. Being unable to retain those employees costs money. Companies want a return on their investment. Well, that return on investment is coming out in law suits. Oh, but cities have funds set aside for that. Your loved one has a monetary number placed on them by MANY companies, not just cities. It’s the amount that will be paid out if the organization is somehow responsible in some way for the maiming and death of your loved one.

It’s true! It’s sick.

When I ran a hospital security program, I proposed that a large rug be removed from the hospital. It was a beautiful rug with the name of the hospital on it at the entry way of the facility. I asked for it to be removed because my responsibility was to ensure the safety of everyone that walked through those doors. That safety just didn’t mean crime but all kinds of safety, to include those who trip and fall on that rug. Many were tripping and falling on the edge of that rug.

One day, an elderly woman tripped, fell, broke her nose and hip. She was paid out. The rug would not be removed. “It’s too beautiful. We want it. We have funds to pay families for these kinds of events.”

Those are the words I was told. It’s so very disturbing. So when you want the higher ups to do something and to put these bandaid solutions on things, and you believe the government has your best interest in mind…THEY DON’T!

This happens in every company and organization; government or not.

When you want to really solve these issues and you really want to spend the money and take the risk involved, there are people who are ready. But that’s coming to a close. Those people are leaving and the corrupt will be left. I dread that day because you won’t recognize it.

Pope Francis and the Latin Mass

It’s all over the news. Pope Francis has begun the journey of attempting to destroy and remove the Traditional Latin Mass. If this had come out one year ago, I may have applauded the move like I have seen many Novus Ordo participants do recently but I would have done that out of ignorance and fear. I can hear some of my friends saying, “no, you wouldn’t have been applauding it, but you might not have fought against it.”

I know better now and I call myself a Zealot for the Latin Mass. How could the Mass of the Saints be abrogated? How could the Pope, with the brush of a pen or the push of a button, make the Traditional Latin Mass stop?

He can’t!

But he’s trying!

The purpose stated in the pope’s letter is to stop the division in the Catholic Church but anyone who has eyes can see that the pope isn’t bringing unity with this motu proprio. After all, as the meme above suggests, the Catholic church is divided and it’s getting worse. With the pope allowing priests like Father James Martin to continue causing scandal and confusion; while bishops silence priests like Father James Altman who speak the Truth; the Catholic Church is sinking. His letters also contradict each other. He doesn’t want the Latin Mass celebrated BUT the Bishops can decide, BUT, if you don’t attend Novus Ordo now, you’ve lost salvation. WHAT?

I won’t go into a theological debate on Vatican II. I’m not a theologian and I have barely scratched the surface on the knowledge needed to debate much of Catholicism; however, I do know that Vatican II Protestantized the Catholic Mass and the numbers of Catholics and Priests are dwindling. Why?

Well, I believe that much of our deposit of faith has been taken from us. I had no idea what I was missing in my faith by attending the Novus Ordo. Not all Novus Ordo Masses though are missing these elements but the parish I attended for over 15 years did dramatically change, erasing nearly every portion of reverence.

No Latin. No Greek. Less bowing. Hands being held up. Parishioners participating in nearly all aspects of the Mass. Adding Altar Girls. Music filling every moment of silence. No Organ. The addition of guitars and drums. The changing of the words at the Consecration. Lay people handling the Consecrated Eucharist! Adding whatever a priest feels called to in that moment. And if it couldn’t get any worse, preaching from the pulpit that God is merciful and that hell is empty.

If hell is empty, why confess? If God is merciful, why confess? God “knows what’s in my heart!” Salvation for everyone! It doesn’t work that way and never has. We have a wrathful God. Merciful yes…but one must ask. Which means one must recognize that they have sinned against Him and that they are not worthy of His mercy but God will give it if they ask. It’s not a birthright.

When lay people handle the Eucharist, it changes the way people think about the Eucharist. If THAT person can handle the Eucharist, it must not be the actual body, blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ, because I know what he does on the weekends. I know how sinful he/she is.

From the beginning of the Church, lay people did not touch the Eucharist (see the Apologies of Justin Martyr or CCC 1345). Why is it okay now? The Novus Ordo (New Order of the Ages), is only 56 years old. How old is the Mass of the Ages? Centuries!

People demand and expect to receive the Eucharist. If a priest preaches from the pulpit that you must be worthy when presenting yourself to receive our Lord, they get offended. This isn’t a right! You must be worthy. If you believe that the Eucharist is what Catholic’s believe it is, how on earth can you present yourself unworthily? Would you really walk up to Jesus himself and demand he give himself to you or would you fall to your knees because you are in the presence of God and that alone makes you feel unworthy?

