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Couple Communication After a Baby Dies: Differing Perspectives Paperback – October 1, 2008
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'Finally, a book for couples...the authors speak from experience, no sugar coating, an honest, and authentic book for bereaved couples. I love it and know that couples will, too! Life, marriage, and relationships are difficult enough under normal circumstances, when a child dies the complexity and conflict of parental feelings are often insurmountable; this book has all the ingredients to help that relationship survive and thrive.' --Pam Magi RN, Perinatal Bereavement Coordinator since 1988
'As a father and a husband, men are often overlooked after the loss of a baby. We are often thought of as the ones who must be strong and hide our feelings. This book presents the issues that are seldom talked about-- a father s needs, a husband s needs, and the hardships that can impact a couple s relationship following the loss of a child. This can take a toll on the strongest of marriages and relationships. I appreciate Tim and Sherokee s more than 25 years of experience to help couples through this unthinkable tragedy. It is a must read for any couple suffering through the loss of a son or daughter.' --Ryan Doherty, Porter Ann s dad
'Couple Communication After A Baby Dies is a book that is much needed. As I read this book, I found that I could relate to what both Tim and Sherokee thought and felt. Beyond just relating, I learned many powerful lessons in communication. I just wish this book had been around when I was newly bereaved. I see this as a resource that will both bring couples together during a devastating time and also help save marriages.' --Lori Martini, bereaved mother and stillbirth advocate.
About the Author
Sherokee Ilse, a bereaved mother who has experienced a miscarriage (Marama), a stillborn son (Brennan), and an ectopic pregnancy (Bryna), is also the mother of two healthy sons and has been married for over 30 years to David. Motivated by her losses, Sherokee wrote one of the early books on infant loss, Empty Arms: Coping with Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant Death...Surviving the First Hours and Beyond (over 300,000+ copies in print). Since her first loss, she has become an international speaker and trainer on this subject, as well as on general bereavement. She has started a national non-profit organization, served as a consultant, and has been involved on many boards of other pregnancy loss organizations. She has been a guest on national television shows such as Oprah, as well as many regional radio and television shows throughout the world.
Sherokee has written, co-written, or published seventeen books/booklets. Her website is a favorite for both bereaved families and professional careproviders. Sherokee continues her mission to help improve the care of and societies response to those who have a loved one die, especially a child.
Tim Nelson, and his wife Monica, experienced the full-term stillbirth of their second child, Kathleen. Folowing his daughter's death, Tim wrote, A Father's Story - When a Baby Dies, one of the first perinatal loss support booklets for fathers. He also volunteered with the former Pregnancy and Infant Loss Center, eventually serving as president of the board. In the mid 1990's, the communications and design business he co-owns founded a company that publishes and distributes resources worldwide for grieving families and their caregivers -- A Place to Remember.
In 2004, he authored A Gude for Fathers - When a Baby Dies, a pocket-sized resource for bereaved dads. He is also the publisher of Born to Fly - An Infant's Journey to God. Tim is certified by the Grief Recovery Institute as a training specialist and conducts outreach programs for those experiencing change and loss in their lives. He has spoken both nationally and internationally on topics of grief and loss, specifically as they relate to men. He has four living children.
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The authors motivation for writing the book was based on the realization that they weren't the only couples to deal with pregnancy and infant loss. They hope sharing their "intimate journeys" would be useful because not everyone has people outside of their romantic partnerships to relate to in terms of these particular losses.
This is one reason I see this book as such an important resource -- my husband and I did not know any others who had similar losses and didn't have any roadmaps to rely on from others' experiences.
Another important part of the book is the recognizability of how gender differences influence our different ways of coping and dealing with loss. I was aware of how gender can complicate communication but had never really thought about this challenge in terms of the grieving process. For example, they pointed out be difference in men's and women's reaction to stress, i.e. women tend to react by nuturing and men respond out of a flight or fight mentality. I wish we had this information when we were first grieving our losses; it would have helped us understand and accept our different reactions. But, even years later this knowledge from the book has helped me think about many of the tensions in my marriage in a different way.
Even more than just raising awareness of these difference, they give specific tips to help couples improve communication, such as suggesting that women be direct or men letting women talk even if they don't want to listen. After over ten years of marriage, a lot of these suggestions are ones we tend to do already. However, I really hadn't thought about these tips in terms of coping with grief. I also suspect it could go both ways, in which learning to use these strategies to cope with grief can help relationships in other areas.
Finally, I was struck by how they eloquently express how a child's death doesn't bring good into your life-- it is what you do after that tragedy that can bring good into your life and the lives of others. Their book is a testament to this maxim, in which healing, connection, empathy and support can come out of loss. I believe this book can be a source of comfort and guidance for many couples grieving loss.