Brian Mapes
Random thoughts from my insignificant mind

Category Archives: family

Pregnancy and Infant Loss

pregnancy_and_infant_loss

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance/Awareness Day. I don’t blog much, but this is a topic near and dear to my heart. As many of you know, Monica and I lost one child due to low amniotic fluid and lost two others as vanishing twins.

The statistics on pregnancy and infant loss are horrific:

  • Each year in the US, 11,300 babies die on the day they were born.
  • 1 in 160 babies in the US are stillborn.
  • 10% to 20% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage.
  • The actual number of pregnancies resulting in a miscarriage is probably much higher than 20% because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that the woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant.

Pregnancy and infant loss affects so many but gets so little attention. People are afraid to talk about it. Maybe it’s taboo because people don’t know how to talk about it. When it happened, I didn’t know how to talk about it. I still struggle with the topic. I do know this: the more I talk about it the easier it is.

I’m no trained expert, but through my own experience I have some tips for interacting and supporting those going through pregnancy loss:

  • Don’t get scientific or legal with terminology. The grieving parents just lost a baby. Not a fetus. A baby. Their baby.
  • Don’t try to rationalize or explain. Telling a grieving parent “Something must have been wrong and this is for the best” or “God wanted another angel” doesn’t help. In fact it can make it worse.
  • “At least” are probably the worst words you can use. “At least you didn’t know the baby,” “At least it wasn’t really a baby yet,” “At least you are young and can still have another one.” Nothing truly supportive can come after “at least.”
  • Don’t directly mention the baby. Stick to things like “I’m sorry for your loss,” and see where the conversation goes.
  • Actually, don’t mention any baby, pregnancy, or miscarriage. If you have a story, no matter how supportive or positive you think it may be, save it for another time. It won’t help right now. Trust me.
  • The one exception is if you personally experienced pregnancy or infant loss. In that case, it may help as grieving parents are seeking people to connect to who can truly understand their pain. It better be personal experience though and not a story about your friend, sister, or somebody else. I might sound arrogant saying that, but while grieving it was true.
  • Speaking about children may be OK, but it’s best to avoid the topic altogether if you aren’t sure.
  • Listen, listen, and listen. Let the grieving parents speak and let them guide the conversation wherever they want it to go.
  • Just because you are listening doesn’t mean you should be silent.
  • Grieving parents cry. They may try to hold it back in public, but they do cry. It’s ok to cry with them. In fact it’s appreciated.
  • Most people are sympathetic the first time they see the parents but never mention the loss again. Often they avoid it and pretend it didn’t happen. Grieving takes a long time and a simple “How are you holding up?” every once in a while goes a long way. It opens up the door for more conversation if the grieving parent so chooses, but it doesn’t invade their privacy or force them to talk if they don’t want to.

It’s like any other great pain: you never get over it; you can just hope to carry on. Some couples jump back on the wagon as having a child is the only way to lessen the pain. Others need to step back and can’t even think about trying for a long time, if ever. Either way, be supportive because they need it.

I’ve gotten to the point where I can freely talk about pregnancy loss. It was a hard long road and I couldn’t have done it without my best friend, Monica. We walked that road together.

Anyone needing a friend to talk to can always give me a call. It doesn’t matter if we see each other all the time or barely at all. I know the dark loneliness of it all and am certainly willing to extend an ear.

Nicoletta Hope

The last few years have been hell. They’ve left my heart broken and my soul shattered. I’ve shed more tears than I’d like to admit.  Today I still cry but these tears taste so much sweeter. These tears are of joy as I found the thing that will mend my heart and repair my soul.

May I please introduce my daughter, Nicoletta Hope.  2:36 am. 6 pound, 12 ounces. 19.75 inches.

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Things I Want to Teach My Daughter

We are merely one week away from the due date and my daughter can literally be born any day now. When expecting your first child there is much to do and prepare for. Childhood is all about learning and I was thinking about all the things I need to teach my daughter. Here is my list so far. What have I forgotten?

  1. How to make homemade pancakes
  2. How to skip a stone
  3. All the words to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”
  4. How to make homemade pasta sauce
  5. We need each other
  6. How to order a cheesesteak
  7. How to boo like a true Philly fan
  8. How to make a mess
  9. How to clean up
  10. Don’t belive everything you hear
  11. You are priceless
  12. How to use a drill
  13. Righty tighty, lefty loosey.
  14. How to program an if-else block and a for loop
  15. Just because you can embarrass someone doesn’t mean you should
  16. I’m not perfect
  17. Your mother isn’t perfect either but she is close
  18. When you are young you’ll think I know everything
  19. As you get older you’ll think I know nothing
  20. At some point you’ll find out the answer is somewhere in between
  21. I’ll never put anything, including myself, before you
  22. Please and thank you are very powerful
  23. How to swim
  24. How to build a snowman
  25. How to fly a kite
  26. Promises should never be broken
  27. Sometimes promises get broken
  28. How to throw a ball
  29. How to swing a bat
  30. It is not OK to be weak
  31. Asking for help takes strength
  32. Never stop learning
  33. The world is not black and white
  34. Nothing can make me love you more
  35. Nothing can make me love you less
  36. People will respect you more if you speak up
  37. No one will respect you if you talk back
  38. How to build a sandcastle
  39. Don’t confuse love and like
  40. How to change a flat tire
  41. You may not be a princess but you should value yourself as one
  42. Take pride in your appearance
  43. Appearance isn’t everything
  44. If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late
  45. Forgive but never forget
  46. Be able to be self-sufficient
  47. Don’t be afraid to lean on others
  48. If love is not unconditional, it’s not really love
  49. Women can be strong, just look at your mother
  50. Trying is more important than winning
  51. Losing happens to everyone
  52. When you allow losing to become a habit, you become a loser
  53. Work hard
  54. Hard work doesn’t always pay off
  55. Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty
  56. Be kind to everybody
  57. Some people will try to manipulate your kindness
  58. Some people think I’m too emotionally involved with sports
  59. You can never bee too emotionally involved with sports
  60. Don’t ever wear the logo of a non-Philly professional sports team
  61. You can always come home
  62. How to play bass
  63. I like making up nicknames
  64. Most nicknames I create don’t stick around very long
  65. Family is more than just blood
  66. How to dance in the kitchen
  67. You will always be my baby girl
  68. I will always love you

My name is Brian Mapes. I'm a father, husband, Phillies fan, Eagles fan, software developer, technology lover, guitarist, bassist, and MacRumors mod. These are my random thoughts.