When you attend the Traditional Latin Mass, you will immediately notice that the people there believe they are in the presence of God. They are on their knees the moment they walk through the doors, they are in the confession line that fills every wall of the church, they have their missals open in prayer, they are quite and focused towards Christ, they bow or kneel when Christ on the Crucifix processes in and bow or kneel when the priest (in persona Christi) processes behind the Crucifix, they are dressed modestly, and if Christ himself entered (which he does), they would fall to their knees (which they do).

There is no muttering or complaining when the priest preaches the virtues they should be seeking. They do not say, “how dare he!” when the priest tells them the gates to heaven are narrow. Instead, they understand that their priest (Father), loves them so much, they are willing to tell them such hard things in order to save them from the fire.

Hell is hot! Don’t go there!

Father Ed Buelt

There is much silence in the Latin Mass. There is no need to fill it. The Latin Mass has built in reverence. Without the reverence needed for the Eucharist inside the Mass, why would anyone believe in the Real Presence of the Lord within the Eucharist anyway?

I’m not saying that all Novus Ordo Masses are irreverent, although the one I attended for the last six years or so became progressively irreverent. I am pointing out there is a big difference in some Novus Ordo Masses but all Traditional Latin Masses are the same.

I can go to a Novus Ordo Mass down the street and the Mass will be completely different than the Novus Ordo Mass 20 miles away, and both of those Masses will be different than the next Mass 15 miles from the second. For instance, we went to a Novus Ordo Mass when we recently traveled to Florida. People clapped during that Mass (a no-no because Mass isn’t entertainment). At another parish down the street, there are kneelers for those who want to receive the Eucharist on their knees (how one should present themselves to the Sovereign Good).

With this much latitude (given at Vatican II), no wonder there is so much confusion in the laity. But what I don’t understand is why the pope doesn’t have an understanding of the Mass, especially the Latin Mass and the meaning of it. He himself stated that “the faithful would not assist as strangers and silent spectators in the mystery of faith, but, with a full understanding of the rites and prayers, would participate in the sacred action consciously, piously, and actively,” about the Latin Mass; as if those with their heads in the Missal, praying fervently, are just “strangers and silenced spectators.”

Father preached today that we should not be focused on what we can see with our own eyes. These are the “things of this world.” It sounds like the pope is focused on being able to see the people “active” in the Mass but that is not the way. A person does not need to read the readings in order to participate actively.

A final note as there is much more to be said about the pope’s letter but my vocation is calling me (dinner for my family needs to be made). There are traditional priests in the Novus Ordo. We had several as parochial vicars at my last parish. When we had a traditional priest, who preached truth and not fluff, the parishioners flocked to his Mass. They would literally change their Sunday routine in order to hear this priest. The pews emptied at the Masses where it was preached we all go to Heaven. This is the same reason people are flooding the Latin Mass Churches. If you think the Latin Mass is dying, you’re mistaken.

Do not fall into despair brothers and sisters, for that is what the Devil wants. The Devil wants to destroy all that is good and he is running rampant these days. He is clever and makes people feel good about what they are doing but it’s part of his evil plan. Evil is good and good is evil. The Devil has distorted everything and it’s why we feel like we are living in the Twilight Zone. Do not succumb to it. The Church WILL prevail.

Tradition will restore the Church!

Lex Orandi Lex Credendi!!

How to Support Miscarriage or Stillbirth – A Doula’s Guide

Were you just told your client’s baby has died?

I get calls from doulas often telling me they just learned their clients baby died and they are heading in to support them. This makes me so happy because in the past, doulas have abandoned these clients for many reasons. Here is a quick guide on how to support your client.

The good thing is, supporting a family through the labor of miscarriage or stillbirth is not that different then supporting them through a live birth. The physical process is relatively the same so many of the skills you have will cross over. Use that knowledge. Below are some key points to focus on when supporting pregnancy loss.

