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Here We Go

“When your fear touches someone’s pain, it becomes pity, when your love touches someone’s pain, it become compassion.”
― Stephen Levine

Donna Rothert, PhD

Five years ago I tried to start writing a book, which came out as little essays, which I turned into blog posts and which I now, with some modifications, have reassembled as a book. Like grief, it wasn’t a straight path.

As we enter Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Awareness month, I am very pleased to announce the release of that book, At a Loss: Finding Your Way After Miscarriage, Stillbirth or Infant Death. I hope it is useful to you or someone you know. Below is the link to Amazon, where it is available as a paperback and e-book. It is also available through other online retailers.

The book has an instagram account: atalossbook

As always, I very much appreciate you being on this journey with me. My plan for Seeing Thestrals is to return with periodic posts, and I look forward to seeing you here.

Knocked Down and Facing Up

“I guess we’re all one phone call from our knees.” –Matt Kearney, “Closer to Love”


It feels strange to know that you’re about to have the worst day of your life to date. That’s one of the thoughts I remember having after hearing the words: “There’s no movement and there’s no heartbeat.” And it’s disorienting to see the world flip-flop and dump out the contents of the future that’s living inside your head and heart.

My first perinatal loss was over twelve years ago.  “Perinatal loss” is the best label I currently have for a category of pain that includes miscarriage, stillbirth, termination of a baby due to prenatal diagnosis of a medical condition, newborn death and other reproductive loss.  I was at 22 weeks gestation and the loss was discovered during a routine exam. That evening I was sent to the hospital to have labor induced. After I delivered my daughter the next day, I had time to hold her and look at her.  The cause of death was later found to be a blood clot in the umbilical cord.  Something that doesn’t happen often, but happens.

My second loss was six months later, at eight weeks gestation- a miscarriage that required some extra time and a number of medical appointments to work through physically. They were similar and different experiences. They were devastating, surreal — and ultimately, to my surprise, bearable.

The life events pertaining to my losses have taken me to some challenging and unanticipated places as a woman, mom and psychotherapist. My experience has carved out places within me that resonate when I hear the stories of those who have lost someone so small — and yet something so big — that it brought them to their knees. It has also made me passionate about giving voice to these experiences that are all too often invisible or minimized by society.

This blog is an extension of my life experience and clinical work with perinatal bereavement.  It includes thoughts from both the couch and therapist’s chair about to what it’s like to live the hours, days, weeks, months and years after losing their baby. It is for those who see the delineation in their lives between the time when they were expecting and the time they had to start living in a very unexpected new reality. It’s for those who need to know they are not alone, those that need to know there is hope for feeling better and those who want to continue to understand how baby loss fits into the story of their lives.

What can you expect from future posts?  Brief articles and notes on living and growing after the loss of a baby, including the aspects that can help us heal and do more than survive. This will range from big-picture ideas to specific and practical matters, including the variety of thoughts, feelings, relationship issues, existential crises, weird twists and turns, beauty and flashes of grace that happen to those who lose and keep living.