Category Archives: Miscarriage Stillbirth Infant Loss Awareness

Release

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Auriel-0045 As I scroll through Pinterest I see images of balloon releases almost daily. I see them pinned to wedding and party boards, but most frequently I see them pinned to miscarriage and loss boards. I can understand the comfort and healing that can come from a release. I understand that people want to send their angels something on their special days. But, and please don’t think I’m heartless and stop reading, I don’t think these people understand the effect a balloon release will have on our world. If they did, would they really want that to be their child’s legacy? There are alternatives.

balloonsblow.org

First a little information about the damage a balloon or paper lantern release can have on the environment. A beach litter survey organized by the Marine Conservation Society has shown the amount of balloons and balloon pieces found on the beach have tripled in the past 10 years.  As balloons pop or deflate they return to earth as litter. Both marine and terrestrial animals, such as dolphins, cows, dogs, birds, and many other species have been hurt or killed by balloons. The animal is usually killed from the balloon blocking its digestive tract, leaving them unable to take in any more nutrients. It slowly starves death. The animals can also become entangled in the balloon and its ribbon making the animal unable to move or eat. Sea Turtles are especially at risk because they mistake balloons for jellyfish, their natural food source.  Even “bio-degradable” balloons are hazardous. Said to break down in the same time as an oak leaf–which takes about four years–these latex balloons can lay around for years.

I was surprise to learn that paper lanterns are not any better. Beside the fact that they are not as biodegradable as you might think, these lanterns are very dangerous as they return to earth. Lanterns can cause serious burns to any animals or people who are hit by them on their descent. Wildfires and house fires have both been caused by lantern releases.

So what to do?  If you search the web you will find many alternatives to a balloon or lantern release.  Some suggestions include dove or butterfly releases (which have their own impact on the environment and can be very costly), but here are a few of my favorites:

Bubble Rain by Steve Jurvetson

A Bubble Release

There is so much I love about a bubble release.  The shiny little orbs of magic floating up into the sky can contain so much.  They literally contain your breath, but also your kisses, your love, your hopes, and your dreams.  It’s like blowing kisses to heaven.  The process of breathing in and breathing out to create the bubbles can also be very therapeutic.   The image of hundreds of bubbles for each person gathered is breathtaking.

Beside that I love that it is so inexpensive, and supplies are everywhere.  You can pick up a big bottle of bubbles from the grocery store for a few dollars or head over to your local craft or party story for fancy little bottle which can be purchased in bulk from the wedding department.  Or even go in for a little more eco-friendly kick and make your own solution with this recipe from Green & Clean Mom

Цветы на воде by Lilizaripo

A Water Release

Float flowers or flower petals out on a pond, lake, or ocean.  Just be sure they are not poisonous to indigenous wildlife first, and not an excessive amount.

Another possibility for a water release could be orange peel candles.  I’ll admit, I just thought of this one and can’t find information on the potential environmental impact.  I’ve seen orange peel candles all over pinterest, made by taking the fruit out of the peel and using the pith (the white flaky part of the peel) as a wick.  There is a good instruction guide at Home Naturale. Now, you would be releasing fire into the environment, so be aware of your surrounding. I think I’ll try this one out in August around Auriel’s due date and let everyone know how it goes then.

Just a few credits before we go: 

Thank you Balloons Blow for information on the environmental impact of balloon and lantern releases and the image of balloons on the beach.

Bubble Rain by Steve Jurvetson, Used  under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.

Цветы на воде by Lilizaripo, Used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Bereaved Mother’s Day Blessings

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IMG_3405May is the month for mothers.  Unfortunately, not all mothers will be celebrating.  I consider myself to be extremely blessed to have my three sons here with me.  I look forward to celebrating Mother’s day with them in a few weeks.

I also consider myself very blessed to have a son in Heaven.  I lost Auriel in a first trimester miscarriage in December 2010.  I’m not going to share much of his story now, but I do want to share a little of how he has changed my life.

Auriel has given me a gift of patience.  I find that I am more patient with his brothers.  I am also more patient with others.  I more easily sympathize with what they are going through, even if I don’t know what it is.  I am more aware that people are struggling with invisible baggage that sometimes their closest friends and loved ones don’t understand.  If I can help even a little just by offering a kind smile I choose to do that.

Auriel has also made me more short tempered in some aspects too.  I find that I treasure life even more since his loss than before, and I get very irritated when others do not respect life.  I see this in the news, innocent victims of horrible crimes.  I see mothers grieving because their child has been killed.  I see mothers being attacked for grieving and loving their child who has done the unthinkable.  ALL life is precious.

Driving has become a nightmare for me.  I want to shout at folks who put their own schedule ahead of the safety of others.  People who have so little disregard for the lives of others that they speed down the street weaving in and out of traffic.  People in such a hurry that they cut the wrong way down a (temporary) one way street in front of my son’s school.

Where these things bothered me before, now I just want to yell at the top of my lungs “What do you think you are doing?  Why are you so fast to put yourself before others, so fast to hate?”  I find it both easier and harder to see the good in people since Auriel.

In many ways Auriel has given me more as a woman than his brothers, more as a mother than his brothers.  Yet it is the presence of his brothers that makes me a mother in our society.  One in four American women are affected by miscarriage, still-birth, and infant loss.  One in four American mothers are not considered mothers by our society.  If you are one of those mothers I want you to know that I think you are a beautiful mother.  I know that your baby matters.  You matter.  You are a mom even if all your children have their wings.

For the very brave women willing to share their losses with the world I would like to share these graphics with you.  They are sized for a Facebook timeline cover and please feel free to use them if you would like.  The quote is from Francesca Cox, and we all know it to be true, “A Mother is not defined by the number of children you can see, but by the love she holds in her heart.”

International Bereaved Mother’s Day is this Sunday, May 5th.  If you know someone who will be remembering and mourning their child please take a moment to let them know that you care.

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