It’s been not quite two days since our workshop on perinatal loss, and I find myself continually reflecting on the conversations that occurred throughout that day.
I was astonished to learn that research indicates that 1 our of 4 women in this country has a documented pregnancy loss in her medical record, which means that the actual experience of reproductive loss is much, much higher.
A statement from the day that continues to resonate with me is that “working with loss is really about working with life,” that the work before us is learning how to live, fully, lovingly not in spite of our losses, but with them, through them. And that one of the most important tasks of compassionate support – and of compassionate self-care – is to be able to connect with ourselves and with others in the presence of profound loss. To hold both loss and love side by side.
What was so extraordinary about the day was the mix of people who showed up. The workshop was attended by women and family members who had experienced reproductive losses as well as by nurses, physicians, social workers, counselors, doulas, and a wide range of allied health professionals who work within and around childbearing families. To have so many different voices exploring together this immensely complex topic felt like a huge opportunity.
The theme that emerged for me out of day is: we are all in this together. The losses of our patients, clients, and students are not separate from our own losses. We are human beings together in this boat called life, and when we are able to connect, to recognize and make space for the beautifully broken wholeness in ourselves and others, the boat begins to move.
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Loss, compassion, growth, gratitude form a continuous loop. If we can learn how to tap into this loop, we lose the separate particle of identity that is our “self” and become part of the wave that is life.
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Click here for more scenes from our workshop.