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The Interdisciplinary Work of Lyss Warmland.

Posts tagged #grief

My grief has looked a lot like
taking the long way home,
ugly sing-screaming to a band all
my friends hate

“I don’t care about anything as much as I used to”

the words another grad school reject
wrote feeling like the ones
I wish i’d written
instead of words with no consistent pattern
no structure
no plan.

But I guess when it comes to grief,
I’ve learned that no plan I make
no work I do
is going to change the simple fact that
I lost them
I might lose this one-
but maybe I won’t.

So when I ugly sing along with
someone who doesn’t know I exist
about beings I’ve lost who never existed
I feel the spark carried by my voice
her words
my meaning
I let it light the candle that
holds some space for hope.

(quote from “Overbite” by Sincere Engineer.)

Check out my interview with Maureen Pollard!

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Maureen has worked in the field of social work since 1991. In private practice since 2011, Maureen is a specialist in traumatic bereavement, helping individuals, families and groups navigate life after losses, including pregnancy and infant loss, child death, suicide loss, homicide loss and sudden or accidental death. Maureen is a certified Compassionate Bereavement Care provider, and she is trained in RTS Bereavement Care (Resolve Through Sharing). In June 2019, she published The Twentieth Year: A Memoir of Miscarriage, a book that tells the story of her journey through multiple miscarriages to parenthood, and how her personal grief experiences influences her work.

 

Social work website: maureenpollardmsw.com 

Author website: maureenmwrites.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/MaureenPollardMSW/

Twitter and Instagram handle: @rhythmsinlife 

We talk about:

  • What inspired her to get into social work and specialize in the things she does
  • What kind of training she draws from in her professional practice
  • Her book, “The Twentieth Year: Memoirs of Miscarriage”
  • The process of writing and publishing her book
  • Being public about recurrent miscarriage and early pregnancy
  • Pregnancy after recurrent miscarriage
  • Grief and peoples’ reactions to it
  • How to maintain professional boundaries as someone working with people who have also experienced recurrent pregnancy loss (and other types of traumatic loss)
  • What Maureen wants people to know about recurrent pregnancy loss
  • What Maureen wants youth and parents of youth to know about mental health and suicide
  • How Maureen’s work has contributed to her being well

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Featured Music by:

Sincere Engineer
David Newland
Ellen Torrie
Cale Crowe

 

LISTEN TO THE EPISODE HERE!

 

When I was a little girl,
I lived in a house with a big garden
that gently sloped into a ravine.
Across the water, lived a willow tree
and when my brother and I
followed the stream against the current,
it lead to an open field full of
huge rocks- islands to our childminds
and we swore the water there was magic.

When mom got sick,
I used to walk up stream to
sit, skinny legs folded up against my chest,
smoke cigarettes, let the stream that
has held me my entire life
hold me then

I questioned a lot then, but never that the water
was magic.

And when she died,
I planted a tree beside her grave
one with purple flowers
like the ones in her garden
like the ones on the kitchen table
passed down from her mother to her
the ones that died when she did

because I’ve never been great with houseplants
but I know a few things about putting down roots.

When I grew up to experience
the first bookend loss,
I drove to Lake Ontario
just like she would have done
and scoured the shore
for a jar full of lake glass
and with my own hope for comfort,
the kind I’ve always felt
rooted in water,
I almost forgot to listen
to the messages she sent through the lake-

Something about collecting and purging
what fills her without any control of her own.

So when the second bookend loss came,
it was waterless winter ice
and it’s taken until spring to thaw
and I can’t help but think that maybe

if I stop

listen

connect

my body

I
motherless child
I
childless mother

might find that I can
simultaneously be
mother-child
to the elements that have held me my whole life
and maybe by feeling held,
I can hold her too.

Check out my interview with Smokii Sumac!

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We talk about:

– His book, “You Are Enough: Love Poems for the End of the World”
– His work on his Ph.D in Indigenous Studies
– Grief
– The way he uses social media
– Lots of reading recommendations!

and more!

Smokii’s Reading List (in the order discussed on this episode!)

1. Indigenous Voices Awards Finalists

2. “Letter to an Emerging Indigenous Writer” by Daniel Heath Justice (Cherokee)

3. My Body is a Book of Rules by Elissa Washuta (Cowlitz)

4. Anything and Everything by Richard Van Camp (Tłı̨chǫ) including his latest Moccasin Square Gardens

5. the Marrow Thieves Cherie Dimaline (Métis)

6. Indian Love Poems by Tenille Campbell (Dene/Métis)

Featured Tunes:

True Trans Soul Rebel by Against Me!
Atmomsphere by Miesha and the Spanks
Night Cruise by The Lonely Parade
Loon Song by Tara Williamson

Check out my conversation with Maggie Robbins!

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Can’t wait to have a friend I love very much back on tonight to follow up on our conversation (about things like radical inclusivity and rape culture in gynaecology) from episode 46.

At 8pm on Northumberland 89.7 FM Small Town Radio tonight, tune in to join Maggie Robbins and I while we talk about:
– the response from our previous episode (we got stories!)
– an update on Maggie’s battle with cancer
– Trauma as a means of individual and community healing
– parenting through trauma
– leaving space for reaction
– balancing reaction and response
– cannabis as part of a wholistic wellness plan

Featured Tunes:
Let’s Fall in Love by Tiny Stills
Baby I by Amy Millan
Done by Frazey Ford
Dancing in the Dark by The Ruth Moody Band

 

Check out my interview with Avril Ewing!

