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What Is Grief Work?

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By Nancy W. (Part 1 in a series) The classic grief process In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote her first book, On Death and Dying. She identified stages of grieving: shock and denial, sadness, anger, bargaining and acceptance. At first it was thought that people all went through them in some particular order … time taught Elisabeth and many others that there is absolutely no order … that a person can experience all of these things in the space of a few hours and over and over in different orders. There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, but some ways are healthier, and lead […]

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Venus and Mars: Crucial Differences in Grieving

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By Nancy W. (Part 2 in a series) There are some crucial things to understand about the process you are embarking on. First, no two people ever grieve in the same way. This is because nearly every culture on earth prescribes different roles by sex and biology. Men protect, women nurture. Men are the breadwinners, while women bear the children. This is very important to grasp. Consider this: Men, especially in Western culture, may grow up believing it is their duty and role to be the breadwinner, the protector, the fixer. They may strive in usually very concrete ways to fix things when they are broken. […]

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The Grieving Year

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By Nancy W. (Part 3 in a series) It is important to understand the timetable of grief after a ending a wanted pregnancy, for we do see a pattern. Remember this is not set in cement, but most folks would concur that these are the landmarks: The immediate postpartum period This is when you may experience intense, overwhelming emotions, nearly continuous grieving, poor sleep, poor appetite, shock and disbelief, bargaining, constant second guessing of the decision, physical aching to hold the baby, mom’s milk comes in, setting off your grief anew, still feeling the baby’s “kicks,” arms aching to hold the baby, “hearing” the baby’s […]

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The Tapestry

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By Nancy W. (Part 5 in a series) In the series of articles beginning with What Is Grief Work? I have tried to deal with some of the big issues in the grief process after ending a wanted pregnancy. I absolutely understand your feelings, the crazy ones, the guilty ones, the ones where you hate your body for betraying you, the frustration with family and coworkers and their callous remarks and attitudes, your fear and ambivalence about trying to conceive again, not to mention your cravings to be with child again, your ambivalence about what comes next, your grief with subsequent fertility problems. Oh boy, what […]

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The Big D: Depression

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By Nancy W. (Part 4 in a series) Research is discovering more and more about the biochemistry of depression. We know that depression is linked to a faulty mechanism for regulating various neurochemicals in our brains, like Serotonin, which regulate our feelings of happiness or satisfaction. “Designer” drugs (SSRIs) such as Zoloft, Prozac, and others help to regulate these chemicals. Some other, older, antidepressants can be very helpful too. But I am getting the cart in front of the horse here. Depression has been found to run in families, and often a major depressive diagnosis can be made without a precipitating episode; some of us […]

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About Nancy W.

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Nancy W. As a mom who had to end her wanted pregnancy back in 1991, as well as a medical social worker with a specialty in maternal-child social work, a pediatric physical therapist, a hospital chaplain, a childbirth instructor, as well as a hospice founder, I have a unique opportunity to share with you at this time of crisis in your life. I have degrees in both physical therapy and social work. When I was in my twenties, my first husband died from malignant melanoma. After his death, I became very involved with the early Hospice movement in America. I remarried in my thirties and […]