Rhinebeck, New York…..Reconceiving Loss, LLC, based in the Hudson Valley region of New York State, has launched a project designed to help women and men cope with the loss of a pregnancy or an infant. The project, which is entirely digital, incorporates writing, photography, and health/wellness activities. All activities are done online, and can be published privately, semi-privately, or publicly, depending upon the wishes of each contributor. The goal is to offer a platform for healing, and to provide individuals with the opportunity to share their stories with others in an effort to support their growth and healing.
Reconceiving Loss, LLC, which is free of charge and open for use to the general public, was developed by Tara Shafer and husband Gavin Curran. “When I gave birth to a stillborn son eight years ago, Gavin and I searched in vain for something to help us make sense of our loss and come through it. Since then, we have connected with countless others who have experienced baby loss through miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of an infant, and we were struck by how alone people feel. It is a confusing, desolate experience – there was little available in the way of bereavement support. People face barriers in seeking help, ranging from financial constraints, to geography, to a sense of shame – we felt it was time to offer people like us the chance to grieve, and the chance to heal using the internet as a way to reflect on and document their loss while sharing it in a supported community”, said Tara Shafer.
Reconceiving Loss is a comprehensive online resource center, and offers visitors writing projects, music sharing, photography activities, and the like. With physicians like Sharon Patrick, MD, OB-Gyn, who was recognized by New York Magazine as one of the top doctors in maternal/fetal medicine, and award-winning novelist, Edie Meidev, author of Lola, California, the site offers a variety of experts to its audience. Meidav wrote a customized grief primer and offers a writing tutorial on documenting loss, and Dr. Julie Bindeman offers articles about the psychological impact of baby loss. Internationally acclaimed photographer Wendy Ewald is also featured on this site as users are guided in memorial self-portraiture, and renowned yogi Alex Auder of West Village Yoga, NYC, leads restorative yoga poses and meditation. There is also a specific section of the site geared toward men, which the organization reports as the most successful component of the project to date.
According to the March of Dimes, 15% of confirmed pregnancies will result in miscarriage and many reputable studies show this number to be as high as 25%. In addition, 26,000 babies are stillborn annually and 25,000 infants will die.
“Patients who experience unsuccessful pregnancy often feel unique and isolated. Reconceiving Loss provides a compassionate, safe forum for women, men, and their support systems as they navigate through the grieving process”, stated Sharon Patrick, MD, OB-Gyn.
“I believe that Reconceiving Loss is a great and novel way of grieving for a pregnancy loss. Very few in our society understand how much (these women) suffer in silence”, shared F. Surur, MD, OB-Gyn, Clinical Associate Professor at Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical Center, New York.
“Reconceiving Loss is designed to offer personal and communal refuge to anyone who has experienced pregnancy loss at any stage,” explains Shafer. “It is intended to steer people through loss on their own terms using video, exercises and articles and then on to a community that shares their experience. We provide our audience with opportunities to find information, comfort, and a path to healing through photography, music, yoga and nutrition, and we share articles and advice from doctors and practitioners all renowned in their fields”.
Recommended by renowned physician Dr Andrew Weil among other medical practitioners, as well as artist Miranda Dodson and others, Reconceiving Loss is a new online resource center for anyone, male or female, coping with pregnancy or infant loss.
For more information, visit: http://reconceivingloss.com/
About Reconceiving Loss Our mission is simple: it asks both women and men to speak of the experience of grief following pregnancy loss. We all experience and express grief differently, but each of us has permission to feel the loss. When we take the time to remember and document our experience, giving ourselves the chance to grieve, a path forward presents itself and we can, metaphorically speaking, reconceive our loss. We can learn to live alongside loss. We do not need to forget in order to move on. Memory and moving on are not mutually exclusive. It is our credo that the first step begins when you take ownership of your loss. When you articulate your own particular truth, healing and a hard-won clarity appears and you find the path forward. For some, the path may include resources such as doctors, therapy groups, or other healing forums. For others, simply participating in a community of fellows is enough of a healing. When one loses a pregnancy, the devastation is often profound. Many are shocked at how sad they feel and yet, as grievers begin to look for support, they often hear such platitudes as ‘try again.’ While such advice often comes with love and goodwill, it occasionally accomplishes the unfortunate: nullifying the singular loss faced by the grievers.
I began my career as a human rights activist and refugee advocate. Such professional experiences have shaped my view of the world and my understanding of what it means to love, to lose, to manage grief, to speak truth to silence and to reinvent one’s own life. Having watched refugees remember, rather than forget, I saw those who otherwise would have been trapped inside an unspoken past move on to inhabit a world different than that they had been promised but one filled with complex beauty. – Tara Shafer