Maribeth Wilder Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

Asking for your help . . . Baby Loss Doula training

I have humbly created a gofundme project so I can complete my Baby Loss Doula certification.  I need your help!  Here are the deets:

My first baby was stillborn.  I was 19, in a new city, in a military hospital, with no one but my husband with me.  I didn’t get to see my son and wasn’t given any options for burial.

Three years later, my second baby was born and died 5 days later.  This time, the nursing staff encouraged us to spend as much time with our baby as possible and helped us make memories with him.  We were given support group information and these folks got us in touch with funeral and cemetery people who were wonderful with baby loss folks (many aren’t!).  The difference in my grieving process for my second son was so much easier because I was treated as a mother and my son was treated with so much dignity and respect.

Sadly, many families are still treated as though losing a baby is nothing to be upset over.  Can you imagine going through labor knowing your baby will be born dead?  I can and having to make decisions at this horrible time in your life is excruciating because there is so little time to do it, but years to live with the aftermath of those decisions.  I want to be there with women going through this agony to help them make the best decisions they can for themselves and for their baby at an unbelievably difficult time.  This is the only time they will get to parent these sweet little babies – help me help them . . .

To complete my Baby Loss Doula certification through Loss Doulas International, I need to complete a childbirth class.  Such a class is coming to my hometown (a rare event!) and is being put on by DONA.org.  The cost of this training is $145 and I do not have this in my budget to pay the tuition by September 19.  I need your help to do this . . .

This class is part of a 3 day training for Birth Doulas.  I need the first day for my Baby Loss Doula certification.  I would really like to take the entire 3 day training to become a Birth Doula.  My dream is to be a birth doula for women going through a pregnancy and birth experience after a loss.  Rainbow pregnancies are one gigantic roller coaster!  Having a birth doula who understands the fears and craziness of subsequent pregnancy would be a gift.  I wish I had had one for my two surviving rainbow babies!  

These extra two days are $425 making the 3 day training session $570.  I’m asking for your help in raising this money.  Should I be fortunate enough to raise more than this amount, the extra money will go into a fund to pay for Prenatal Yoga Teaching Training (I am a yoga teacher) that is not available in my town.  I want to teach prenatal yoga to mommies pregnant after loss. The total cost for the closest training is $2500.

Please help me help these women!  Pregnancy loss is so misunderstood; pregnancy after loss is even more so.  I can help these families, with your help.

Thank you so very very much!

In memory of Andrew John and Mark Adam Pruett and all the babies gone too soon . . .

Loving Mark Adam who taught me more about love, life, and myself than any other person in the world.

Loving Mark Adam who taught me more about love, life, and myself than any other person in the world.

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The Great Declutter Project of 2014

I have a walk out basement that is finished except for the laundry/storage room.  It’s always been a bit cluttered; you know that space that just seems to acquire anything without a permanent home.  It got really out of control when we moved my dad in along with 2/3 of my parents’ belongings.  In January, I was really appalled when I walked in and noticed that my guys had just tossed all the boxes of Christmas decorations (including the tree) on top of all the junk.   I was about to do some screaming when I realized they had done this because they couldn’t get to the closet that houses the Christmas stuff.  How they got it out in the first place is the real mystery here.  I was looking at 250 square feet of a mess that the T.V. show Hoarders would have loved–quite literally, stuff was piled on top of stuff from floor to ceiling–and that mess had begun to trickle through my entire house.

It’s taken six months but the room is FINALLY decluttered.  Can you hear the relief in my words?  There’s room to DANCE  now and my son and I have had a few dart games in there and holy shillelagh!!  With the energy change from this completed project, I couldn’t stop there . . . I’ve since gone through 97% of the house.  I feel as though I have my home back after three years of sharing it with my parents’ stuff and it feels so good!

