Maribeth Doerr

Shades of Healing ~ Creating a Wholehearted Life

Can You Help Me Bring Yoga to Women Pregnant After Pregnancy/Infant Loss?

In 2014, I had a successful GoFundMe campaign to complete Baby Loss Doula Training.  Thank you all so much for helping me achieve that dream.  In 2015, I completed the requirements and am a certified baby loss doula.  I help women and families in my community as well as across the country (and even one in Australia!).  I do this work as a volunteer, and as a woman who went through labor knowing my baby would be born dead (and knowing after delivery that my second son would die as well), I understand the need for women to have someone help them make plans for their birth when they know their baby will not survive.  This work is truly a labor of love.  These babies are wanted and cherished and these few moments (or days) after birth is the only chance their parents have to parent them.  I help them decide how they want to do exactly that.  You helped me achieve a dream come true!  Thank you thank you thank you!

On that first GoFundMe campaign, I had a wish list that included Prenatal Yoga Teacher training.  I am a registered yoga teacher (RYT) and now it’s time for me to take the next step in helping women who experience pregnancy/infant loss and to full fill that first campaign.  Pregnancy after loss is an incredibly emotional roller coaster.  Yoga helps with anxiety and stress; yoga for women who are pregnant again after pregnancy loss not only helps with grief but also with the fear that goes with another pregnancy.  It also helps with bonding with the new little one while holding space for the love for the baby that died.

I want to bring yoga to these women and I pray and hope you’ll help me.  My goals are to teach locally, to offer private lessons both locally and via skype which includes grief coaching and to make yoga videos for women who are not local or wish to learn over the internet.  I have yet to find anyone who is serving families in this way.  It’s needed – and badly!

I need your help to fund my training.  And good news!  Since my first GoFundMe where I thought I’d have to travel to San Francisco, there is now a prenatal yoga teacher training in my area (where I completed my 200 hour yoga teacher training) beginning in January 2017, provided there are enough signups at the training studio.  I need $1370 by January 1, 2017.  The additional amount to $1500 is for the fees that GoFundMe and WePay charge for this fundraiser (7.9% plus .30 per donation).  Can you help?

My wish list items include:  hoping to be certified in chair yoga and gentle yoga so that I can teach seniors at my church.  I am a Registered and Certified Yoga Teacher.  It would be helpful to be certified in chair yoga ($695) and gentle yoga for seniors ($495).  I can teach these now; however I am not certified and in teaching seniors, certification is extremely helpful and valuable.

I am in the process of creating my own brand of Yoga for Grief and I hope to debut that in Summer 2017.  In the meantime, I humbly ask you to help me help women grieving a pregnancy loss and/or trying to conceive/are pregnant again after a loss(es).  Getting back in touch with your body after such a loss is so important and vital.  Yoga can do this; someone trained in pregnancy loss support AND yoga can help these women move forward with less anxiety which always is better for baby!  Help me be that person.

To donate, click here.  And thank you for sharing this information with your friends and family.

From my heart to yours,



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Friday Faves – What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well

For the last year, I’ve been a hospice volunteer.  One of these days I’ll write about what it means to me to do this work, but right now, my heart is a bit too tender to do that.  My most recent patient died this past Monday night.  She was a character, and I can only hope that my visits helped her a tiny fraction of what I felt from spending these precious last weeks of her life with her.

It’s with this hard joyful work in my heart that I introduce you to an extraordinary woman named Heather Plett.  I was taking an online mandala class with her when her mother died.  A year ago, Heather wrote an amazing article, What it means to “hold space” for people, plus eight tips on how to do it well, that was birthed out her experiences with her mother.  It seems ironic that this post is going viral now, 14 months later, but I’m so glad it is.  As a hospice volunteer, “holding space” is what we do.  But truthfully, this is a gift we can give ANYONE, not just the dying and the bereaved.  Anyone who needs someone to listen will benefit from a kind soul holding space for them . . . and Heather explains how to do just that.

Please give it a read and while you’re there, learn more about Heather and her work.

And um, hold space for me tomorrow, May 14, and I remember my mom on what would have been her 88th birthday, which also happens to be my birthday.  Thank you!

God’s blessings to all of you . . .


