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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hey Babylost Mommas! Read This!

Hey Mommas!

Some of you old-timers might recall me writing about a "healing retreat for infant loss" that I reluctantly attended over a year ago, about eight or nine months after my Ultimate Shitty Event. This was for women who had experienced stillbirth or infant death-after-birth. I went into it with this cynical attitude, somehow pre-convinced that "retreats" are generally lame and weird - like with summer-camp slop for dinner and people doing teambuilding games. I've never been into all that support-groupy-touchy-feely hogwash.

But man oh goddamn man, was I ever glad I did.

A babylost friend of mine here in Seattle couldn't have said it any better: losing a baby is an isolating experience, period. Doesn't matter what you read or who you talk to: it's still just you inside of your head, swimming around in there, trying to find your way. So, to be suddenly thrown into a goregous, intimate setting with a group of similar-aged, similar-minded women WHO TOTALLY 100% GET WHAT THE FUCK EACH OTHER IS TALKING ABOUT (that's key) was remarkable. It's what the retreat was all about: connecting and understanding.

We did what most women love to do: talked a lot. Cried a bit too, to a cathartic (not nauseating) degree. We shared our stories, and took as much time as we needed to do it. We listened. We ate together. Slept. Wandered. Did yoga. Relaxed. Thought. Looked at the mountains. The best part was that it was mildly structured, but not overly, annoyingly structured. It wasn't a facilitator-led, counselor type of thing run by some woman with a PhD in clinical psychology. It was just a bunch of equals - women coming together - connecting and forming awesome friendships, and just mellowing out in this goregous and peaceful place.

Of course, at the time I was a follower, just going along for the (what turned out to be amazing) ride. Little did I know that I would eventually be compelled to spearhead the next one. Of the original group from last year, some people have had babies, and are in different places in their lives. I on the other hand, have a dog and new espresso machine, neither of which is as much of a distraction as baby would surely be. So, I'm in more of position to organize a second retreat this year. I feel passionate about it, the goodness of it.

SO...that aforementioned babylost friend of mine - the one who made the comment about stillbirth being isolating - is teaming up with me to organize the second (maybe annual?) healing retreat for this year. It's coming up in October. ANYONE CAN COME - not just people from Seattle - EVEN YOU!!!

Well, almost anyone. This retreat is for women who have recently (as in the last five years or so?) lost an infant just before or after birth. That is loosely defined as having lost a baby to stillbirth or post-birth death, for lack of a better phrase. This is not at all to say that the infertility and miscarriage sets shouldn't have and don't deserve the retreat experience - but we wanted to keep this retreat small, and decided to make those our so-called "requirements." If this year's goes well, we could think about expanding it next year to include miscarriage and infertility subgroups. Don't hold me to that - I'm just saying, the possibility is out there.
It's not just for us Pacific Northwesters, either. It is my sincere hope that some of you regulars out there -you know who you are - think about attending, even if you have to fly out here to Seattle. IT'S WORTH IT. I repeat: IT'S WORTH IT. And if you can help get the word out to other babylost mommas, even better. Check out the retreat deets, buy your ticket and c'mon out!


Mirne said...

Wow. Wish I could go. Except I'm on a different continent. It sounds like a really really good opportunity for mums to lean on each other and give to each other.

Cara said...

Wow...that calls my name, and Emma's too. Can you even imagine the purging that would occur with me at that retreat??

*sigh* alas - I'm 3000 miles away.

I guess they'll have to gush without me.

(PS - my word verification is "unswoom" which of course brought my 'our dead babies are everywhere' mind directly to 'unswoon'. See, better they go without me!)

caitsmom said...

Wow. Sounds terrific and with you the best success and comfort to all those who attend. I'm on the other coast, so I won't make it. But it sounds terrific!!! Peace.

angie said...

I'm on the East Coast too, but seriously considering passing it by the Vice President for approval. (He thinks he's the president, so...)

Hope's Mama said...

I'll book my flights now................... from Australia. Seriously though, sounds great and wish I could come.

Monica LeMoine said...

dang, why don't you all rent a pegasus and fly over for it? or that big white furry flying creature in Never Ending Story...

sharonvw said...

What a great idea Mon, kudos to you for spearheading this worthy event and bringing women together!

Kristy ~ said...

I think this is an amazing thing....if I wasn't in Canada, and lived closer it would certainly be something I would love to attend. What a way to bring together woman who need to share their gried with others who UNDERSTAND!

Karen said...

Oh, wow. Ditto for me. If I can get organized enough to get my passport renewed and $$ to spend and my husband to agree to taking care of the others so I could get away....I'm so there. Wow.