Going through your loved ones things is a tough job.  I got stuck doing it by myself for both my mom and then my dad.  Lots of things were boxed up and stored in that laundry room because we were in a hurry after Mom died and I simply couldn’t decide what to do with most of it in that raw state of grief.  Three years later, I’m not so attached to bowls and artwork and . . . well, crap, my mother owned.  I’m still clinging to things she made like crocheted afghans and embroidered linens plus several photo albums I still need to go through but otherwise, I was able to let go of almost everything else  knowing I’m letting go of STUFF, not my mother.

Once my parents’ things were gone, it was time to go through our own junk.  I have to say, this resulted in some unexpected and surprising finds – some not so nice and others were totally delightful.  Here’s a few:

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Baby Mari

This is yours truly.  On the back of this picture, my mom had written, “Mari, dad carried this in his wallet for years, that’s why it looks so worn out. That smile is just like Eric’s.”  🙂  Eric is my oldest surviving son.  I’m guessing Mom sent this to me after he was born, that baby that took years to get and the whole family was a little gaga over him.  I love that shiny bright look in my eyes.

Eric and Chad

Eric and Chad

Another classic photo find.  These are my babies at grandma’s.  On the back, Mom had written, “Look at that monkey go!”  I have no idea what Eric may have done to Chad to get him to climb up the chair like that but it looks hilarious.  These boys are now 27 and 25 1/2!  I found so many fab photos that were just tossed into this room.  My winter project will be to sort them all out and do something with them.  No more crazy photos littering up the joint!

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Gone With the Wind

I found a very old copy of Gone With the Wind.  I remember my husband buying this for me in a used bookstore many years ago.  He wrote this note on the flyleaf, “Mari, with lots of love for being a great sport.” I have no idea what I was a great sport about! Note the date – just over 20 years ago. Curious!  When I asked him about it he said, “Do not remember ol sport.”  I think he was channeling his inner Sean Connery.

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Best Find of the Great Declutter Project 2014

This was probably the best find of all, at least in my husband’s opinion.  It looks like a corvette but it’s really a decanter!  It was holding about a pint of SEALED whiskey.  This was a gift to my husband from his mom in 1987!!  27 year old Jim Beam.  We spent about an hour on google trying to see if whiskey like this could spoil but everything we found said if the seal wasn’t broken, it was probably fine.  Greg opened it, smelled it, poured a little into a glass and examined it for yuck . . . seemed okay so he swallowed it and waited 24 hours to see if he’d be sick.  All was well so he nursed this juice for a week.  He’s still alive so this gets the best find of the Great Declutter Project of 2014!

It was a toss up for worst find between old horrible cat food in the cabinet next to the washer (the cat died in 2008!) and this gem:

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Greetings from the Hole in the Wall gang

We have four large bookcases in our living room with a zillion baskets on the tops.  The baskets were filthy so I took them all down to wash and possibly chuck some when I found this lovely hole in the wall/ceiling.  There was something wonky with the gutter right there and well, at some point the water leaked through and caused this damage.  We have no idea when it happened as this was totally dried out.  Oy vey!  Mr. Fix-it got right to it and now we need to repaint the living room (needed it anyway) but the crazy hole is gone.  He fixed this right after he fixed the dining room light I broke with overzealous cleaning:

OVERZEALOUS CLEANING GETS SLOVENLY HOUSEWIFE IN TROUBLE. Dateline Nevada, July 30, 2014 . . . . As amateur housekeeper, despite being married 28+ years, Maribeth Doerr removed the 4 light bulbs and 4 globes of her dining room chandelier (Note: chandelier is stretching the description. It’s really a hanging light with nothing chandy about it.) The fixture including chainlink hanger were dutifully cleaned to a sparkling state (Note: sparkling only in low light on a cloudy day). When she attempted to replace the globes, it became obvious that one socket had been stripped during the removal process and now hung rather low compared to the other globes/bulbs. Gregory Doerr, said husband of the amateur unhousekeeping wife, will now have to remove the entire fixture after shutting off the electricity to that room and attempt a repair. Considering it’s Hot August Nights week in Reno where Mr. Doerr is himself a fixture with his 1965 Pontiac GTO, the repair will have to wait. Mr. Doerr was overheard muttering to his German Shepherd that this is what happens when ze wife attempts to clean where no one has cleaned before.