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We chat about:

  • What brought Avril to Port Hope
  • Avril’s favourite things about Northumberland County
  • The various work Avril does both professionally and as a volunteer
  • The seasonal offers she has going on as an officiant
  • Working in the funeral industry
  • How to grieve effectively
  • What to say (and what not to say) to someone who is grieving
  • Owning a business and being a woman in business
  • Emotional labourand more!

    Featured Tunes:

    The Funeral Party by The Cure
    I do I do I do I do I do by ABBA
    Lovers in Dangerous Times by Barenaked Ladies
    Hasn’t Hit Me Yet by Blue Rodeo

Content- This essay contains my miscarriage stories and suggestions about what to say to people in your life when they’re miscarrying. This advice is based on my own experiences, but you know your friends best. This is meant to be a starting point and also to generally start more conversations about miscarriage in general, because it’s more common than we think…
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Almost a year ago, my partner and I decided we were ready to have a baby. We’d always talked about wanting a family, and we were at a place where we felt that financially and emotionally we were ready to start it. After 6 months, I took a test and found that it was faint, but positive. I tested religiously the next few mornings and watched the line darken- just a bit. Within another week and a half I was bleeding and a visit to the doctor confirmed that my HCG levels had fallen to 4. They called it a chemical pregnancy.

Two months later, I was pregnant again. I hoped that this was the time, but I was secretly waiting for blood. I started to feel sick, I monitored my HCG levels, and then started to see them rise more slowly than they should. I went to the the hospital for an unrelated reason, and when I told them I was 7 weeks pregnant, they offered to do an ultrasound for me to confirm that my organs were all in decent shape, related to my reason for being there. They weren’t looking for  heartbeat, but they also didn’t find one. I was referred to an OB who sent me for a more in depth ultrasound. It was confirmed that there was no heartbeat. I opted to wait to miscarry naturally, hoping for some miracle baby that was just hiding. A few weeks later, after a visit with my midwife, who I was planning to get my care from, where she answered all my questions, I got my final confirmation. My next choice was to take a medication to help pass the pregnancy or to do a D&C. I was still hoping not to have a D&C, so I tried the pills.  

They caused some bleeding, but nothing like what I was expecting. A scan a few days later proved me right, I was still pregnant, but there was no baby. I tried another version of the medication and I had a day of pure hell where I thought it was all over with, but my next follow up showed that there was still tissue inside of me. They told me they would do a D&C that day and I texted my partner asking him to come to the hospital. When he had to go to work, my dad showed up to drive me home and make me soup and walk my dog. When my partner got home, he sat with me and we talked for a while and then went to bed early.

**Important side note: the “abortion pill” became approved and available in Canada over the last few years and is only covered by six provinces. Without OHIP, each round of drugs would have cost me $337.25.

All in all, it’s been one hell of an experience trying to expand our family. My partner and I had been of the mindset that is was something to be open about with the people close to us, since it was something that was a huge deal in our life and support (or at least understanding) would be nice in the case of a loss. What we found when we told people about our losses, was that most women we knew had their own miscarriage stories. We also found that, like with any loss, people rarely know what the “right” thing to say is.

The short answer is that there’s no right thing to say because there’s nothing that can be said to change that your friend/family member/whatever has experienced a loss. That’s not always the most practical (or sensitive) thing to say in the moment though. The only thing I heard more than people’s own miscarriage stories was “people really need to talk about it more”. And we do, and I gotta tell you, it felt good to hear that my story wasn’t unusual. because grief is lonely enough without acknowledging that miscarriage is such a common reason for so many people’s grief.

Here are some ideas for things to say when someone in your life has had a miscarriage:

1. I’m sorry you’re going through this.

As someone who has experienced a decent amount of significant deaths around me, I feel pretty confident saying that this is solid way to respond in any situation where someone is grieving for any kind of loss. You acknowledge that they’re going through something and it’s appropriate, regardless of your relationship with the person or how close you are to them.

2. Do you want to talk about it?

If you’re fairly close with this person, it’s worth asking if they want to talk about it if you have the emotional capacity and physical time to take that on. If you don’t have that emotional capacity or physical time, just don’t offer.

This shows that you’re able to hold that space for your person and encourages them to process what they’re experiencing. Even early loss can feel like crap (to say the least) when you’ve been trying to get pregnant and found out that you were. Some people don’t process through talking about it, or they may just not  want to in that moment. By asking, you’ve given them the option to talk about it or not with you.

3. Do you want some company? I’m available at [time, days].

This is another way of identifying a way you feel capable of being supportive. Sometimes it can be lonely when you’re grieving and it helps to have people around physically. Sometimes it’s nice to have a distraction from feeling bad to talk about completely unrelated things.

Miscarriage can be an intense experience, both physically and emotionally, at times, but it’s important to consider that even grieving people are whole humans and their grief isn’t all that’s going on for them. It can be a really helpful way of supporting your person.

4. I get that you’re going through a lot right now. Take whatever time you need.

We live in a society where we put a lot of pressure on women to carry on with their lives during their pregnancy, especially early pregnancy, which people are typically expected to hide. My experience of early pregnancy was that it can be pretty challenging to carry on with everything in your life when you’re exhausted and nauseous. Miscarriage can be painful, physically and emotionally.

Sometimes, knowing that people realize you need a little more gentleness or time or space or care can be really helpful, whether that’s an extra day off work or understanding around missing a meeting.

5. What kind of soup do you like?

Bringing people food is rarely a bad idea, especially if they’re sad or not feeling well. Soup is warm, comforting, and most people like at least one kind. Be a friend. Bring soup.