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Things Rise from the Ashes in the Most Unexpected Ways

It was 4 years ago tonight that I sat with my dad as he took his last breath, just 4 months and 2 days after my mom died. Tonight we attended the Advent Soup & Worship at church and it just seemed so appropriate to do so on this anniversary. We had taken a long sabbatical from church but when my mom died, my dad insisted on going to church without her even though he couldn’t figure out how to get there from my house after he moved in with us.

Having a parent move in with you is a huge upheaval.  We tried to take care of him and we tried to take care of ourselves.  Big G and I reluctantly got up early to take Dad to church (and by early, sometimes it was 4am when Dad would get up to shave so we could be to church by 7:30am – eegads!!). We hadn’t planned on discovering what a church family/community can mean but when Dad died, we were adopted by some incredible people who let us know we did the best we could. I never imagined how much my life would change.

Four years later, I work there full time and my son works there part time (neither of us ever expected that!).  I work with such amazing people, sharing my gifts, and I learn something new everyday. I like to think that my mom made all this happen. She’d get the biggest kick out of it all. So no sadness today; just joy at how things rise from the ashes in the most unexpected ways.  Life is remarkable.

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WriteGrief for the Holidays 2014

write grief

What happened to 2014? If you’re like me, you’ve been muddling around in grief and all concept of time has slipped from the ol’ brain. I don’t want to be caught unawares on Thanksgiving Day and on into December so I plan to participate in WriteGrief for the Holidays 2014. Who’s with me?

Writing brings me such clarity, even when it’s stream of consciousness pouring out that seemingly doesn’t make any sense. It somehow soothes the neural pathways and voila! The light comes in and I find some peace. WriteGrief for the Holidays will not only help you find some clarity in your muddy grief but help you plan how you want to get through the holidays (and that may seem unthinkable right now but trust me, it’s doable!).

The details for the program are here but in a nutshell, 8 weeks of prompts, starting November 10 through January 11, 2015, $35 bucks. It’s worth it – and so are you!  You can join anytime before December 22 and still get all 8 prompts.

A sample non-holiday-related prompt is here.  Check it out.

The holidays can seem horrifying in the face of grief.  I know dearheart, I really know.  A little advance planning can really help.  We can do this!


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Asking for your help . . . Baby Loss Doula training

I have humbly created a gofundme project so I can complete my Baby Loss Doula certification.  I need your help!  Here are the deets:

My first baby was stillborn.  I was 19, in a new city, in a military hospital, with no one but my husband with me.  I didn’t get to see my son and wasn’t given any options for burial.

Three years later, my second baby was born and died 5 days later.  This time, the nursing staff encouraged us to spend as much time with our baby as possible and helped us make memories with him.  We were given support group information and these folks got us in touch with funeral and cemetery people who were wonderful with baby loss folks (many aren’t!).  The difference in my grieving process for my second son was so much easier because I was treated as a mother and my son was treated with so much dignity and respect.

Sadly, many families are still treated as though losing a baby is nothing to be upset over.  Can you imagine going through labor knowing your baby will be born dead?  I can and having to make decisions at this horrible time in your life is excruciating because there is so little time to do it, but years to live with the aftermath of those decisions.  I want to be there with women going through this agony to help them make the best decisions they can for themselves and for their baby at an unbelievably difficult time.  This is the only time they will get to parent these sweet little babies – help me help them . . .

To complete my Baby Loss Doula certification through Loss Doulas International, I need to complete a childbirth class.  Such a class is coming to my hometown (a rare event!) and is being put on by  The cost of this training is $145 and I do not have this in my budget to pay the tuition by September 19.  I need your help to do this . . .

This class is part of a 3 day training for Birth Doulas.  I need the first day for my Baby Loss Doula certification.  I would really like to take the entire 3 day training to become a Birth Doula.  My dream is to be a birth doula for women going through a pregnancy and birth experience after a loss.  Rainbow pregnancies are one gigantic roller coaster!  Having a birth doula who understands the fears and craziness of subsequent pregnancy would be a gift.  I wish I had had one for my two surviving rainbow babies!  

These extra two days are $425 making the 3 day training session $570.  I’m asking for your help in raising this money.  Should I be fortunate enough to raise more than this amount, the extra money will go into a fund to pay for Prenatal Yoga Teaching Training (I am a yoga teacher) that is not available in my town.  I want to teach prenatal yoga to mommies pregnant after loss. The total cost for the closest training is $2500.

Please help me help these women!  Pregnancy loss is so misunderstood; pregnancy after loss is even more so.  I can help these families, with your help.

