Ep 65: Birth After Loss: Coping with Grief, Hormones and Helping Other Mothers

Loss.  A painful subject, but a subject so near to so many women.  With statistics showing that 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage, I feel it’s incredibly important to process these types of events. 

I want to be completely transparent about the content of this episode, as I understand that even the mere mention of miscarriage and infant loss can bring a mother and father to their knees with a wave of grief.  This episode goes into detail about Ashley’s experience with loss, how it affected her life, how it affected her subsequent pregnancy, and how it has changed her as a woman today.  I am so grateful for her willingness to share, and to those who need to hear it, I pray this episode serves as a glimmer of hope, or a message that you are not alone. 


Show Notes:

  • Ashley’s first pregnancy was under the supervision of a traditional OB group.
  • She spent her time considering how she would care for her baby
  • Unfortunately, at 19 weeks, Ashley experienced the pain and grief of miscarrying her little baby.
  • She was taken by complete shock and surprise, as she assumed she was already in the “safe zone”
  • At her follow up appointment after her miscarriage, her OB prescribed her antidepressants without so much as a talk with Ashley about her mental state.
  • What’s worse, the subject of her loss was taboo—she was young, so many of her peers had not experienced such a situation, and though surely well-meaning, she was consoled with many “Well, at least you’re young” and other demeaning phrases.
  • She struggled for 6 years with her grief, with anxiety and depression until she finally found a therapist who helped her through meditation and relaxation practice.
  • She then met her husband, Kevin
  • They became pregnant the first month of trying to conceive
  • Ashley was surprised at the amount of anxiety she experienced during pregnancy
  • She took Hypnobabies and treated it as though it was a college course- using her 3rd trimester to prepare herself for pregnancy and postpartum
  • Ashley felt she could doula herself
  • Unfortunately, she neglected to prepare for early labor and felt lost during this time.
  • After a long early labor and being admitted to the birth center earlier than active labor, she found herself stuck in the fear-pain-tension cycle
  • After a midwife shift change, she felt even more off-kilter
  • Eventually, her midwife broke her water, which provider relief
  • Her labor stalled, and she could see that her family could feel her pain
  • At one point, her midwife, whom she had never met before, bent down to her face and said “Remember—this is not something that is happening to you—this is something that you’re doing.”
  • Ashley began to push immediately after, and baby was born within 20 minutes.
  • Her postpartum experience was incredibly hard, as her husband had to travel to Germany 3 weeks after her baby was born. She moved in with her parents for help.
  • Physically she feels it took about 5 months to return to baseline
  • Psychologically, however, she felt it took more like a year, and even then she still felt misunderstood and uncomfortable
  • Finally, once she weaned her daughter, she noticed one day that she felt back to normal.
  • She waited two years and began to pursue doula work.
  • Now Ashley is certifying as a doula through DONA and Still Birthday, and pursuing a certification in childbirth education, too.



Episode Roundup:

Such a powerful story.  Ashley’s heart for mothers is so apparent, and I’m so grateful for the work that she is doing.


Episode Roundup:

As we roundup this episode, I want to focus on one key aspect:  When we experience loss, it is okay, normal, and right to grieve.  I beg you not to bottle up your feelings.  I beg you to seek help and comfort.  Ashley mentions that it took her six years to finally start to truly work through her grief.  I also want to acknowledge the fact that…. Gosh, people just don’t know what to say, and that can cut so deeply.  Phrases that start with “at least…” are typically not going to end well.  I hope that this can serve as an educating point to those who have not experienced such a situation.  Putting ourselves in the shoes of others can be difficult work, but it’s always worthwhile.

Thank you for tuning into such a powerful episode, my friends.  I’ll see you back here next week.