Birth Friendly Workplace

How does a mother’s place of work impact her options when experiencing miscarriage?

The benefits of breastfeeding friendly workplaces are becoming more widely recognized and workplaces are creating intentional places for mothers to pump breastmilk while at work.  With a private room, comfortable chair and stool, and a mini refrigerator to store the milk, mothers can pump and work, both with efficiency.

While this seeming new trend may seem to speak directly to the new mothers with living babies, mothers who experience stillbirth also too experience lactation, and her pumping of her breastmilk is an option the newly bereaved mother may consider.

I believe that breastfeeding friendly workplaces are only a start to the incredible gaps in workplace support that mothers endure.  That there are substantial disparities in parental rights in the workplace is arguably no more glaringly apparent than the mother who is experiencing birth early in pregnancy.

Obstetricians know it.  The birth of a baby not alive in the first trimester can, without medical assistance, be quite unpredictable.  Labor can seem to start, then stall, then seem to disappear altogether, for hours or even days.  A mother may only know she’s in labor by the unanticipated blood she encounters.

Because this journey can seem to be an unpredictable, delayed, exaggerated stretch of torment, agony and blood, it can seem quite impractical for the mother to simply wait at home throughout the entire labor and birth of her beloved baby.

“I don’t want to give birth at work.”

This aspect of the mother’s life holds a substantial impact on a very intimate and important family decision.

And so mothers may choose D&C, a medically assisted birth.

D&C – in fact, all medically assisted birth options – are incredibly important and they are needed.

What I propose though, is that the family make a family decision that is not quite so greatly impacted by their workplace.


What would a birth friendly workplace look like?

Here are some special considerations for the mother who is able and chooses to labor without more medical assistance, and who spends some of that laboring while at work:

  • Time off however possible
  • FMLA for all families
  • Considerations for staff who need to work in uniform or dress code
  • An individual bathroom option (rather than or in addition to stalls)
  • Non-automatic flush
  • A family member or SBD doula to meet the mom at work
  • Someone at work who is SBD certified to build a company emergency kit and who can serve well

These are just a couple of ideas for a very complicated challenge both to the workplace and to families.  Because every single minute an American mother experiences miscarriage, we need to gain more awareness of how to support well.  We are all impacted and we all need to engage: individuals, neighbors, co-workers, medical staff, and more.  We all have an opportunity to participate to bring love into an impossible journey.

We have birth kit suggestion lists here at stillbirthday for birth in any trimester, and we have speakers who can present a workplace birth preparedness presentation to your place of work.





Love Wildly Pittsburgh



We’re bringing Love Wildly to Pittsburgh!

{ The When }

Friday, November 6

  • {check in / arrive 3pm}
  • Love Wildly Registration table opens at 5:30pm {receive Welcome Packet}
  • Men’s event:  7pm – 8:30pm

Saturday, November 7

  • Love Wildly morning check-in / gather at 7:30am
  • Ladies breakfast begins at 8am
  • First ladies session starts 8:45am
  • Break 10am-10:15am
  • Session transitions into lunch time
  • PIZZA PARTY!  All Love Wildly moms and family invited {12:30pm – 1:30pm}
  • Afternoon session 1:45pm – 3:30pm
  • prep break 3:30pm – 4:45pm
  • LOVE WILDLY CEREMONY!  5pm – 6pm
  • conclusion, depart for your own dinner, and release to Love Wildly

{ The Where }

Hilton Garden Inn, Cranberry PA 2000 Garden View Lane | Cranberry Township Pennsylvania 16066

  • You can visit their website and choose if you’ll like to reserve one night or two.  If reserving Friday night only, you can easily check out at their designated time on Saturday and still be able to participate in all of the Love Wildly events, and the same is true if you’ll prefer to check in only on Saturday.
  • You can utilize our facebook event page if you’ll like to partner up to arrange carpooling or room sharing.
  • Pittsburgh International Airport also has a maps page with airport and baggage claim info

{ The Who }

Love Wildly Pittsburgh will be led by Heidi Faith of stillbirthday and is hosted by The Promise – Pittsburgh’s Perinatal Palliative Care Initiative.  Follow The Promise on facebook or visit their website to learn more of the precious ways they come alongside families to offer tangible love.

{ The What }

Love Wildly is a global paradigm movement established by stillbirthday to reach firstly mothers as well as spouses, siblings, and others in our trust circles, of all cultures, continents and circumstances to reinforce the truth that grief is messy but the griefholder is beautiful, that the chasm is dark but the worn heart of the bereaved holds light, life and love.  To Love Wildly is to believe that you are precious, valuable, and treasured even against all accusations, attacks, betrayals and condemnation that – even self-inflicted – seem to thrust you into the imprisonment of the engulfing shadows of guilt, doubt, and shame.  To dare to believe that you are worthy of love, even when such belief seems the most ridiculous or radical.  To speak love upon your soul even when it doesn’t make sense.