  • Be compassionate
    • Do not bring your bias into this space. What is hard for you to see or hear does not mean the family doesn’t want to see or hold their baby.
  • Refer if you can’t do this
  • Create a sacred space
    • Bring out the mama bear in you. Protect them from hurt (having a separate room so they don’t hear the heartrate monitor in the next room or babies crying).
  • Separate the act of saying goodbye from saying hello
    • Many times staff are focused on the sadness of saying goodbye but there is also a hello. They are about to see the baby they have been longing for. Help them say hello. Focus on fingers or toes if other parts are hard to view.
  • Encourage
    • Skin to skin
    • Holding and photographs
    • Footprints and hand moulds
    • Bathing, diapering, and dressing
    • Reading a book to baby or dancing with baby (daddy/daughter dance)
  • It’s okay to cry
    • Crying is fine but do not cry hard. The family will stop grieving to support you. Do not take away from their grief.
  • Be there at discharge
    • Bring a teddy bear for them to hold. Empty arms hurt. Sometimes taking them a back way is more helpful. Check the hall for cheerful families and new babies. Try not to go by the nursery.
  • Help them say goodbye
    • Encourage a memorial service or funeral. A water ceremony might also be an option for them. Know their religious preferences and be knowledgeable about burial rites.
  • Follow-up
    • A postpartum visit is important. Bring food when you visit. They are going through the postpartum period (even if this was a miscarriage). Check on their physical changes as well as mental changes. Do not confuse grief with postpartum depression. Review their support system and encourage meals to be brought and tasks to be completed by others.
  • Remember their baby
    • Mark your calendar for one year from the date of loss with the baby’s name (if they had one) and send them a card. We are sometimes scared to make them think about their deceased child but they are already thinking about them. The first anniversary is very important. You are not hurting them by remembering.
  • Don’t forget self-care
    • Many doulas leave on a high, even though you are supporting a pregnancy loss. You will likely crash. The next 3 days tend to be the most difficult. Rest and lost of self-care during this time to renew yourself and be the best person you can be for your family. Let them know you will be going through some tough moments.

This isn’t an all encompassing list. It’s a start. You can do this. I know you are questioning yourself but you have so much in you that you can bring to this space. You know how to do this even though you don’t think you are the right person. This family needs you. Go…be there for them. You got this!

When the mother is allowed to mourn

I have been quiet for a while. That’s what happens when you get busy raising three beautiful children. I got lost in that life and while I haven’t forgotten the two little saints I have in heaven, I haven’t been here to talk about them or share about loss in ways I used to.

Courtesy of Seattle Times

Today though, we are hearing about Tahlequah, the Orca whale who delivered a stillborn calf. I read the story about two weeks ago and watched the video but it was so incredibly painful. It was so painful to watch this mother mourn over her dead baby. It was also beautiful. This is what mourning is. She will let go of the physical body of her baby when she is ready.

But we, as humans, aren’t given this opportunity. And here, the world watches and waits. They mourn with this whale and they empathize with her. They want to see how long she carries this calf and they see all the other whales carrying this calf FOR the mother. Yet I am saddened that we, as humans, can’t give each other the same empathy and compassion.

Why is it that we can empathize with this whale but not with our neighbor?

It actually makes me angry to see how society is reacting to this whale and her mourning because women have their dead babies ripped from their arms, thrown in boxes and told they “don’t want to see their dead baby” every day! Sure, some hospitals allow time to grieve, a few hours, maybe even a day or so but then the mother is pressured to turn over her baby. She isn’t allowed to let go of the physical form of her baby when she is ready (that’s extremely rare).

Human families aren’t given all their options for processing their losses. They are told to move on, move past it, forget, this isn’t a big deal, it’s better not to look, you will forget faster if you don’t, etc. I have seen this countless times in full term stillbirth but much more in miscarriage (mostly because it happens more often).

Society doesn’t value human life. If we did, we would mourn with these families. We would carry them, we would even carry their dead baby for them (without judgment) if that’s what it required. But that’s not what we do. A few days, maybe a few weeks are given to mourn the loss of something so great and then they must move on.

Look, this whale mother is carrying around the physical form of her dead baby. This is just the beginning of processing the loss. Once she let’s go of that physical form, her journey continues. It’s not over for her and it’s definitely not over for humans when their dead baby enters the ground. What society is witnessing is a view that they would see in humans IF we were given the same opportunity, to let go of the physical form of our babies when we are ready, no matter what that looks like; and yes, that may mean taking our dead baby home and laying them in their crib (read Ghost Belly).

But if we did that, it’s seen as crazy. Society would tell you to seek mental health care or that the mother needs to be put in a psychiatric ward. Some doctors would medicate the woman or family for wanting or doing such a thing. You see, we aren’t allowed to grieve the way our whole body feels they need to grieve. Sometimes it takes a while to let go of that physical form. Not everyone is the same. I have seen mothers hold their little ones for an hour or so and then hand their baby over to the funeral home and it was fine. They were ready but I have also seen others who were given merely a few hours and told they HAD to give up their baby.

