The Glimmer Podcast is hosted by Dr Ashleigh Smith and interviews experts on managing pregnancy and newborn loss related grief. This week’s guest is Alana Sheeren. She is a multi-passionate creative who shows up in all her work with the aim of making the world a kinder, more compassionate place. Whether speaking about grief from the TEDx stage, or in her healing work with clients, she combines her training as a therapist and her intuitive abilities with a deep understanding of the human condition to help people create profound and lasting change in their lives.
The interview opens talking about the famous TedX talk that Alana did about grief and the stillbirth of her son, Ben (which was almost 10 years ago). She talks about how grief has shaped her life. That grief can manifest by ‘coming out sideways’ and how she carried a ‘cave bag’ of journals, art supplies, candles and medicine cards. She advises the need to connect to your own body and notice the grief surfacing in different ways. She warns against getting trapped in a ‘story of shame or guilt or victimhood’ in relation to grief from pregnancy loss.
She talks about how life can be full of beauty and joy even amidst grief and loss and references her friend on the ‘an’ space. She encourages the listener to hold all of these emotions and give yourself permission to also see beauty. To not be trapped into the mindset of not allowing yourself to laugh or experience joy.
Alana talks about shame and guilt. Shame, she defines, is identifying ‘I am’ something shameful. Guilt, she defines, is identifying ‘I have done’ something to feel guilty about. She references other people and their opinions of what you ‘should’ and ‘shouldn’t’ be doing with your grief after pregnancy or newborn loss. Their judgments can be so hurtful.
Alana mentions a specific event where a circle leader told her about how she ‘should’ talk about Ben. She mentions the pain of secondary loss in addition to the primary loss of the child – that of friendships or marriage that doesn’t survive the death.
Dr Ashleigh Smith and Alana talk about Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and how ‘meaning making’ was recently suggested as one of the grief stages.
Alana talks about Reiki and healing energy work and how she leaned and used it in her own, and others whole-self healing. She talks about a snow/sand analogy and how the energy in your body can hold onto trauma.
Finally, Alana advises the listener to ask for help when you want it, but don’t feel like you have to ask for help if you don’t want it.
This is a magical interview full of heart-warming insights and wisdom from a fellow warrior mum, psychologist and healer.
Find out more at AlanaSheeren.com or ListenCloselyFilm.com
Book mention: Men don’t cry, women do – transcending gender stereotypes in grief by Terry Martin and Kenneth Doka
Alana’s ted talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqX3Ygy8NOo