Stay tuned here for more updates!


{ Thank you to our Fundraising Supporters! }

Because of the generous support of the following organizations, the first 20 completed registrations are only $50!  This is a HUGE savings for a weekend of transformation and love!

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{ The Registered }

  • Heather K – $25
  • Karen T – fully registered!
  • Crystal N – fully registered!
  • Crystal N: Stephanie C – fully registered!
  • Stephanie N, Hope through Birth – fully registered!
  • Alicia W – fully registered!
  • Paige G, Daisy Doula Birth Services – fully registered!
  • Skye D – fully registered!
  • Missy R – fully registered!
  • Lauren M – fully registered!
  • Lauretta C – fully registered!
  • Lauren Mc – fully registered!
  • Nadine – fully registered!
  • Kelsey L – fully registered!
  • Alyssa Mc. – fully registered!
  • Kelsey L friend – fully registered!


There are no refunds for partial or complete payments, as funding is immediately applied toward event related expenses.



November 6 & 7, 2015

October 25 Remembrance

It’s today!


Thank you so very much to Jen Cantrell, SBD for capturing this photo of OUR FLAG flying over the US Capitol on October 25, 2014 in honor of Proclamation 5890!

Please click here to read Proclamation 5890.

Remembering Proclamation 5890

Families all over the world who have been personally impacted by pregnancy and infant loss gather to hold vigils throughout the month of October, and most especially on October 15, a day known as International Remembrance day.

October was declared Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month in 1988 by then President Ronald Reagan.

So stillbirthday, with help from Missouri Senator Roy Blunt and Senator Claire McCaskill, is arranging for an American flag to be flown over the United States capitol on October 25, the date that Proclamation 5890 was signed.

Thank you, President Reagan, for honoring all families impacted by pregnancy and infant loss.

Please click here to read Proclamation 5890.





A mother experiences a pregnancy and infant loss literally every minute in the United States, many occurring at approximately 12 weeks gestation.  The approximate size of baby in utero at 12 weeks gestation is about the size of a plum.  If the number of American losses annually were represented in plums, laid side by side across the US capitol grounds (approximately 2 miles) it would take 24 rows of plums lined fully across the entire grounds.

24 rows

The pink & blue ribbon, for Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness & Remembrance

The M0M Center

The M0M Center is stillbirthday headquarters, and you are invited to visit.


The name of the center is M {zero} M, but this post is labeled as M {oh} M to help you navigate correctly.





Unconditional Love

Contributed by: Deana Ruston, SBD


This song makes me wonder—and maybe even just a little helps me realize—what it’s like for a family finding out their baby has a life limiting diagnosis. Not everyone experiences the same emotions, but this song speaks volumes to me about the unconditional love a family has for their precious child.

Vividly taking us inside to hear what emotions and thoughts a Mother may have, this song is such an voice to families facing imaginable pain and heartbreak. Their world, which may have been of cheer and happiness, may be clouded with hurt and sorrow. Some may worry about getting too close to their child, only for them to not survive outside the womb. What heartbreak these families face. These children are worthy and we love them no matter what. We want you too, to be free and love your child no matter what. Please, open up and let the love grow—we’re here for you. There others here who have walked this path, you are not alone and we’re ready when you are. Take a seat, grab a cozy blanket and breathe. It is all okay. We are here now.

This song to me is an anthem. Katy Perry has brought to the forefront emotions experienced by families all around the world. Our unconditional love for our families, no matter what, is so, so important.


What is Death Midwifery?

The global community of birth professionals continue to wrap love around the Gaskin family, and it is a time many of us who are birth doulas or birth midwives are drawing the parallels, some for the first time, between supporting during birth, and supporting during death.

But, there is a need for a clarification of terms, so I’d like to explain those.  Let’s step out of birth and death altogether for a moment and I’ll compare these terms to a life event that also has parallels – a wedding.

Maid/Matron of Honor – someone who provides emotional and moral support.  Someone who listens to you, assess what needs you might have, and presents you with options to choose from.  This person is most commonly a “she”, but, yours may not be; for our example she will be.  You can call her at midnight to tell her that you’re scared, or excited, or both, and she’ll remind you that no matter what, she is with you.  That you can do this.  She’ll remind you of your strengths, remind of your support, and she’ll rally the team together to strengthen and support you.  And if she’s really good, she’ll also have many of the same skills as your wedding planner.  If you’re not already super close before your big day, you’ll probably be close because of it.  That’s a doula.