This is incorrect and completely wrong.

The nurse was uncomfortable, society was uncomfortable, but there was no real reason. Heck, I have seen nurses blatantly lie about why the mother needed to “turn over the baby.” “You’re holding up a room for a living baby to be born,” “the funeral home won’t come back another day,” “the autopsy can’t be performed after two hours,” “you’re baby will start bleeding,” and more.

I have also witnessed a mother hold her baby and keep her baby for days! A great hospital and great staff helped this mother and kept her baby in a state where she could hold and love on her dead baby until she was ready to let go of the physical form of her baby. I remember this mother distinctly saying, “It’s time. I want to remember her looking like this and not much different.” It didn’t make it easy to let go of her physical form but she was ready.

This is what we must provide families. We MUST give them all the time they need and desire with their babies. We must allow them to tread through the water, pushing their lifeless one, until they are ready. What hospital wants to support that? Do they want to spend the money on the mechanisms needed to provide such care (like the Cuddle Cot?) Or a special room, in a designated area to provide the care the family needs? It’s a RARE hospital to do that, but they do exist!

Mothers deserve to mourn their loss in the way they need to, for as long as they need to. It’s a lifetime of grief. Mothers who have experienced the loss of their child (through miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, toddler loss, child loss, adult child loss), will ALWAYS carry them. For now, we must carry them in our hearts.


I have shared before the grief and depression are two very different things. In that post, I shared that antidepressants cannot “fix” grief because grief is not a chemical imbalance. Grief is someone we all experience in one way or another and it is something we must experience in order to move forward. Grief sucks, no doubt. It’s not easy to move through grief. We want it to go away so we can get back to “normal,” but there will never be the same “normal again.

Recently, a friend posted that she was upset with a friend who committed suicide. She shared an article about this person and how she felt it was selfish of her to kill herself. She shared that this person was loved so deeply and she couldn’t understand why her friend didn’t know or couldn’t see the love that others had for her. Depression sucks.

Grief can move into depression. Watching for those signs is important. I know that I moved into depression and most of that came from the fear during my pregnancy after a loss and becoming a new mother after 10 years with just my one child. That child was fully independent, leaving me with time for myself (which is ever-so-important as an introvert) and we were enjoying the life that comes with an older child. We knew that bringing a new baby into this mix could be cause for concern regarding my mental health and we did what we could to ensure I would be okay but alas, I still fell into a depression.

I am writing another book on my pregnancy after a loss and the fear and guilt I felt after he was born. It was such a weird place to be. Wanting him to survive, loving him as much as I could yet remaining distant because I just knew…he would die too. Nine months into his life is when I began to accept that he was staying and I might be able to enjoy him and raise him but the damage had been done and now that he is approaching three, I think that we are finally starting to repair our relationship between mother and son (assuming it’s repairable). You will have to read the book if you want to explore what I am talking about.

But I had to share my response to my friends’s post. If you have never lived in depression, you likely will have never felt or experienced what I shared. And of course, your depression will be different from mine just like your grief experience is different than mine. Let me give you a bit of background on when this came into my life. I assure you, I am no longer in this dark place. So much has changed but I was hit rather hard with several life changing events and with the unresolved depression, I was in a place that shocked me to my core and this experience brought me to seek help.

depressionTo the person living in the depression, it’s nearly impossible to break from those chains. Feelings of worthlessness are hard to combat even when people on the outside say wonderful things. It’s so internal, it’s not broken into easily. She is right, it’s like a white noise inside. A near constant state of emotional pain where everything in your mind is telling you “no one cares,” “you are a piece of crap,” “you’re not worthy.” The emotional pain turns into a physical pain.

Anxiety can also come when you are fighting what your mind is telling you. “I am good,” “I am worthy.” and then another attack comes from someone you trusted and the mind overcomes you and you don’t even realize you are so deep in depression until one day, you stand at the top of a bridge and think about jumping. Headfirst…so you will do it right. Headfirst, hoping you won’t feel any pain as you take that last breath. The cars are driving by you and they have no idea what you are contemplating but you are very aware. You know you stopped on this bridge because there is lots of traffic and where you will land will bring a passerby quickly. You feel every car that is passing you by and inside, you are desperately hoping someone will notice you and ask a question. It will stop you…but they don’t, so that means you are worthless. Because not a single car honks, stops, or notices. Somehow, you just keep walking…

What to Consider if you’re Experiencing a Miscarriage

This article originally appeared at The Mighty on January 28, 2016.

