I was so looking forward to this interview with Lindsay Gibson. If you’ve followed with for some time, you may already know that I didn’t with pregnancy loss. I miscarried at 11 weeks, away from my home and husband, feeling so alone. Unfortunately, I had some issues I had to work through after the fact and it took years before I realized there was even a problem! Many moms going through pregnancy loss in someway, so I’ve been wanting to interview Lindsay Gibson for awhile with her own experience of her stillborn son.
Lindsay is a the author of “Just Be”, a motivational speaker, birth psychology and maternity health specialist, doula, a truma yoga instructor and a board member of the non profit organization called Always With Me.
Trauma for Lindsay started way before her stillborn son, Joseph. In 2013, her and her husband lost their son at 26 weeks. It was a tough time for anyone, but what made it even more difficult was the trauma that went unresolved when she was 16. She was raped and in danger of her life. She was able to escape. Her mother took her to the ER and was traumatized even more with poorly educated medical staff and police officers not knowing how to handle the situation. As a result, she went silent and learned to shut down for 13 years to follow.
When college came, she thought if she left the town with the bad memory, that it would get better. She went to college in Boston and used drinking as a way to cope and numb the pain. Through this time, she was navigating PTSD. It would show up in the form of flashbacks, debilitating anxiety, and she would see her attacker mold into other men’s faces on the street. She rarely slept due to the nightmares. Her appetite was pretty non-existent and lost a lot of weight. This was all her new norm.
While this was going on, she met her husband Jason and a year after meeting, were pleasantly surprised with the news of a pregnancy! This new role as a mother, helped her to hide behind the trauma. Meanwhile, her husband knew this whole time that she was keeping something.
Everything came crashing down with the birth of their next child, Joseph. Through yet another trauma of giving birth to her still born child, the past trauma of her rape came up to (which is very common if you’re struggling with PTSD). Through her labor, she was remembering bits of pieces of the night she was assaulted. Her son gave her permission that night to face everything that happened. It’s that moment when her healing journey began.
What You Can Do For Someone Who Has Experienced Loss
Generally speaking people don’t treat a pregnancy loss as if someone’s grandma or close family member passed. Many mothers are told to move on, but in fact, as the mother, this is our children. What we need to do is move forward. Mothers are always going to love their babies and they’re always going to grieve. Honor that. Phrases like “You can just have another baby,” will not help!
You need to understand everyone has different needs when it comes to grief. Simply meet them where they’re at. If they want to talk about their baby, listen and cry. If the mother wants to distract herself, go ahead and do that.
Even if you don’t agree or understand, just be there for her.
Having Rainbow Babies Isn’t Always Rainbows & Sunshine
On the podcast, we touched on how common it is for women to experience anxiety with rainbow babies. In my experience, I remember having anxiety throughout my pregnancy because I was afraid that I would lose my baby again. Lindsay also experienced it when she was at 26 weeks with her rainbow baby. We need to bring awareness to the fact that these moms who have suffered are a risk factor for postpartum depression and/or anxiety and give extra support.
The more silent you are, the more shame you’re going to hold in, and the sicker you’re going to get. Speaking up is crucial to getting help.
Optional Steps to Healing Trauma
- You gotta feel to heal. Feel without judgment. Just surrender
- Remember the trauma
- Trauma yoga
- Dance therapy movement
- Drama therapy
Where You Can Find Lindsay Gibson
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