Between the books, VHS tapes, DVDs, CDs and cassettes we’ve donated to the libary plus bags of coats, jackets, and games given to Goodwill, we have empty shelves for the first time! And I LOVE that. The flow of energy around the house is so free now. The next step is the BIG CLEAN which will keep me busy for another six months but as much as I resist housework, the effort and result just feels so good – finally. My house is my own again.

If you have boxes of stuff from your loved ones and you don’t know what to do with it, my best advice is give yourself some time.  I really needed to wait before I got rid of everything; it was too heart-wrenching to do it all at once.  For me, I finally reached a point where the clutter bothered me so much, it was painful to not go through the stuff.  Once I got started and could FEEL the results (besides see the results), I was very motivated to keep going.  Doing it in spurts seemed to work for awhile so do what feels right for you.  And if you have to go it alone like I did, be really kind to yourself while you’re doing this work.  Play your favorite music and give yourself permission to cry or feel however you feel.  This isn’t easy work!

And now . . . I’m going to go dance through my empty laundry room, throw a few darts, and then tackle the disgusting spots in my dining room carpet.

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My own brand of beauty

Bi2Right after Christmas, my local Barnes & Noble ditches the Christmas stuff and puts up a big display of diet books.  I know most stores and magazines do this since so many people start off the New Year wanting to lose weight.  The irony is this display always sits next to the Valentine’s display (you do want to lose all that weight to look sexy by Valentine’s right?) and includes lots of their Godiva chocolate gift boxes.  Starve yourself with diets but be sure to buy the chocolate to soothe yourself when you throw the worthless diet book away.

Now that it’s March, the display has moved to another part of the store (but still close to the front) and the sign reads “Diet and Nutrition” but there is NO book in the display that concerns itself with nutrition.  Not. One.

Why is our society so bent on eating everything it wants and then trying insane diets to lose weight?  I’m not pointing fingers.  Until I lost 55 pounds in my chronic illness of 2012, I was a yo-yo dieter.  I was thin in my teens until 35.  Then yo-yo’d for 15+ years.  I can trace my body image issues back to two major things.  The one I want to address today is  my mom’s persistent criticisms of my appearance.

My mother seemed to find fault with my appearance for most of my life.  She used to take great delight in telling me that my old aunties came to the house when I was a baby just to see my gigantic thighs.  The first bra she bought me was a padded one because, surely, I must be disappointed in my size.  I didn’t know what cellulite was until she pointed it out on my butt and thighs when I was 16 (I was 5’5″ and 110 pounds so how much cellulite could have been there???).  My dad nicknamed me Grace (because he found me clumsy) and my mom said I was as dainty as an elephant.  The adjective I heard the most often was PLAIN.  I was just simply plain.  Your average Mary, the band geek.

It’s true I was a late bloomer.  My husband wouldn’t have looked twice at me in high school but by 24, he noticed.  He says it was my confidence that attracted him more than anything.  I was supporting myself through some difficult experiences and that awareness that comes from knowing you’re strong enough to survive, take care of yourself and make it in this world was an energy he picked up on.  My mom used to tell me I better “keep myself up” or my husband would dump me.  It’s been 28 years and we’re still together.

Mom didn’t know everything.  Sometimes I think she knew absolutely nothing about me.  I know lots of daughters feel that way about their mothers.  And truly, how much do we really know about them?  What made her criticize her only (and beloved) daughter so much?  I KNOW she loved me.  I could put on my psychologist hat and give you a litany of reasons why she did this.  The bottom line is, it doesn’t matter what her reasons were.  What matters is how I view myself.