1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. Most commonly, miscarriage occurs in the first trimester; however, miscarriage can occur up to 20 weeks. After 20 weeks, a pregnancy loss is called a stillbirth, which occurs in 1 in 160 pregnancies. Women are often left to navigate their miscarriage on their own or with minimal support. Here are 18 points to consider during your miscarriage.

  1. I need to decide on my plan for my miscarriage. It is okay no matter what I choose because I have researched my options and trust my intuition. I know what is right for my body, for me mentally, and for my family.
  2. Researching my options is important. I can read about miscarriage options or download the Miscarriage App. I realize that I don’t know everything there is about miscarriage and my care provider may not be aware of all the options available to me.
  3. I should discuss this plan with my partner and family (if age appropriate). I know that checking in with them is important so they can share what may be important to them during this difficult time.
  4. I should seek spiritual/religious guidance; just to be sure I have taken care of any spiritual/religious needs or requirements of which I am not aware.
  5. I will need a plan for my baby’s body. No matter how early this pregnancy was, I still need to decide what I want to do with their body or remains. It’s okay to flush if that’s what feels right but I can also place my baby in a storage container and put it in the refrigerator until I have found the perfect option.
  6. I know I must begin the experience of miscarriage. If I have chosen medical or surgical management for my miscarriage, I know when things will likely start and end but if I have chosen for things to start on their own, I need to be patient with myself as my body prepares in its own way for this experience.
  7. It’s okay if I feel relief. This is normal and many women feel this way. This doesn’t mean I didn’t love my baby or pregnancy, it’s just relief that this part is finally over and I can begin to move forward again.
  8. I should plan for my physical and emotional recovery. I will need pads, tissues, and time off. I should write down a list of tasks which feel hard for me to complete like meals, doing dishes, walking the dog, and time alone to grieve. I know these are important to me but they feel overwhelming and I need someone to take these tasks on for a while.
  9. It’s okay to need help from others; many women do and it doesn’t matter how early or late the loss was. Support is crucial.
  10. I will allow myself to accept help from others.
  11. I may need to explore outlets for my grief such as writing in a journal, listening to or creating music, crafting, volunteering for a pregnancy loss organization, pumping and donating my baby’s breastmilk, or other healthy outlets.

    You'e gone (Miscarriage)

  12. I will have moments and days where I don’t feel sad. It’s okay that I don’t feel sad all the time. This doesn’t mean my loss doesn’t matter. This also doesn’t mean that when I am really sad after a period of being okay, that I am depressed and need to be saved. I am just having a hard day or moment. Grief has no timeline and doesn’t look the same for each person.
  13. Even though my husband, partner, or children seem to be “normal” or look like this loss doesn’t matter, that doesn’t mean they don’t care and aren’t sad. They have a different way of navigating through their grief. Their way doesn’t have to be my way.
  14. When I feel upset about the way my husband or partner is responding to our loss, I will communicate with them. I will share how I feel, as best I can, so that we can talk openly about our loss.
  15. People will make hurtful comments believing they are helpful. I do not have to be “fake” and smile at these comments, I can choose to say something if I feel the need.
  16. I may lose some friends. It can be really hard or very easy to walk away from them but I need to do what’s best for me and that’s okay. I do not have to hang on to friends who are toxic to me.
  17. I will gain new friends. Some of these friends will become friends for life. Others will be here for moments and that’s okay. These new friends do not have to be friends for life.
  18. I will survive this. Life may look very different and that’s okay. I am different. It’s okay to let others know that I am different.

Supporting Birth and Death

TreeMy blog has been quiet these last three weeks. I have been consumed with the death of my grandfather-in-law. Right before Christmas, grandpa became sick and was struggling. Grandma, has been in chemotherapy for ovarian cancer and we discovered that despite months of treatments, the chemotherapy did not work and she was given a short period of time to live. They had been married 66 years when Grandpa departed his earthly life on January 18th.  I want to take a few moments to share with you my calling.

After I miscarried Ruby in 2010, I was called. I felt a pull within me to stop working and be with my family. This was a difficult pull to understand as I had been working diligently for nearly 12 years to become a police officer. I had finally accomplished the task only to feel pulled away from it. I couldn’t describe the pull, I just knew I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. So I left. This also coincided with a new pregnancy. A pregnancy wrought with anxiety and fear that I too, would lose the new life within me.

Following his birth, I was called.

I felt deep within me that I needed to help women through their miscarriages and also through stillbirth. It was a strange feeling and one that I couldn’t understand. How could I possibly support women through such devastation? I needed to learn more so I could fully understand what that might look like so I did. I received training through Stillbirthday. I felt more prepared to support families through loss but never intended to actually use the training.

