October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and we are trying to honor each and every one of those losses. Each one has brought significant pain to many people, including grief that is most difficult to acknowledge and navigate. Today’s show focuses on one such loss that has led to the creation of a specific kind of support for thousands.
Lindsey Henke is the founder and Executive Director of Pregnancy After Loss Support. She is a clinical social worker specializing as a reproductive mental health therapist with a focus on the grief and trauma that happens after a perinatal loss and the pregnancy that follows. She is also a writer, wife, and, most importantly, a mother to two beautiful daughters and one sweet boy. Tragically, her oldest daughter, Nora, was stillborn after a healthy full-term pregnancy in December 2012. Lindsey’s second daughter, Zoe, was born healthy and alive in March of 2014. Her writing about life after loss has been featured in Listen to Your Mother, Scary Mommy, Healthline, and The New York Times. Lindsey has had the honor of speaking all over the world on the topic of pregnancy after a previous perinatal loss, including at the 2020 Moms’ Maternal Mental Health Forum 2015, Pregnancy and Infant Death Alliance 2016 Conference, Postpartum Support International 2019 Conference, The 2019 Stillbirth Summit, and at The International Women’s Maternal Mental Health 2019 Conference in Paris. She is currently working on her first book.
How and why Lindsey started Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS), an online support organization for the birth person who is experiencing pregnancy after loss How Lindsey had a stillborn daughter in 2012 after a full-term pregnancy---a devastating and heartbreaking experience How she relied on writing and psychotherapy to help her heal Lindsey’s second pregnancy with her daughter, Zoe, and how she made weekly posts as a blogger Lindsey found that there wasn’t a support space for those experiencing pregnancy after loss How the PALS group was formed and then blossomed into 15 groups for thousands of members How Lindsey digests the research in the field of pregnancy loss to meet the specific needs and wants of the community What’s unique about the experience of pregnancy after loss The insensitive comments that people make during a pregnancy after loss experience The amount of fear and anxiety that occur in pregnancy after loss The balance of grief, fear, and stress, along with joy and hope Knowing when the “expected anxiety” crosses over into the need to seek professional help Invalidating messages that may come from healthcare providers and family members The dance between choosing hope and holding onto fear The circles of grief and how we need to seek support The prevalence of postpartum depression and anxiety in subsequent pregnancies How friends and family can be supportive in validating the experience of the mother Why you should think about what you say and how you say it to someone who has had a pregnancy loss Other steps that family, friends, and healthcare providers can do to give additional support to moms with pregnancy after loss Resources:
Pregnancy After Loss Support
Facebook: Pregnancy After Loss Support