PPSM Baby Brain; Emotional Wellness in Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting

Pregnancy After Loss with Lindsey Henke, MSW, LICSW, PMH-C

August 08, 2021 Season 1 Episode 10
PPSM Baby Brain; Emotional Wellness in Pregnancy, Postpartum and Parenting
Pregnancy After Loss with Lindsey Henke, MSW, LICSW, PMH-C
Show Notes Transcript

Meet Lindsey:  Founder of Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS) and Therapist specializing in service the perinatal population with a sub-speciality in loss and the pregnancy that follows.

As a therapist, Lindsey’s clinical specialty is working with mothers and their partners through the grief of infertility, perinatal loss, pregnancy after loss, and the postpartum period including parenting after reproductive trauma.

Lindsey has been providing clinical psychotherapy services to women and families since 2008. She specializes in grief and mental health struggles that often accompany reproductive trauma, and is a certified Perinatal Mental Health (PMH-C) provider with specific training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, pregnancy loss and pregnancy after loss. She also provides training to other professionals in these areas, and is the Founder and Executive Director of Pregnancy After Loss Support, an online magazine and peer-to-peer support service.

She works with moms who experience trauma-related issues due to reproductive loss as well as anxiety, depression and anger as it relates to reproductive mental health and the transition to parenthood. Lindsey’s clients benefit from her advanced training in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, certification as a Compassionate Bereavement Care provider (CBC), and her study of alternative healing practices, mindfulness, Dialectical Behavior Training (DBT), and treatment of trauma via Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EMDR) and Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART).

Pregnancy After Loss Support website

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Speaker 1:

[inaudible]

Speaker 2:

Hey listeners and welcome to baby brain. This is PPSs PSMs podcast with me. Tonight is Lindsay hanky. She's an MSW LIC SW, and also the founder of pregnancy after loss support. Welcome Lindsay.

Speaker 3:

Welcome. Thank you for having me,

Speaker 2:

Wendy, can you share a little bit about your personal connection to P Mads, the postpartum mood and anxiety disorders?

Speaker 3:

I was a, a pregnancy loss, um, mom, myself. So my first daughter was still born at 40 weeks and I experienced the grief of having a full-term stillbirth. And I went and got therapy as a therapist, myself. I was interested in therapy to help my healing process when that, and I found a therapist that specialized in perinatal mood and anxiety disorders, and also had a subspecialty and pregnancy loss and the pregnancy that followed. And then my interest really grew from there as someone who had a very challenging subsequent pregnancy, not physically, but just emotionally from carrying the weight of the stillbirth that came before it. And then that anxiety from that subsequent pregnancy actually transitioned into the postpartum period where I also experienced postpartum anxiety and intrusive thoughts and other things like that that were really worried thoughts leftover from the trauma and the grief of the silvers of my daughter.

Speaker 2:

I've heard you say something that's was so impactful that having this emotion of fear and hope at the same time and how that's married through an entire subsequent pregnancy with that fear. Can you describe a little bit about that?

Speaker 3:

Sure. It was so long ago now. It feels like as my daughter who was born after my one who died, it's now seven, but it is even when I work with the client, because that's what I special advisor now, as I work with science will clean that journey of that tight rope of hope and fear, grief, and joy. And it's just, it really varied is a good word. It's, it's like two sides of the same coin. You have so much fear that this loss is going to happen again because of the trauma from the previous loss. And then you carry so much hope that you can have another baby. When I worked my clients and I had a client, describe it to me as well. One time who was pregnant after I lost as kind of the definition of insanity going to become pregnant again is doing the same thing in a lot of cases, not changing much and expecting a different result. And I think that's where this hope and fear and grief and joy really get married. And it's this constant dance between the two. And I usually tell my clients it's about taking leaps of faith or little leaps of faith and to help that this baby will come. And then sometimes it's like running out of the water five steps back and saying, how am I going to protect myself? Cause I'm so afraid of having hope again, it's a hard journey. And it's one that a lot of people walk. I mean, I think statistic now is 1 million people in the United States will experience a pregnancy loss. And then the statistic after that, following that is that 85% of people who experienced loss go on to become pregnant again within, I think it's 12 to 18 months after their previous loss. That's not all the case. That's not always the case. Unfortunately, as I've worked with many clients that experience other hurdles after the fact secondary infertility, multiple miscarriages things that are just as Def devastating and make journey even harder, but that pregnancy after loss, it is this really what I feel like at the definition of the both. And how do you carry hope and fear in the same place in grief and joy in the same place?