But I was called.

The phone rang and I was asked to respond to the hospital. Someone I knew had lost their baby and they needed support. I was surprisingly calm and experienced excitement. While there was great grief and despair that day, the family took great comfort in knowing they had a “person.” Their person, who could support them throughout the entire process. I left with great peace, knowing this is where I was supposed to be.

I am called.

I have been serving families for a few years now in this capacity and also publicly speak on the topic of miscarriage, specifically, first trimester miscarriage. I feel the most calm and most holy when I am doing this. It feels like God’s work. I was called.

Then grandpa got sick and I was called.

I sat next to his hospital bed on Monday, January 18th. It was about four in the afternoon. Calls to hospice revealed that they would not be able to assess him until tomorrow. I hurt. I felt a deep hurt inside. Something wasn’t right and I wanted him to go home. There was no forcing hospice and as I sat in my uncomfortableness, words came out of my mouth.

“I am going to stay with him.”

Shocked that I just made this statement, I began to cry. I do not like to cry in front of people but I did.

“He will not be alone,” came out next.

I was on autopilot. Something had overtaken me.

I was called.

Knowing where I needed to be, I departed for my home. Hubby settled in with the kids as I grabbed items I felt I would need and I returned to the hospital to sit by grandpa’s side. My attempts to focus on writing or reading were futile. They felt wrong and I stopped. I had turned on music for him and released some essential oils in the room. I dimmed the lights and shut off my computer. Then I did something I rarely do. I sat.

It’s hard to turn off my mind but in those moments, it came easy. I just sat.

Grandpa passed.

I knew the moment and I have the entire account written but that’s not what this post is about. I have been called. This feeling is indescribable but some parts of it I can describe. It’s an urge, a yearn, or a pull. The call. I might also describe it as a sense of something overtaking your normal responses and giving you a different response. It’s not a response of regret or fear but you just do it. It happens and you don’t know why. The “why” may be revealed and it may not be but it’s there.

It’s hard to listen to the pull. One might fight the pull. The first calling took me two years to stop fighting and succumb to it. When I finally did, I felt peace. I feared supporting families through loss but there was a call. It took me nine months to succumb to that call. When I was called to witness my grandfathers death, it took me one second to succumb to that call. It just happened.

I never imagined I would support death in such a way (the death of a baby or the death of a loved one). After my first son was born, I was called to support women through birth and did so for five years as my only occupation (other than being a mother). I do not know why I have been called to support birth and death but there are similarities. Both are rites of passage. Both are transitions. Both can be scary, full of anxiety, fear, love, trust, faith, hope, and both need support.

There is rarely a time in our lives when we are alone but we are not alone at birth, ever. The mother is there even if no one else is there, the mother is. No baby is born without their mother. Why then, when making the transition to death, should we die alone? Dorsie didn’t die alone. I wasn’t going to let him. I would have stayed all night and I contemplated that and how it might happen. There was I time I felt like I should leave. A panic of sorts where maybe he wanted to die alone but I stayed. There was a pull. My body was forced to stay in the chair even though my mind was racing on if I was the right person or the person he would want there.

I stayed though…because I was called.

Miscarriage Series – Hand and Stone Spa

Hand and Stone SpaHubby scheduled me a massage at Hand and Stone Spa. We are both members there and have really enjoyed the services they offer. It was Sunday, the Sunday after Mother’s Day and we were headed to his mother’s house to celebrate Mother’s Day. Last Sunday was ruined by snow so we were doing a “re-do.” Hubby had visited the spa that day to pick up a gift certificate for his mother. While there, he thought he would be nice and schedule a massage for me the next day.

I hadn’t been out other than doctor’s appointments since the loss and this would be a great way to get me out of the house. It would require some coordination, as I would have to drop Timmy off at day care but this would get me out and help me make “moving forward” steps. I was excited, yet scared. I mostly looked forward to the relaxation I would get.

Hubby asked if I wanted to schedule an appointment with my regular therapist. I told him I didn’t want to see her and to schedule me with someone new. I didn’t want to see her because we have quite a connection and I felt it would be too emotional for both of us. Really, I felt like we would both spend the hour crying and that I wouldn’t leave relaxed so he scheduled me with someone new. There were no issues with him scheduling the appointment.

