Episode 5 of the Butterfly Spot is a shorter episode. Host and Butterfly Baskets Founder, Katie Hill, chats with Julie Shapiro, Founder of Aubrey's Advocate about six suggestions for the first six weeks after loss. These are practical ideas for those early days of grief and healing.
In this episode, you’ll hear about:
Aubrey's Advocate and its mission of education and advocacy
Six Suggestions for getting through those tough early days after pregnancy loss or infant loss
Podcast Episode 5 with Julie Shapiro of Aubrey's Advocate
Katie and Julie Podcast
[00:00:00] Katie Hill: Welcome to the Butterfly Spot. I'm Katie Hill, the Founder and Executive Director at Butterfly Baskets, a 501(c)3 pregnancy and infant loss support nonprofit based in Malvern, Pennsylvania. This podcast offers a space for connection and support for our community, the Butterfly Band.
On today's podcast we have Julie Shapiro of Aubrey's advocate and together we are going to discuss six suggestions to consider in the first six weeks following your loss to help start your healing journey. Thank you so much for joining us today, Julie.
[00:00:33] Julie Shapiro: Thanks, Katie, so much for having me I'm so excited to be on this podcast. Just a quick introduction to myself. Like Katie mentioned my name is Julie Shapiro. I am mom to Aubrey Ray Shapiro, who was born stillbirth at 38 weeks and four days on September 29th, 2020 following Aubrey's loss, we started an organization called Aubrey's Advocate. Our organization exists to support families in the aftermath of a perinatal or infant loss by advocating for your basic needs in a time of immeasurable grief, while simultaneously de-stigmatizing the topic of perinatal and infant loss through provider education and peer support. The real backbone to Aubrey's Advocate is that we focus on managing the medical bills and administrative tasks relating to a perinatal loss. So we are happy to provide a thorough review of your medical claims. We can work directly with your insurance companies and your employers to make sure that all avenues for financial liability from you as the parents have been exhausted.
[00:01:47] Katie Hill: Thanks Julie. So do you wanna get us started with the first of the six ideas we have.
[00:01:54] Julie Shapiro: Yes absolutely. So just to preface all this Katie and I sat down and put together this list, thinking back to our first few weeks, few months after our losses, trying to decide really what was it during that time that helped make each day just a little bit easier. And it really all boils down to taking care of yourself and really just being able to do what is necessary to get you from one day to the next. So these tips of course are very basic and these are just little things that you can do that can help take care of your body while your mind and heart are healing. So our first thing is to stay hydrated. Get a water bottle. Fill it up; keep it close to you. Feeling dehydrated can exacerbate a lot of the emotional feels that you're already dealing with, causing a lot of additional sleeplessness and anxiety. And as we all know water is the needed in order to just keep going on.
[00:02:56] Katie Hill: Number two, turn off or edit your social media. So in the early days it can be so hard to you know look on your newsfeed or scroll and just see things that can be upsetting, so we suggest if you know there's certain people maybe you mute them or if there's certain if it's you know Facebook that is hard for you or Instagram but TikTok is fine, maybe you just delete those for now. And you can come back when you want to or maybe not at all. You can protect yourself from having to go through that by taking some time to just minimize the social media stream that you're seeing.
[00:03:42] Julie Shapiro: You know, just to piggyback on that I personally deleted Instagram for 18 months following my loss and when I did finally get back on it, everybody was doing the same thing they were when I first got off. And it really does help you realize what is fake, what is real and always really remember that it's just a snippet in time of someone's life.
[00:04:04] Katie Hill: Yeah, I immediately deleted myself from any baby groups that I had joined, the due date groups and stuff like that or even some people that I care about that were due at the same time kind of just needed a break and that's okay. If you mute somebody they don't even know.
[00:04:19] Julie Shapiro: Self care and it's finest for
[00:04:22] Katie Hill: Mm-hmm
[00:04:23] Julie Shapiro: So number three is to get some daily movement. Even if you just set a goal for a 15 minute walk every day. Fresh air and sunlight, getting that vitamin D, really does help to regulate your emotions, regulate your hormones. And sometimes just a little change of scenery helps clear your mind even if it's just for that short period of time.
[00:04:45] Katie Hill: Yeah, even just going outside and putting your feet in the dirt.
They call it grounding
[00:04:50] Julie Shapiro: grounding
[00:04:51] Katie Hill: And it can really help you know regulate your nervous system and bring some of the energy back down. And number four on a similar note talking about energy we talk about using your creative energy and getting energy out. We've talked before about when you're pregnant, you know the love is building and your body is doing a creative activity and when that ends abruptly that creativity has to go somewhere. So maybe you try drawing, maybe it's that kind of creativity or I know that after I lost Isaac we came home and my husband was at work and I was home reorganizing my bathroom sinks and painting my nails and I just felt what I think I'm supposed to be doing in this moment. And on the other side sometimes it's just releasing the energy if you're you're feeling all these different emotions maybe you're mad. Julie you had mentioned about
[00:05:50] Julie Shapiro: chopping wood Yes exactly So, my therapist told me like when you have a surge of emotions where it's like you feel that anger that heartache that you're just everything. Whether it be triggered by something or you're just thinking about everything, that energy needs to leave your body some way. Whether it be crying running screaming, it doesn't matter. It just has to get out And so one of my big things that my husband helped me to do was he set up a wood chopping station outside and just swinging the ax and hitting that wood and feeling it split really was such a release for me. And who could have ever seen that coming, never. So number five is to get to know your triggers. People, places, TV shows, even songs. Be aware of them the sooner you know what they are the sooner you can start protecting yourself from them. You don't need to go places that you don't want to. If you find yourself walking in target and it's triggering for you because it makes you think of when you were there when you were pregnant buying baby things, don't go to target. If there are certain people who you just unfortunately even if they're some of your best friends and whether they're pregnant at the same time as you or you just feel like you can't relate to them, you don't need to answer them. This time is all about taking care of yourself and healing your heart and you know what is best for you.
[00:07:27] Katie Hill: And lastly, we have give yourself permission to do whatever you need to do without judging. In the early days sometimes you just wanna do something and you don't really know if it's something you should do or what. I remember after my first loss I wanted to go back to work I felt like I didn't really wanna stay home, I had things that I was thinking about and I just kind of needed to go back to work but then a couple weeks later I needed to take a day off and process and I don't know that I did give myself that permission at that time I think I pushed through. But I would suggest give yourself the time in that moment if you feel something like in your gut or you know like I think I need to do this. I really want like green juice or something.
[00:08:16] Julie Shapiro: Yeah or like if you just have say you woke up that day with a list of things you planned on doing and you get through the first two things and you're like I just can't do this Then don't Nobody is judging you and you are not to judge yourself at all Absolutely treating yourself with grace. Absolutely recognizing that all you need to do in that moment is to survive and you're doing just that.
[00:08:42] Katie Hill: Yes definitely. And it it gets easier as the time goes on in some ways.
[00:08:47] Julie Shapiro: This becomes your new norm and you grow around your grief. Absolutely.
Katie, thank you so much for having me on your podcast today So nice to connect with everybody And I hope that everybody who is listening found some of these tips helpful. Find me on Instagram @aubreysadvocate. You can check out my website https://aubreysadvocate.com/. I am here to help you, as a friend, as a fellow loss mom. And in any way that we can honor our children together, I would love to do it.
[00:09:21] Katie Hill: Thank you so much Julie and thank you for all the important your work you're doing with Aubrey's Advocate.
Check out Aubrey's Advocate on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/aubreysadvocate
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