Justice of Peace/Preacher/Chaplain – on the beautiful day, this is the person you stand in front of to deliver your commitment as a unit.  You pick this person out beforehand, making sure they see your vision and that they’re a good match for it.  You agree on the date, and you meet together.  You stand before this person on your big day.  You are the one making the vow, not this person.  But this person is essential in making sure your vow actually happens.  That’s a midwife.

Courthouse – let’s just toss this in there because even though it’s not the fun part, it is a formality.  Does your beloved have a criminal record?  Are you agreeing to a prenuptual agreement?  Do you file taxes?  The fine print.  The stuff that takes all the pretty out of your day and puts it into documentation.  The legal stuff.  For extreme simplicity’s sake, we’ll call that the hospital, the doctors, and/or the laws in your area surrounding your birthing choices.

I just don’t want the value of what Ina May Gaskin has brought to the birthing choices of mothers to become diluted as I’m seeing the mistakes in droves as people are comparing her experience right now to death midwifery, but doing so by erroneously speaking of the role of a “death midwife” as “bereavement doula“.

Here at stillbirthday, we train and certify both, birth & bereavement doulas, and, what others are calling death midwives – but we call ourselves midwives of thanatology.  So let me address these two terms.

A birth & bereavement doula provides support prior to birth, during birth, during the welcoming, during the farewell, and during the healing journey.  This support is provided in much of the same capacity as our maid of honor, looked at earlier.  You can learn more about our birth & bereavement doula certification program, here.

A midwife of thanatology, also provides support prior to birth, during birth, during the welcoming, during the farewell, and during the healing journey.  In fact, the SBD doula program is a prerequisite into the midwife of thanatology program.  But the midwife of thanatology is comparable to chaplain in the example above, and in fact we call this program our SBD Chaplaincy program.  A midwife of thanatology helps you exert your rights as you prepare for the event of your farewell.  Your local birth midwife knows your local laws regarding where you can birth, with whom, and under what laws.  Your local midwife of thanatology, knows your rights of sepulcher, knows the difference between hospital policy and local law regarding your time with your deceased beloved, knows where you might bury or cremate, and can officiate the farewell, exactly as a chaplain might speak at a funeral.

Let us all understand that birth doula and midwife are not the same, and neither is birth & bereavement doula and midwife of thanatology.  And let us understand that all of these roles are of tremendous value.




This is what was shared via our facebook page yesterday:

“Ina May Gaskin is in many ways a trailblazer of non-medical childbirth options and is known as a mother of midwifery.
While the world celebrates her contributions to the options in childbirth, facilitating bonding and joy between mothers and newborns, her first birth resulted in her beloved newborn son, Christian, dying in her arms.
I honor Ina May not even for her work, but for her motherhood journey.
Today, everyone who celebrates Ina May for her contributions to birthing choices is gathering to pray and send healing thoughts as it is being reported that her beloved Stephen is nearing his death.
Ina May, I am so sorry for the death of your son, Christian.  Thank you for bringing joy to mothers through your own motherhood experiences, that you see the value of birth intrinsically, the value of mothers loving and connecting with our babies, no matter what, and for finding ways to facilitate that.
May these moments with your beloved Stephen now be filled with significance to you, even joy, and may you be given a space to just authentically honor your journey, free from the scrutiny and publicity that has chased you since your first birth, and may you just find spiritual and emotional rest in these moments as your beloved may be entering his.”

Held by Natalie Grant

Contributed by: Deana

As a part of the SBD News Team


The song Held by Natalie Grant is such a powerful song. I don’t know the intended meaning behind this song but this is what it means to me. Natalie is singing about the loss of a baby at 2 months old. She speaks about being held by a higher power, perhaps God, helping her through the pain and grief. She sings of the pain of losing something or someone so sacred and important to her. The grief process is not instant. It takes a lot of time. For her, it’s a nightmare that a baby would die. She doesn’t know why it would happen to someone, it’s unfair. There is a promise that you’ll be loved by those around you. Family, friends, God or another higher power are there to guide you and support you through the tough times. Slowly with time, you see tomorrow. Hope is here. You are held, and loved. Hope comes through the suffering of losing a baby, at any trimester. This song has been the song I listen to during tough times. It always calms me down and brings me back to God, and remember I am strong and can get through anything. We at Stillbirthday are here for you. We’ll hold you and support you in any way that we can.


 What does the song Held mean to you?

Deana is a thanatology student at King’s University College, in London, Canada. She would like to work with families who have experienced prenatal, infant loss and pregnancy in any trimester. Starting in January 2014, she will begin her Stillbirthday Doula training.