The next morning, I got Timmy ready for day care. He HATES day care and usually cries when I drop him off. This is just a drop-in center and he has never been there longer than three hours but he has an attachment to his family and this is very hard for him. I struggled with the fact that I was torturing him that day just for me to be spoiled but I pushed through. I needed this and I would be better for it.

As we drove to daycare, I chatted with him as he sat in the back seat. I explained he wouldn’t be there long and that we would spend plenty of time together at home afterwards. As I pulled into the parking lot, my phone rang. I couldn’t answer it, I had to let it go to voicemail. My massage was at 10:00am and it was 9:50am. I was just down the street from the spa but I was still in a rush. I had never seen this massage therapist before and I didn’t know if she would need me to fill out a form for her.

I dropped Timmy off at the center. Surprisingly, he wasn’t crying when I handed him off to the staff. I rushed out quickly. I was glad but I didn’t want to get too emotional. If anyone looked at me funny for any length of time, I would break down and cry. I felt so fragile in these days. Hubby had returned to work and I didn’t want him there. I wanted him home with me and that was traumatizing to me.

When I returned to the car, I listened to the voicemail that was left for me.

“Hi Elizabeth, this is Allison at Hand and Stone. I see you are on the schedule but your record shows you are pregnant. We cannot massage you until you are at least 12 weeks pregnant. You will not be receiving a massage today.”

That was it. I tried not to cry. I was angry. The message was so cold. Didn’t this person understand that I wouldn’t be trying to sneak in a massage? Why was her message so cold?

I called back. I spoke to the receptionist, “Hi, I have a massage with Allison in a few minutes. She just called to tell me that she wouldn’t massage me. While I understand why I can’t be massaged until I am 12 weeks, I am no longer pregnant. I had my baby last week.”

The receptionist didn’t say much. She just told me that I could still get a massage. I made the assumption that in the five minutes it takes me to get there, that she would have talked with Allison, the massage therapist, and I would go straight to a room.

When I get there, I am not checked in. The receptionist is busy so I take a seat in the waiting area. I am trying hard not to break down. A massage therapist comes out with her client. She is at least seven months pregnant. I would describe her as “very” pregnant although there is no degree of pregnancy. I kept saying to myself, “Please don’t let that be Allison, please don’t let that be Allison, please don’t let that be Allison.”

I heard them talking and learned her name was Monica. “Whew, that’s the other person I could have had a massage with. I am so happy I won’t have her today,” I thought to myself.

Ten minutes later, I am still sitting in the waiting area. No therapist has come out to see me. I watched as the receptionist ran to the back. A few minutes later, she returned. The pregnant woman followed her and started walking towards me. My heart began to beat fast. I could feel it in my chest.

I felt my hands get sweaty as Monica reached her hand out and said, “Elizabeth?” I reached out and shook her hand out of habit.

“I will be your massage therapist today,” she said.

I immediately looked towards the receptionist and said loudly, “What happened to my scheduled therapist.”

The receptionist (who I later learned was a manager), had that look on her face. You know, the “deer in the headlight look.” She just stood there. She said nothing.

Monica told me that Allison wasn’t available and she would like to talk with me privately. I followed her into a room. She took me into the first room behind the waiting room and shut the door. She said, “Allison doesn’t feel comfortable massaging you.”

My heart sank again. “What? Why?” I thought. “What is so wrong with me that she wouldn’t massage me?

Monica continued with, “We talked with your regular therapist Erika and she said that you were eight weeks pregnant last time you saw her, is that right?”

I couldn’t believe what was happening. I felt like I was on trial or something. The reason I felt like this was because I saw Erika the day I peed on the stick. I knew she wouldn’t massage me if I was pregnant but I was really hurting and needed the body work. Nothing was confirmed by a doctor and the line on the pregnancy test was very light. After the massage, I told her I thought I was pregnant. I know she was scared but I told her it was all okay and it would be fine.

I felt mistrust. I felt like these therapists had been talking behind my back about my care. What else had they been talking about? Was my medical information private?

I couldn’t bear to be in the room any longer. I don’t remember what Monica said after that, I just ran out of the room. I moved as quickly as I could. I heard her talking behind me. I heard her say, “I would like to talk with you.” She sounded genuine but all I could feel was mistrust, anger, disappointment, and extreme sadness that I lost my baby and couldn’t even get a massage.

I yelled, “No!” And continued to run out of the building. I got in my car and just started bawling. I don’t even think I had been breathing. I felt so out of breath and just let everything out. I immediately called Hubby. He didn’t answer but I left him a message. I am not sure if he understood any of it because I was crying so hard.

