FAQ

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I have received a number of questions regarding what stillbirthday is, and what I want to do with it.  In no particular order, here are some of those “behind the scenes” sort of questions.

How did stillbirthday even get started?

I often say that stillbirthday is the legacy of my fourth child, who was born in the first trimester on April 19, 2011.  However, the foundational values instilled in the global resource reflect my entire motherhood journey and therefore each of my children.  The day our fourth child was pronounced dead and I gave birth to my dear baby, my husband and I immediately knew that we wanted to do something to help support just one other family not feel as alone as we did.  I waited, anxiously, for the direction to be revealed.  At the end of July, 2011, I heard that direction as a prompting from the Holy Spirit, and started a free blog, and on August 1, 2011, stillbirthday was born.  The name of the website comes from the logo, the zero candle and angel cake, which I bought the morning of my child’s funeral.  If you look closely at the photo, you will see the flowers of the cemetary and my child’s casket.

Does stillbirthday only support families enduring stillbirth?

My fourth child died and was born via miscarriage, at 12 weeks gestation.  While the name “stillbirthday” seems to indicate that the primary support is for stillbirth, we in fact support families enduring any pregnancy or infant loss: miscarriage (of any name), elective abortion (for any reason), stillbirth, or neonatal death.  Our support looks a little different between these things, because while they all share important similarities, they also each hold significant unique factors.  We seek to serve in the spaces where birth and bereavement may meet.

What is stillbirthday’s position on elective abortion?

Mothers facing elective abortion, for any reason (including secondary circumstances such as lack of employment or other support, or direct circumstances such as a doctor indicating that early induction is necessary when difficult diagnosis is identified) deserve to be validated for the unique, complex, and difficult position they are in.  Stillbirthday does not in any way serve to downplay the magnitude of this decision; it is not simply about a right to choose, but about the enormity and the difficulty in feeling that a choice is needed.  The SBD birth and bereavement training challenges students of any faith base or of any political position, to approach the needs of a mother facing possible elective abortion with dignity, respect, honesty and support.

I experienced a loss, and felt disappointed, but don’t feel like it was an enormous loss.  Does stillbirthday think that every mother has to feel deep pain?

The approach we provide at stillbirthday is to meet the mother at the deepest well of compassion we have, while allowing the mother the freedom to interpret her experience in her own terms.  If you don’t feel deep pain, your feelings are right for you, and maybe the support you’ll find here will be in the tangible, practical things.  Perhaps you may revisit some of those deeper feelings at a later time.  Whatever your journey in healing looks like, we will be here for you.

Is stillbirthday a Christian website?  Do I have to be Christian to get support here?