Thank you so very very much!

In memory of Andrew John and Mark Adam Pruett and all the babies gone too soon . . .

Loving Mark Adam who taught me more about love, life, and myself than any other person in the world.

Loving Mark Adam who taught me more about love, life, and myself than any other person in the world.

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My Biggest Fear

I’ve been scarce here. Honestly I’ve felt like there’s an elephant in the room I needed to address, and I really didn’t want to do it. Now it’s time to acknowledge it here because I really am okay; shaken, but okay.

If you’ve read my blog before, you know I’ve experienced a great deal of loss. My biggest fear isn’t my death; it’s more loss. It’s being left here alone without any of my loved ones. It’s a fear that takes my breath away at times when one of my guys is late coming home or doesn’t answer a text.

On March 31, “it” happened again. My 36 year old nephew didn’t answer my texts. He was found dead in his bathroom by his roommate. According to most of the world’s Big Book of Grief Rules, losing a nephew doesn’t mean much.  But this wasn’t any ordinary nephew I saw once in a while or sent a birthday card with $20 and forgot about him the rest of the year.  No, this child was like one of my own, like my little brother, and I miss him terribly.

Sean’s parents divorced when he was 3, and my brother got custody. He spent many summers with us when he was growing up and lived with us for a few years as an adult. I was just 18 when he was born and since he had a mom, a stepmom, and a very involved grandma who was more like his mother than anyone, I was the big sister who listened and understood his angst. His was not an easy life, but there was always laughter when he was with us (and quite a few tears, mostly from laughing!). We were more like siblings especially after my brothers died. He was an only child, I had become an only child, and we were united in dealing with my parents. We could be as honest and weird with each other as we needed – no judgments – we “got” each other in a way that nobody else ever did.  We were in frequent contact; Sean’s death is significant in my life. My own sons thought of him as their older brother and to know we’ll never have those wildly silly experiences with him again is incredibly heartbreaking for all of us.

In the two months ince Sean died, I’ve realized something (again) that I’ve always known.  I would – and I do – survive losing my loved ones.  I would survive more loss.  I AM surviving more loss.  It’s unthinkable that I would survive losing my husband and two surviving sons but I would.  I certainly don’t want to!!  But if I had to, I could.

How?  I’d do it the way I always do – be with others who understand, be with myself in whatever state I’m in, and find a way to reinvest in life. Currently I’m a pastoral care assistant at a church which provides me with a much needed perspective shift when I feel a pity party coming on. For me, helping others helps me find a reason to get up in the morning.  Being with people who don’t do the platitude dance certainly helps too.

I pray I don’t have to go through this again.  But truthfully, I’m going through it every day because grief doesn’t really end.  I choose to remember the good memories though.  I choose to find joy and beauty everyday.  On those days that are incredibly hard, I acknowledge that and look that elephant in the room straight in the eye.  I give myself permission to grieve.  Then I pull myself up by the bootstraps and remember how blessed I am to love and be loved.

Sean, you were so loved, and always will be.  Thank you for being you.

Sean Michael Wilder
July 31, 1979 – March 31, 2014
We will forever feel your presence and love you always.

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WriteGrief has launched and other less interesting tidbits

Can you believe January is nearly over already?!  It’s raining as I write this, I hear a plunk plunk plunk as it leaks through the ceiling into my office.  But it’s delicious moisture that my area needs so badly to avoid a more serious drought this Summer.  It’s also the new moon and so I’m happy to share something new with you . . .

WriteGrief has launched following WriteGrief for the holidays.  If you enjoy writing or exploring your innermost self and you’re grieving, you’ll find WriteGrief helpful (although, it’s not always easy, it’s not always fun, and I know some of you will call me names with some of these prompts 🙂  It’s okay; I won’t get offended!).  Even if you don’t enjoy writing, these prompts can work for you because you don’t have to be a writer to do them.  In fact, it works  best when you’re NOT fussy about editing and spelling and grammar and all the rules I’ve just abused this sentence.  Letting go and digging deep without regard to grammar or any other rules can make a cloudy merky grief filled mind find clarity as you see your words in black and white.  It’s been a lifesaver for me, and I hope it will be for you as well.

So without further ado, here are the details for WriteGrief over on my Permission to Grieve site:  I am SO excited about finally offering this to you.