I struggled to let go of the crappy stories she filled my brain with, and I finally realized, ironically in the middle of a yoga class, that those gigantic legs are the two parts of my body that have NEVER let me down.  They are amazing with what they put up with!  And guess what?  I AM beautiful.  Perhaps not in the way my mom (or Hollywood) would define beauty, but really, as I said before,  it’s not her (their) story that matters.  It’s MY stories that matter for ME and I can rewrite the bullshit ones.

badassSo a big BOO HOO to those of us who had mothers that criticized.  Want revenge?  Be you, in all your glory, in your own unique brand of beauty.  To hell with magazines that advertise the latest diet craze on their photoshopped covers next to headlines about cookie recipes.  Walk right on by the Barnes & Noble diet book displays and the glam magazines.  Celebrate YOUR curves or your angles or your lines – whatever you’ve got.  Let’s dump the comparison monster and stop judging people for how they look, especially ourselves!

Yeah, I’ve got my own brand of beauty.  And so do you.  It’s called uniqueness.  We’re all unique.  Vive la difference!  My brand celebrates my weirdness; my ability to be big and small, quiet and loud, radiant and dark, all at the same time.  Plain?  Only when I want to be 😉

So go write your own stories.  Show the world your own unique brand of beauty.

 

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WriteGrief has launched and other less interesting tidbits

Can you believe January is nearly over already?!  It’s raining as I write this, I hear a plunk plunk plunk as it leaks through the ceiling into my office.  But it’s delicious moisture that my area needs so badly to avoid a more serious drought this Summer.  It’s also the new moon and so I’m happy to share something new with you . . .

WriteGrief has launched following WriteGrief for the holidays.  If you enjoy writing or exploring your innermost self and you’re grieving, you’ll find WriteGrief helpful (although, it’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, and I know some of you will call me names with some of these prompts 🙂  It’s okay; I won’t get offended!).  Even if you don’t enjoy writing, these prompts can work for you because you don’t have to be a writer to do them.  In fact, it works  best when you’re NOT fussy about editing and spelling and grammar and all the rules I’ve just abused this sentence.  Letting go and digging deep without regard to grammar or any other rules can make a cloudy merky grief filled mind find clarity as you see your words in black and white.  It’s been a lifesaver for me, and I hope it will be for you as well.

So without further ado, here are the details for WriteGrief over on my Permission to Grieve site:  http://www.permissiontogrieve.com/?page_id=92  I am SO excited about finally offering this to you.

What else am I up to?  I am a yoga teacher in training!  Can you believe it – and at my age??  Some days I think I’m totally nuts.  It is my dream, though, to teach yoga to grieving folks and those struggling with whatever it is they’re struggling with.  Grief has such physical symptoms that we don’t realize; we tend to furl up into ourselves hiding our hearts from further pain.  Yoga and movement can help us unfurl, unstress, and connect with your hearts again.  It’s a gentle opening and that is so very healing.  We can learn to breathe with our entire lungs again instead of taking sips of air with the very tops of our lungs.  As you can probably tell, I’m passionate about this and I can’t wait to bring it to you.

Last but not least, a beautiful share from David Gilmour as he sings Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 . . . Enjoy

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NDEs, Death, Dying, Grief, and Lots of Joy!

I had the privilege of being the guest on Martha Atkins’ inaugural BlogTalkRadio show, Light After Death.  Martha is amazing, and it’s because of her warm loving encouragement that I’m finally able to talk openly about my near death experience in 2004.  I had one of the “non-dramatic” kind that I was embarrassed to talk about because I didn’t think anyone would take me seriously.  It’s not like I was pronounced clinically dead and woke up with a sheet over my head. Many many people have such experiences similar to mine and feel as I did, that no one would take us seriously.

BUT . . . we need to talk about it because the experience has the opportunity to profoundly change us.  For me, I was gifted with the knowledge that my babies who died are still with me, are still my babies, and that they matter . . . and that there really is life after death.

Here’s the interview which runs about 30 minutes.  Even if you don’t listen to the show, bookmark Martha’s show on BlogTalkRadio and become a regular listener.  The more we talk about death, dying and life, the more comfortable our culture will be with it . . . which it makes it so much easier to grieve in compassionate community.  We will ALL (bereaved or not) be healthier for it.  Let’s take it out of the closet!

BlogTalkRadio Show with Martha Atkins

Click the link to listen in. I’d love to hear your comments and your stories.

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