The site creator has a personal relationship with God.  You absolutely do not have to, and in fact, you are warmly and respectfully invited to share with me what you may believe, and how your spiritual beliefs have shaped your healing journey, or, how your healing journey may be shaping your spiritual beliefs.  I do believe that God knew even before His first creations way back in the dusty book of Genesis that we wouldn’t get it right; that we – you and I – would stumble and fall.  I believe this because I am a mother and believe even as  I hold my newborn that as she someday toddles to walk she will bear many a dripping knee that scabs over and heals while she learns to trailblaze her life.  I believe that once we were given free will we would need to have a memory map in place so that we could remember who gave such a gift to us in the first place and what the cost of such splendid freedom has been, is, and will be.  I believe that God took great intentional strides to imprint this memory map for us, as a warning and as a hope, carefully weaving the experiences of individuals over many hundred years into an ancient text that would serve as a window into God’s premeditated solution to the exponential consequences of our erroneous uses of this free will.  I believe the Old Testament to be this ancient text, this memory map.  There is great debate over the contemporary relevance of many OT stories and laws, including things like homosexuality or circumcision, but I believe that the core of the Old Testament is that it stands as proof, it as a collective is in preparation of and a reflection of God’s premeditated solution.  I believe God’s premeditated solution, or response to our stumbling, our pride, selfishness, but also our loneliness, abandonment, rejection, our brokenness, was to start a person just as any other from the tiniest seed of implantation, and weave a miracle through even the earliest gestation of this creation.  I believe this miracle, this pregnancy out of wedlock, which was a supernatural implantation, cost his own family everything and that Mary, his mother, was going to be abandoned by her fiancé over it, because unwed mothers have endured challenges throughout history.   I believe it is difficult to understand that Jesus is a miracle, as it was hard for his own family to believe it, and that the further we move into the exponential consequences of our collective and individual stumbling, it can become even more difficult to understand that God is love, that Jesus was a very real person who very really understood that He was going to be murdered but walked to His death still serving others, still touching the contagious, still walking through the valley of the shadow with death alongside anyone who had even a tapping at the door’s amount of curiosity toward him.  I believe that this entire orchestration of events, the hundreds of years previewing a person before he was even born, parallels into our own lives in a way that gives hope, that we were well thought of even before we were born.  I believe that every baby goes to Heaven, unequivocally.  I believe that once you partake of free will you have the right to consciously reject God – I say it again – we each have the right to reject God – it is what makes the gift of free will so terrifyingly precious – because I also believe that God will never reject you.  I believe that those who want you to know about God’s love often get in our own way and often trip things up and make it even more complicated.  I believe that God wants you to know you are loved.  I believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus’ gift to each of us.  I believe that there is great spiritual warfare in childbirth, and even moreso in pregnancy and infant loss, because of the inherent truth that all babies are unequivocally loved and received in Heaven, and that the great challenge is to find joy in our lives after infant death.  I believe infant death is the furthest extreme of disorder in our humanity and that it demands the attention, devotion and compassion of every single living person before we fully understand the impact and magnitude of such loss and fully embrace the hope of joy that is our heartcry.  I believe God has a lot to say about pregnancy and infant loss and is bringing a revival through the unrest of bereaved hearts scrambling to make sense of such devastation.  I believe the most holy walk in bereavement beckons me to cross borders that might otherwise seem strange even in a religious context, to scratch in the sand the memory map so that others of all sojourns in all lands can remember that there is a plan for redemption and a plan for life even before our babies die and that this plan has held true, is holding true and will always hold true even after our babies die.  I believe the first step in mending the exponential consequences of our erroneous uses of our free will is to accept that it is actually a gift, accept that the giver of this gift is God and that this is demonstrated by the sacrificial gift of Jesus.  I believe that if you accept that Jesus really died, that God really brought Jesus back to Heaven, and that the Holy Spirit of Jesus can speak into your heart, whispering the truth of the memory map into your own heart to guide you on your own unique journey, that if you simply – but truly – begin to believe these things, that they will begin to chart a course for your life that if you apply your free will to take, will change the world.  And at the end of that journey, will be a home of eternity, joy, and, our babies.  Of course since there is no crying and only joy in Heaven, I muse lightheartedly, how God designed age in Heaven or what it could be like with so many, many babies and no crying!  Truly, though, and humbly, I want to thank you for listening, for reading what my heart says about your inherent worth.  You are worthy.

I want you to know, my miscarriage experience was the first big blow to my faith.  I collapsed into darkness when my baby died, and had to really find out for myself if the light of God could really be trusted.  I remember vividly the abuses of my childhood, and how since I had become Christian, life had become so safe and wonderful for me.  When my baby died, I felt betrayed by God.  I felt humiliated, abandoned, and angry.  The medical professionals and my own faith based community said things to me and about the death of my baby that were cruel, even if unintentionally.  I felt shattered.  Through deep examination of the dark, through careful study of scripture, I came to see that indeed, God does bring a flicker.  Through time, through my surrender, He gave this flicker the breath it needed to kindle and grow.  I know that not every mother who experiences loss is Christian.  I also know that not every Christian mother who experiences loss will allow God the chance to whisper life back into that candle.  I wanted to blow it out.  I wanted to run.  I understand that for some moms, God feels too distant.  The darkness feels too cold.  They don’t find the flicker.  They don’t believe it is there.  I understand.  There are many things at this website, many forms of support for you.  I hope you find it.  If you have experienced loss and have utlized a practice, a faith or belief system or ritual that has helped you in your healing journey, you are invited to share your experiences and resources with us.  We will be honored to hold them here.  You can share your resources or ask me any questions about my faith at any time, at Heidi.Faith@stillbirthday.com.

What makes stillbirthday successful?

Stillbirthday has a global impact.  Our mission is to step into the moments where birth and bereavement meet, and to support families at birth in any trimester and in any outcome.  Our message is simple: a pregnancy loss is still a birthday.  Success in this journey is measured by the presence of the gentle flame of validation, dignity, love and hope that is held in the presence of darkness, despair, hopelessness and sorrow.   We are all in this together.

whisperers

How can I get involved?

Pregnancy and infant loss is a global issue.  Whatever station of life you are in, you are in a position to help.  You can spread the word about stillbirthday by becoming a Local Representative.  You can engage in collaboration and communication with other families.  You can become a mentor, a doula, or a Love Cupboard coordinator.  You can become trained in providing support.  If you have an item or a service that can be of value to pregnancy and infant loss families, I want to know about it.  You can contribute your resources, your time, or your finances to help stillbirthday reach even more families.  Spend some time looking around the site.  If you are still not sure of how to get involved, use our feedback form and we can explore together how best you can make a positive impact on the hundreds of families who visit stillbirthday each day.

 

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Domestic Violence increases in pregnancy, leading to infant & maternal death.     [Path to Safety]      [Learn More]      [Quickly Exit to a Weather Channel]

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