Meet Martine

Martine Brennan

Today I want to introduce you to a very special person.

Martine Brennan is a qualified Counsellor and Psychotherapist (Metanoia Psychotherapy Training Institute, Ealing, London, UK ’91 and ’93) She is a London born Irish woman with a background in Community work. Martine is the proud mother of three daughters. Hannah, her middle daughter, was born still, April 1st 2004. Martine now runs an online coaching programme for parents who are seeking to rebuild their lives following the death of a beloved baby through miscarriage or stillbirth.

Martine has been there for me over the past few months while trying to come to terms with losing my own baby boy last August. She is a truly compassionate, wise and warm woman, and I count myself very blessed to have met her. Martine has recently written an e-book, After Your Baby Dies.

Today I interview Martine about her work and why she wrote her book.

Martine, tell us a little about the work that you do

“Though my life, as I knew it, ended when Hannah died, I have found a way to live with her absence and experience joy again. I have rebuilt my life. I want to share this knowledge with other parents. There are so many of us..too many who struggle alone. I believe the first step for most of us is to come out of the isolation we all experienced, especially in the beginning. Then we need to be met with compassion and understanding. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. So the focus of my work is to meet bereaved parents with sincere compassion and a real understanding of the pain, the anger, the despair and the loneliness, the profound not knowing how to live anymore. I help people to rebuild their lives. No-one can bring our babies back but together we can rebuild our lives.”

Do you think the stage at which we lose a baby makes a difference to the grieving process?

“Whether a baby died in “medical terms” by miscarriage stillbirth or neo natal death or by a failed fertility treatment (I hate those terms) does not signify anything in terms of the degree of the loss/pain. “

Can you tell us a little more about this grieving process?

“The grief is real and can only be measured by the person feeling it. When I worked in London, I mainly worked with people who had Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And now what I see is that many bereaved parents have PTSD. So when I work with parents I can’t “fix’ the fact that their baby’s are gone but I can help them to learn to take care of themselves, accept the changes inside themselves, deal with their PTSD symptoms and learn to allow pleasure and joy back into their lives while still living with the absence of their babies. Even though I am a counsellor, I don’t believe that everyone who is bereaved needs counselling. (I could be shot for that) Grief just takes time and compassion and understanding. But if someone is really struggling, has used up all their own resources and feels the need themselves then it is time for counseling. People themselves usually know if they are stuck. (Apart from writing there is nothing like the joy I feel when that light comes back on inside someone.)”

What do you believe is needed to help grieving parents cope with the loss of their baby?

“I  think that advocacy is needed. The medical profession (with some exceptions) want us to accept the death of babies (as once they accepted the many deaths of mothers in pregnancy and childbirth) and this has to change. Unfortunately our babies are invisible to the outside world, so broken as we are, we have to speak for them. The rate of SIDS has gone down worldwide since parents forced the medical profession to sit up and do something. I believe that we will do the same.”

You recently published an e-book,  After Your Baby Dies. Can you tell us a little more about this and where it is available?

The first year after a beloved baby dies is an especially painful one.There were so many things I didn’t know after Hannah died, things that would have helped me cope better. I have written those things in the e-book and it is available free from Stillbirth Help.

Any final thoughts you would like to share with readers?

“Some people work in this field to honour their babies but in my heart I believe that Hannah is well in whatever the next place is. My hope is that someday we will be reunited. I do this because I don’t want my living daughters to go through what we have been through.”

Visit Martine’s website at http://www.martinebrennan.com

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Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes but is not limited to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn.

The day is observed with remembrance ceremonies and candle-lighting vigils, concluding with the International Wave of Light, a worldwide lighting of candles at 7:00 p.m.

Tonight the International Wave of Light is starting at 7pm, light a candle for at least one hour and with everybody else lighting their candles it means there will be a continuous wave of light around the world and we will all be united in remembering our lost babies. 
 
The world may never notice if a rosebud doesn’t bloom
or even pause to wonder if the petals falls too soon
But every life that ever forms or ever comes to be
touches the world for all eternity.
The little one we longed for was quickly here and gone
…but the love that was then planted still shines on.
And though our arms are empty
our hearts know what to do
every beating of our hearts say
we will remember you
Anon
 

Stillbirth Remembrance Day

candle

Today, September 6,  in some states of the USA  and Canada is a day set aside to honor and remember babies that have been stillborn. In many cases, this definition is expanded to include babies lost to miscarriage, SIDS, and complications of pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancies, among others. In light of this latter definition, Stillbirth Remembrance Day is sometimes known as Stillbirth and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

The idea of an annual day to remember stillborns followed perhaps the most notable stillbirth in recent years, that of Breanna Lynn Bartlett-Stewart in September 2000. In Breanna Lynn’s home state of Arkansas, widespread media coverage following her stillbirth sparked an unprecedented public awareness of the seemingly random and largely unknown killer of more than 26,000 babies each year in the United States alone. In response to public lobbying, the state legislature of Arkansas passed a law proclaiming Breanna Lynn’s birthday, September 6, to be Arkansas Stillbirth Remembrance Day; the day was first observed on what would have been Breanna Lynn’s first birthday, September 6, 2001. This proclamation was warmly welcomed by most Arkansans, even if they had no personal connection to a stillborn baby. On this day, the noon news in Little Rock showed motorists on Interstate 30 traveling with their lights on in memory of the stillborn.

Following Arkansas’ example, several other Southeastern U.S. states passed laws enacting September 6 to be Stillbirth Remembrance Day in time for Breanna Lynn’s second birthday in 2002. With each passing year, more U. S. states issued similar proclamations; on September 6, 2005, Breanna Lynn Bartlett-Stewart’s fifth birthday, 39 U.S. states officially paused to remember babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.

For all those who are grieving the loss of their precious babies, I am lighting a candle of solidarity today, a tiny flicker of light in the darkness of our grief and I offer up a prayer for healing and peace of heart for us all.