I pulled into a parking lot across from the daycare and just cried as hard as I could. I couldn’t believe this. I took Timmy to daycare and ventured out to get a relaxing massage and this happened. I was on trial. I couldn’t get a massage and I lost my baby.

After I calmed down, I went to pick up Timmy. Later that day, I was able to talk with Hubby and I explained I needed him to call Hand and Stone and ask what happened. There is no way I can talk to them right now and I am not sure I want to go there again. I told him I wanted to file a complaint with the state about their treatment. I felt discriminated against because of my medical condition (pregnancy loss). I have no idea why Allison didn’t want to touch me. I felt like I had boils all over my body!

Hubby was great and told me he would call them right away and call me back. When he called me back, he told me that the manager, Amanda, was lost for words. He told me that she was very sorry for what happened and wanted to make things right. He said that she wanted to talk with me but wanted to give me time to recover. He gave me her number and told me that I could talk with her or we could go in and talk with her together. Hubby even offered to call her again later on my behalf.

I needed time. It would be hours before I called her back. When I did, she didn’t answer her phone. I waited an hour and called the actual Spa. I was transferred to her. I spoke with her for about an hour. She was definitely at a loss for words. She sounded very sincere and upset about what happened.

She relayed that the therapist should have never contacted me in the first place. She said that Allison is “set in her ways” and can be difficult. She said that they should have talked with their manager and the manager should have called me to ask questions. She also told me that the therapists shouldn’t have talked about my care but that Erika and Monica were friends so that’s why there was conversation.

I told her about my distrust and how upsetting it was that a pregnant woman was sent out to talk with me. I talked with her about what they needed to do for women experiencing pregnancy loss. I gave her the exact words that should be said when someone schedules a massage before 12 weeks and their chart shows they are pregnant. I talked with her about how no studies show a correlation with massage causing pregnancy loss in the first trimester. I even talked with her about training for the staff.

She offered an 80-minute massage to me. She really wanted to keep me and my family as members. I told her that we felt like leaving and never coming back. I talked with her about how I wanted to file a complaint with the state as well. I felt like she was being genuine though and accepted her offer with a few conditions.

I explained that I needed a therapist that wouldn’t stop if I started crying during the session. She gave me a recommendation of a therapist and stated this person was great. I told her that I needed this therapist to know that I had a pregnancy loss and not to ask me questions about it or talk with me about it. She stated she would talk with the therapist before I came in.

I also asked her to talk with Erika as I felt that Erika was probably hurt that I didn’t schedule with her. I explained to her why I didn’t schedule with Erika and asked her to talk with her. She told me that Erika felt responsible as if her massage caused the miscarriage. I explained that I hadn’t seen Erika in two months and there was no way her massage could have caused this miscarriage.

Amanda gave me her personal cell phone number again and told me to text or call it to schedule the massage. I felt confident she would take care of these issues for me. This was a Tuesday. I scheduled a massage for Saturday.

I was very disappointed when nothing had been passed on to my massage therapist and Erika. When I went in for the massage, my therapist asked me how I was doing. I assumed she knew what happened so I responded with, “I am doing as well as expected.” When she placed her hand on me and asked me what was going on, I immediately changed my tune and told her all was well. It was apparent she had no idea.

When I checked out after the massage, Amanda was there. I asked her if she had talked with Erika. She said she had not. She apologized and said she would take care of it right away. I felt more distrust. It was very important to me that she talked with Erika right away. She even said she would do it on Tuesday. Erika had been worrying for days about what happened when she didn’t have to be. I was upset and disappointed.

The massage was great and I was very happy to be accommodated but there were certain needs that weren’t met. I think Hand and Stone Spa failed miserably with my personal situation as well as my pregnancy loss. I really hope that Allison was reprimanded for the treatment (or lack thereof) that I received as well as for not following policy. I fear that wasn’t addressed either considering none of the other issues were addressed.

Amanda had said that she talked with her district manager and corporate about what happened. Did she? I think that may be my next step. Honestly, I hope Hand and Stone Spa sees this blog. They could use some training on pregnancy loss and how to help women through this. There is a market for massage following pregnant loss. Massage is very important to the healing process but there is no healing when a woman is treated as I was. There is more trauma. If there is a next time, I will use the massage therapists on the provider list at Dragonflies For Ruby.

If you have experienced pregnancy loss, massage can be an integral part of your healing. It is important to find a caring and compassionate therapist. If you are in the Denver Metro area, I have recommendations. If not, ask some of your pregnancy loss friends and family member who they might recommend.

– Breaking the silence of First Trimester Miscarriage
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