I Love You Photos

If you are looking for a creative way to express your love for your baby(ies), we have a beautiful project opportunity for you to be a part of.

To begin, you can choose from either 2 yards of I Love You ribbon, or 1 I Love You feather.

{Update: only 2 feathers left and the ribbon has all been sold.}

This alone is a precious keepsake – just look at the gorgeousness!


Choose to either have one feather, or two yards of ribbon. 

Then, after you have your I Love You ribbon or feather, you can take a photo of it, showing how it is depicting your message of love.

Consider just a few of the many ways to say I Love You with either item:

  • You, saying I Love You to your baby.
  • Your baby, saying I Love You to you.
  • Your baby, saying I Love You to their siblings.

Share your I Love You photo that includes your ribbon or feather, and when you do, one person’s photo will be randomly selected for this gorgeous, customizable, cast iron Love Lock that also comes with a key.

About the Love Lock:

Did you long to have a personal and meaningful farewell celebration in your baby’s honor?  This heavy, durable, and real working Love Lock is customized and can have your baby’s name, or anything else special to you, painted onto it.  Here are a couple of things you can do with this special lock and key duo:

  • You can keep them together.
  • You can bury the lock in a beautifully special place to you.  And you can hold on to the key.
  • You can affix the real, working, cast iron {heavy and durable} lock to a symbolic structure such as a fence or post, and you can bury, toss or treasure the key.  This is an old custom called Love Locks.

This lock and key duo is valued at over $50.

We will take the first 5 feather photos and the first 5 ribbon photos for this opportunity, with one photo selected.

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Grief is the hardest challenge I have ever been faced with.

You would think, that bereaved mothers share something universal, something collective, and that we each, would treasure our cup that we carry into our global community pool of tears.  That we would treasure one another’s cup, as well.

The reality is, we don’t.

We speak of the things our loved ones can do better, but we are hurting one another within our own circle.

We try to push others out of the circle.  We try to push ourselves out of the circle.

Divisiveness becomes a way to protect our very fragile wounds.  We bereaved mothers often discriminate, often divide, based on:

  • age of the baby.
  • family structure.
  • choices made prior to the birth.
  • choices made during birth.
  • choices made after the birth.
  • definition of loss.
  • religion.

And while I tend to think that these divisions most often come from a place of fear, what we need to know, is that these divisions fester something terrible, in ourselves, and in each other.


I don’t deserve to be part of community, because _________

  • I’m too young.
  • I wasn’t as far along as you.
  • I’m lesbian.
  • I’m older than you.
  • I’m not married.
  • I didn’t do what you did, or what you would have done.
  • I’m not religious.
  • I’m confused about what I believe.
  • I am religious.
  • I should have known better, and I should have done things differently.
  • I haven’t had enough losses.
  • I’ve had too many losses.
  • I have more to be thankful for or happy about than others.
  • I have made mistakes, and I am unforgiveable.


These are all lies!

Shame is a facet of our grief.  It just is.  And as we peer into our cup of tears, we are terrified to think that ours is the only one that holds shame.  We fear that if we dare pour our cup into the community pool, that what we have to bring will taint the well.  It will stain the waters and will ruin the gathered source of healing.

So we try to scoop it out.  We try to pat our damp hands on our sides, hoping we got it all out, hoping nobody will see.

And our community source of healing is terribly dry because of it.

The more options we learn that there are, prior to birth…

The more options we learn that there are, during birth…

The more options we learn that there are, after birth…

…the more that shame can loom in, casting out a shadow that we are tempted to flee and hide behind.

Shame, just like grief, is something we have silently learned to run from, but shame, just like grief, is something that stillbirthday invites you, with tenderness and with sensitivity, to learn to lean into.

I am the founder of stillbirthday, and I strive continually to find the next option, the latest choice a family may have, the newest wonderfully healing opportunity for families enduring their darkest of days.  And in the process, I can say with all certainty that yes, there are things I would do differently in my own darkest of days, if I could do them all over.

But the process also reminds me, that it’s never too late.

I am worthy of healing.

I have beautiful choices now.

I can learn to mother my mourning.

I can learn to release myself from the bondage of shame.

I can remember and I can believe, that we are all, in this together.

With a little bit of courage, with our circle of community and with a little bit of creativity, we can show love – to one another, to our babies, and to ourselves.

 We do not have to forget or forfeit our own experiences, morals, interpretations or beliefs, nor do we need to have others forget or forfeit their own.  We can give – and get – love, just the way we are.  And by so doing, we will deepen, we will grow, we will heal.


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