What else am I up to?  I am a yoga teacher in training!  Can you believe it – and at my age??  Some days I think I’m totally nuts.  It is my dream, though, to teach yoga to grieving folks and those struggling with whatever it is they’re struggling with.  Grief has such physical symptoms that we don’t realize; we tend to furl up into ourselves hiding our hearts from further pain.  Yoga and movement can help us unfurl, unstress, and connect with your hearts again.  It’s a gentle opening and that is so very healing.  We can learn to breathe with our entire lungs again instead of taking sips of air with the very tops of our lungs.  As you can probably tell, I’m passionate about this and I can’t wait to bring it to you.

Last but not least, a beautiful share from David Gilmour as he sings Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 . . . Enjoy

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An Invitation to Celebrate

Life is full of surprises. Sometimes those surprises bring us to our knees, and we wonder how we’ll ever recover. Later on, (whether it’s weeks or many years later) you’ll probably find yourself shaking your head at the memories, proud that you survived. Somewhere along the way, you rediscovered the natural resilience you were born with and found a way; it’s what we all do eventually.

Today, I invite you think about what something difficult in your life and how you’ve learned from it, or found something positive in it, or how you’ve DONE something positive because of it. And I invite you to celebrate it, today, in the midst of the holidays/holidaze/hellidays.

Why today? In 1982, my beautiful son, Mark Adam Pruett, was born. He died 5 1/2 days later. I CELEBRATE his life every December 11, and I invite all of you to celebrate with me by remembering something difficult in your life that you turned into something positive in some way. It’s 6 degrees F as I write this, and thinking of Mark and his great big life makes me feel warm and radiant. Mark has been my greatest gift. I am so grateful I got to be him mom. He taught me more about life and myself in 5 1/2 days than anyone else ever could. I am a better person and definitely a better mother than I otherwise would have been. I grieve his death but I CELEBRATE his life. His loss was a gut wrenching experience that began a chain of more loss in my life. I didn’t think I would survive; I almost didn’t . . . but I did. I rediscovered my natural resilience and I moved forward while always keeping him in my heart; I chose AND and I continue to do so every day, even when it’s painful.

So, what’s your story? I’d love to hear your reversals, rediscoveries, and reinventions. Here’s a toast to Mark Adam; I hope you’ll please celebrate with me today.

Mark Adam Pruett 1st Picture - December 11, 1982

Mark Adam Pruett
1st Picture – December 11, 1982

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Interview with Square-Peg Karen!

I know – it’s been forever since I’ve posted anything.  I AM alive, and it’s been an interesting 2013.  My health is slowly coming back after two surgeries in February, a week long retreat in March, and a new diagnosis of pancreatic insufficiency.  I’m working with that in several ways, and I plan to be back to work July 1.

In the meantime, here’s an interview I did with Karen Caterson of Square-Peg People.  Karen is a hoot and oh so wise.  Our interview was a gigglefest and I hope we get to do it again sometime (with me interviewing Karen!).  I’d be honored if you checked it out and feel free to post a question if you’re so moved.

And thanks Karen! ♥

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Mother’s Day Isn’t Always Roses and Cheesy Cards . . .

I originally wrote this article for Inner Child Magazine. I would LOVE for you to pop over there and read through the May issue. Lots of good stuff! Here on my blog, I’ve added a few personal comments to this version. . .

My Mom, Marie Wilder
May 14, 1928 – July 30, 2011

Over 46 countries honor mothers with a special day with the US as well as several other countries celebrating Mother’s Day in May. Anna Jarvis is credited with creating Mother’s Day as a national holiday in the United States. She lobbied tirelessly for years, and finally, in 1914, President Woodrow Wilson signed a proclamation making Mother’s Day a national holiday to be held each year on the second Sunday of May. Since then, it’s become a Hallmark delight, and why not? Mothers sacrifice a lot to raise their children. They deserve this honor, and it can be a fun way for a family to reconnect and enjoy each other.

There are times, however, when Mother’s Day is simply painful, and it’s important for the celebratory world to understand that it’s not always roses and cheesy cards for everyone.  For example . . .

