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Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-day-300x218October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month and October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. On the 15th many families who are living with loss will light a candle at 7pm their time to create a “wave of light” in remembrance of their babies.

At Kobacker House at 800 McConnell Drive, Columbus Ohio 43214, they are hosting a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Art Wall exhibit. The building is open 24/7 and the art will be on the wall on the main floor, just outside of the family kitchen as you walk toward the in-patient unit. The exhibit will be up through the end of October.

They are also hosting two events later this month:

Mourning Walk in the Afternoon, Sunday, October 19, 2pm. This exercise of remembrance will be a reflective, meditative and guided walk on Peggy’s Path surrounding the Kobacker House. The approximate distance is 3/4 mile and involves some hilly paved terrain so please wear comfortable shoes.
Instructor: Sarah Phillips, LISW-S
Location: Kobacker House
Register by phone: (614) 533.6060

Healing Drumming Circle, Sunday, October 26th, 2pm. For thousands of years, drumming has been a part of almost every culture. This ancient ritual remains alive today. Studies reveal that drumming can accelerate physical and emotional healing, boost the immune system, and have a calming effect. Children are welcome. No experience required. Drums will be provided or you may bring your own.
Instructor: Sarah Phillips, LISW-S
Location: Kobacker House
Register by phone: (614) 533.6060

Kobacker House also has an ongoing monthly support group for parents who have lost a baby before, during or within the first year after birth.  The next meeting is November 7th at 7pm and there is no cost. Call for more dates and times: (614) 566-4509

Mount Carmel hosts a Pregnancy & Infant Loss Care Line hosted by chaplains who are specially trained “to provide spiritual and emotional encouragement and support to patients and their families from all faiths and cultural traditions.” The number is:  614-234-5999

They are also taking registrations for their upcoming Coping with Loss Educational Series. “A three-session forum designed for grieving parents and their families who would like to learn more about the normal grief process and how to effectively heal. The meetings include guidance and teaching from trained grief facilitators on practical ways to live with loss and find hope in life.”

To learn more or to register, call 614-234-5999 or e-mail infantloss@mchs.com.

Finally the SID Network of Ohio has a resource page for families struggling with the loss of a baby to SIDS. They have a support group but it may not be meeting again this year. To find out more, contact the Sudden Infant Death Network at 800-477-7437 or by e-mail: Leslie@SIDSOhio.org

For those of you who are grieving, you are in my thoughts. I hope you are able to reach out to find the comfort and support that you need and deserve.



Traumatic Birth services in Columbus

traumatic birthI’ve been talking to some of the wonderful practitioners who serve women who have been through a traumatic birth and hearing lots of people talking about the possible need for a group to serve this specific population. I’ve also heard that there are some other therapists interested in creating that group but I haven’t heard much about where that’s going.

There are already two wonderful resources for women exploring specific challenges of birth experiences, POEM: Perinatal Outreach and Encouragement (for women who are struggling with postpartum depression) and ICAN (for women who have had a cesarean birth) and I think perhaps a traumatic birth might be redundant but I don’t know. I wanted to talk to people in the know and also find out more about the doctors, midwives and therapists who have expertise and a commitment to working with women who have a traumatic birth history. I have a small list of people whose contact information I can confidently share with my clients but I am always happy to add to that list. This includes other therapists because, as I’ve said, good therapy comes down to a good match between client and counselor. If I’m not the right person for a potential client, I want to help her find that right person.

To that end, I’ve set up a meeting and put it on Facebook. (It’s also on the Event Calendar.) On March 13th I’m hosting a casual networking meeting at the Old Worthington Library at 7:30pm. I’m encouraging those interested practitioners to bring their business cards/brochures so that we can all see what’s already out there and discuss what the needs might be (if there are needs not being met).

If you are someone who works with women and is interested in sharing information, learning about who’s out there doing the work or in giving feedback about the needs of this community, please come on by. You can RSVP on the Facebook page but it’s not necessary. If you have questions, please contact me.

Blog for Choice 2013

Blog for Choice 2013A couple of years ago I was walking with an acquaintance and she mentioned a speaker she was hoping to see later that day at a pro-life rally.

“Wouldn’t you be thrilled to see her?” she asked me.

“No,” I said. “I’m pro-choice so even though I value the right of people to disagree with me, I wouldn’t be comfortable at an anti-choice rally.”

My friend said she was surprised to hear this since I’m an adoptive parent. Then she said, “So you wouldn’t be able to counsel a woman who wanted to keep her baby just like I couldn’t work with a woman who wanted to have an abortion.” I explained that pro-choice means exactly the opposite. Pro-choice means what it says: Pro-CHOICE. Of course I commend any woman who chooses to continue a pregnancy because I recognize the validity of her choice. I celebrate when any woman freely makes the decision that is right for her; that’s what reproductive justice is all about.

Being a pro-choice therapist is at the core of my counseling philosophy. Without this central tenet I wouldn’t be able to work with my clients whose thoughts, feelings, spiritual beliefs, cultural backgrounds and experiences vary so widely. I don’t want my clients to live out my ideas about what a good life looks like; I want them to live the lives that they are meant to live and this means empowering them, helping them get solid information about their options, and trusting their decisions.

This is especially important when we’re discussing counseling about family building. Issues of choice go beyond helping a woman consider her options during a crisis pregnancy. Choice is part of decision-making in fertility treatments, family planning, and birth options. Choice is about honoring every woman’s ability to know herself best and to make her own good decisions. Choice is about offering her loving, respectful support whether or not her decision looks like anyone else’s.

Choice also speaks to my commitment to hear individual women’s experiences and to give space for joy and grief and for ambivalence. Family planning, pregnancy, fertility — these are complex, deeply personal issues and our feelings reflect that complexity. Our feelings may change over time. We need space to grow and to bring that growth to our understanding of the paths we’ve taken over the course of our lives.

I support you. I support your right to decide. I am invested in protecting your right to accept or reject any option. I honor your decision-making. I trust you. I am pro-choice.

I’ve written this post in honor of NARAL’s Blog for Choice Day 2013.


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