Speaker 2:

That's a good point to remember with all the advances we've had in medical science, miscarriage and stillbirth still happen. And for a reason that we can't explain, and that phenomena is in anywhere between 10 and 20% of pregnancies. And

Speaker 3:

They sometimes even quoted as possibly 30. It's just, we might not know if a miscarriage happened or not, because it would have entered so early, but it is, it does happen to so many people. And I do think the story of that grief and that anguish that comes after losing a baby at any gestation has, is becoming more and more mainstream and then doing so even over the 10 years that I've been in the community and doing so, like I think just yesterday, I saw that legislation is being passed in the United States to consider, to be considered as a, um, giving people who experienced loss miscarriage, specifically, uh, like loss bereavement days, or like miscarriage medical days, three days, um, as part of packages for companies or just as a government policy. So that's something to watch

Speaker 2:

Pregnancy and postpartum support, Minnesota been involved in both your professional and your personal journey.

Speaker 3:

They have been involved right from the very beginning of my journey of loss and then, uh, postpartum anxiety and pregnancy and debt society during my subsequent pregnancy. I think I remember it specifically. I was already a therapist myself when my daughter was still born. I worked in women's mental health, but in the chemical area, um, and severe and persistent mental illness, I didn't work in the maternal mental health realm. And I know when we lost our daughter, we got handed a packet in the hospital, the blue folder, and in, it was a list of all the therapists that were, um, trained in this area of grief and loss. And which also happens to be the perinatal postpartum mood and anxiety disorders. And I actually, wasn't the one who called the therapist to get an appointment. My husband called the specialists that were trained in this area that were trained through PPSs, but it was my husband because I was just so much in my grief. I couldn't make any phone calls at the time, but he said, we needed to go talk to somebody. This is why you do the work you do with your population, let somebody else help you now. And it was through just having flyer available at the different hospitals that I was able to connect right away with a great therapist, which I think made the difference in my journey. And I don't know if everybody's that lucky. And that's why I always tell people about QPS them as my clients now for resources, for themselves or for others and encourage clients to get involved in volunteering with the organization or even taking trainings to become a peer to peer educator. And I've taken trainings to them myself. And that's how I eventually became certified. Yeah. And that's how I became perinatal mental health certified myself.

Speaker 2:

You've taken your recovery a step further and created the pals pregnancy after loss support. Tell me about that.

Speaker 3:

It really comes out in my story of having a stillbirth. And then at the time there was no resource and that's changed so much. Like I said, how stories, people sharing their stories have kind of evolved and made more resources, more access to hearing other stories, more validation, but almost nine, 10 years ago that wasn't there. So people were sharing their stories about their loss. Um, more on social media, Instagram kind of became a thing. People are making larger blogs. So I started writing for a blog called I'm still standing. And there's a lot of validation in this writing of other people, being able to read your story and then getting validation that yes, I feel the same way. So I was writing at the time as well too, this wasn't just a therapy, intervention or resource that was made. But then going through my subsequent pregnancy, I actually got asked to be the knocked up blocker for a pregnancy newborn magazine. And my mom said that wasn't such a good term when she was growing up. And I said they were reclaiming it. And, um, so I wrote weekly about my subsequent pregnancy and in doing so different, um, online magazines, like the bereavement ones still standing, and of course pregnancy newborn magazine would share my blog. And more people were coming to my personal sites saying, Hey, there isn't a lot of people talking about this unique subset of the loss journey and how anxiety filled it is and how difficult it is and how it's can the anxiety of it can be debilitating. And so I remember in the shower after my daughter arrived safely and my subsequent pregnancy ended up being in my second daughter and she arrived safely and it was like two months postpartum. And I was like, oh my gosh, what if we created a space where it was kind of like baby center, the bump, but for everything pregnancy after a loss. And that's how pregnancy after loss support came to be. I knew a lot of writers in the field already. And I said, what if we talked about just pregnancy after the last year, we'll talk about the loss, but we won't focus just on that. We'll also talk about the unique struggles and intricacies of trying to get pregnant after a loss, holding hope while you're pregnant, after loss and even parenting in the first year. And so that's how pregnancy after loss support came about, it was supposed to be an online magazine. And then over the seven years that it's been out, it's just kind of like M has done it just evolves into its own beat and people who are in the community keep asking, I want to like support groups. So now we have like most people do, but we had them before. Most people did. We had, we have 14 moderated online support groups that are all very specific to pregnancy after a third trimester loss pregnancy after miscarriage. Um, and then those became very popular. And then social media kind of blew up in our services. As a magazine became very validating to people in the stories we shared. We changed my knocked up blogger to bump day blogger, and now people share their stories of their subsequent pregnancy after the last weekly with our bump day bloggers. And then as a therapist, I was getting asked to do educational, um, outreach and, and teachings for presentations. So I started talking about what I've learned in my practice and through the members of our community about what moms want for support and emotional support during their subsequent pregnancies. And so now we've created materials for doctors and nurses and ultrasound techs and therapists for how, like how to support someone through a subsequent pregnancy emotionally. And then the biggest ask that the community has had for the last three years is an app. And we've actually been working on it for the last two. And it's a week by week, what to expect in your subsequent pregnancy after loss. So it's called the pregnancy after loss support tracker or pregnancy after a loss tracker, actually that's, what's called, it's called the pregnancy after loss tracker. We're still settling on the name. Um, and it's coming out because it's really, the pals app is what I've been calling it. And it's coming out August 17th and you can, it's the one-stop shop where you can go to be in forums to talk to other people about your subsequent pregnancy to get week by week updates. There's books out there. There's really great books about how to get through your subsequent pregnancy week by week, but now it's free and it's for you in the Palm of your hand. And it's where everybody goes for support. It's in an app and you can meet other people there. And you can, you can find coping skills that I teach in therapy to my clients who are finding natural loss. And we're really excited about it. It's a beautiful place to be too. And we hope it continues to give people the validation of that. They're not crazy that this is the definition of, and saddened me and we can hold hope and fear and grief and joy in the same place.