  • Perhaps your mother has died
  • Perhaps your baby or child has died
  • Perhaps you have been trying to have a baby and haven’t been able to conceive
  • Perhaps your wife has died and you’re helping your children grieve for their mom
  • Perhaps someone you loved as a mother/grandmother has died
  • Perhaps you’ve never known your mom or you’re estranged from her
  • Perhaps you know someone experiencing some of these issues

From the time I lost my first baby until I had a healthy child in my arms, I went through nine Mother’s Days without any acknowledgement that I was a mom – and I most certainly was even though those babies were not here with me. Those were painful days. Now I’ve come what feels like full circle as I’m about to experience my first Mother’s Day without my mom. It’s different and yet it’s the same – everywhere I go there are huge displays of Mother’s Day cards and suggested gifts in the stores . . .

It’s a challenge when the rest of the world is celebrating something as universal as motherhood and your heart is so tender. The days leading up to Mother’s Day with all the in-your-face advertising can feel overwhelming and is such a reminder of what you’ve lost and can’t have. You may be wondering how you’re going to get through this day.

First, take a deep breath and realize that however you feel, it’s okay and you’re okay. There’s nothing wrong with you if you want to pretend this day doesn’t exist . . . or if you want to celebrate it with everything you have. There is no right or wrong way to feel; feelings just are and they don’t define you. As Bridget Pilloud reminds us, “Don’t try to make FACTS out of your feelings.”

Secondly, be aware that you do have a choice in what you do on Mother’s Day and even in how you feel. You can’t have your loved one(s) back but you do have choices for the day.

It helps to be prepared. Waking up on Mother’s Day morning wondering what to do or blindly following someone else’s plans for you will breed a lot of discomfort (and not just for you!). Spend some time, even if it’s just a few minutes, getting still and thinking about what you really want for this day. What do you hope will happen? You can’t have your mom, child, grandma, wife, other significant woman back but you can plan a day that both soothes your soul and acknowledges your feelings. You do that by getting clear on what you want for this day.

If you’re like me, you may be worried that doing what YOU want is selfish and everyone will be upset with you. Forget about pleasing the masses, and let go of that inner voice that says you HAVE TO (fill in the blank with whatever you think that is). Taking care of yourself is taking steps towards healing and this is what your family and friends ultimately want anyway.

Ask yourself if spending time with your family and friends on Mother’s Day would feel wonderful and comforting or does the thought set your teeth on edge? Perhaps your heart wants some solitude with a latte and a place to journal your thoughts. Maybe it would feel lovely to do something to celebrate your mother (or child or wife, etc) by watching her favorite movie or planting flowers either alone or with a select group of friends and family. Take a deep breath and ask your heart what would feel most nourishing.

Once you feel clear on what you want, communicate these wishes with your family and friends. This may feel daunting but remember that people aren’t mind readers, and they truly do want what’s best for you. Oftentimes they don’t quite know what to do and are waiting to take a cue from you. Make it easier for them by simply telling them what you need and want. Remember, you are the best person to decide what’s best for you.

It helps not to be defensive but loving, gentle and direct. If you feel it would be more comfortable to write a note to your family and friends conveying your wishes, then do so. There’s nothing wrong with that approach.

If you’re still unclear about what would feel right to do on Mother’s Day, here are some wonderful resources full of suggestions:

Whatever you decide to do, remember that you can change it up however you need when the day comes – or for next year and the year after. The first year tends to be the most difficult but you may find yourself in this situation of asking what you want and need in subsequent years. Be flexible and open. Whatever you decide, it’s okay.

If you know someone who is grieving on Mother’s Day, the kindest gift you can give is your heart and the ability to sit with their pain without judging or trying to take it away. Providing a compassionate community by simply listening is courageous and the perfect gift. Don’t make decisions for them or try to “fix” them; just listen with an open heart and quiet mouth. If they wish to be alone, respect that they know what’s best. A phone call acknowledging their feelings is always appropriate as well. A voice message saying, “I’m thinking about you and (the loved one’s name) today. I’m here if you need anything.” can be incredibly validating for a grieving heart.

Mother’s Day is a celebration and as much as you may not feel like celebrating, open your heart to celebrating your loved one’s life and how it’s touched yours . . . Mother’s Day will never look quite the same as it does for those who haven’t lost a mother or child, but it can still be a peaceful day when you’re willing to live it wholeheartedly which means leaning into the pain AND the joy.

Thinking of you Mom! I hope you get to cuddle with Andy, Mark, MJ, Summer Rose, and David today ♥

If this is a difficult day for you because of some of the issues I’ve mentioned, I’d love to hear how to plan to spend/spent the day. Let’s share our stories and help each other. Much love to all of our tender hearts . . .

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