Speaker 2:

Tell me how pals then serves people. How do they, how would somebody get connected to it? Or how would we refer somebody to it?

Speaker 3:

So it's a net nationwide organization. So it really depends on where you're located because we even have 10 to 15, um, in-person meet up groups while they were in person before the pandemic. Now they're online, uh, through zoom meetings and they're helping to return to in-person meetup groups where people can meet people in their area where there aren't support groups. We're actually really lucky in the twin cities. We have a lot of great professionally led support groups. But what pals does is we've created train for peer to peer group leaders in areas of the country where they don't have that kind of support system already in place. So that's one way you can get involved is through that. You can join our online Facebook groups. You can follow us on social media and soon our app will be in the apple and Android app stores. So those are all the places you can find us. And what we really do is we want to normalize the experience of pregnancy after loss and that it's not normal for a Tappan. And your emotional experience is normal for the abnormal situation of going through a pregnancy that follows the previous loss, who does pals serve? Pals serves any parent who's going through a subsequent pregnancy. And we're trying to actually change our language. Anyone who identifies as a mom right now, but anybody, a birthing person or parent who had a loss at any gestational age, from early pregnancy to losing the child after birth, we serve them as they walked the journey, the emotional journey of the subsequent pregnancy from trying to conceive to when you're pregnant again to postpartum. When you have all the confusing feelings of holding one baby hostessing, another,

Speaker 2:

How would somebody get connected to pals? Do you have a website or the name of the app? People can search

Speaker 3:

The website. Their main landing page is pregnancy after loss support.org. And we call it pals for short. You won't find us that way. And then all of our social media handy handles Facebook. Instagram is pregnancy after loss support. And then the app is in the app store. And it's just the pregnancy after loss app that you can download to your phone for free because it's actually completely a hundred percent funded by community members, which is pretty awesome. They wanted this app, they funded it, which was a lot of money. And now we have it for them. And, you know, the people who've been put invested in this app with the money towards it are people who were probably pregnant after I lost two years ago, but it was so important for them to have their experience validated and to help other people know they're not alone during their subsequent pregnancies that they donated so that they didn't even really get to experience the benefits of the app. The future generations of people will kind of like PPSs Michigan as well. Right? Like we, I'm assuming from what I know of the story is that this service PSM service was missing many, many years ago. And so out of wanting that service for yourself, wanting that specialized therapist, who knows what it's like to go through postpartum anxiety or depression, well, then people said I didn't have it, but I'm going to help other people have what I didn't have. And that's what we did with pregnancy. After all support

Speaker 2:

Are the online support groups in the meetups, free to patients for people to attend.

Speaker 3:

All of our services are free.

Speaker 2:

Thank you very much for joining us today, Lindsay, from our information about pregnancy after loss, see the description of the podcast for hyperlinks to the resources Lindsay noted.