“Our Heartbreaking Choices” by Christie Brooks

“Our Heartbreaking Choices”
by Christie Brooks, mom to cherub Madison Brooks

Pregnancies aren’t always perfect. Prenatal testing can reveal life-threatening issues with the baby’s health, which can leave a parent contemplating the unthinkable- ending the pregnancy. Christie Brooks, a CHERUBS member, made the heartbreaking decision to interrupt her pregnancy in 2003 when her baby was diagnosed in utero with a left-sided diaphragmatic hernia. Through online support networks she was able to connect with other mothers who made the same agonizing decision, but for a variety of different anomalies. Together they put their stories in a book and self-published it last October. The book, “Our Heartbreaking Choices,” contains the personal stories of 46 women who interrupted their much-wanted pregnancies for medical reasons. The purpose of the book was to share their stories in the hopes of helping other parents who have undergone a similar loss to feel less alone, less isolated, and less stigmatized.

This book is available on Amazon.com

http://www.amazon.com/Our-Heartbreaking-Choices-Interrupting-Much-Wanted/dp/0595530478

**CHERUBS is not a pro-life or pro-choice organization. Our mission is to help all CDH families and make sure that they have all the information that they need to make informed choices

The Up Hill Battle of Grief

“It isn’t for the moment you are struck
that you need courage,
but for the long up hill battle to faith,
sanity and security.

Anne Morrow Lindbergh

CHERUBS National Children’s Memorial Day Tribute


National Children’s Memorial Day is December 14th. At 7:00 pm in each time zone, people will be lighting candles to remember all children lost.

Over 800 babies are lost to CDH in the United States alone. We remember all the families who mourn their children from Congenital Diaphragmatic and those who mourn their children lost from other circumstances.

Please take a moment to visit our site and scroll through the names of our cherubs with wings. http://www.cdhsupport.org

If you would like your cherub’s name added or removed, please e-mail me at dawn.williamson@cherubs-cdh.org

National Children’s Memorial Day – December 14, 2008

NCMD

NCMD

http://www.compassionatefriends.org/

Every year since 1997 CHERUBS members have participated in National Children’s Memorial Day. This was started by Compassionate Friends in remembrance of all children lost. This includes children of all ages, including those not yet born, and includes children lost from all diseases, birth defects, accidents, murders, suicides – ALL children. Because we have several cherubs who were lost over 1 yr old, the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day didn’t encompass all of our cherubs – National Children’s Memorial Day does. It also allow grieving parents to meet with other local grieving parents in their areas. This event occurs every year on the 2nd Sunday of December and proclamations by the Senate and President are signed. Proclamations are also signed by other heads of state around the world.

Each year, most of our grieving families light candles at 7:00 pm – with each time zone this creates a continuous light around the world for 24 hours. Many of us light candles for our cherubs and for other cherubs as well. I invite ALL members to participate this year. This includes those of you who still have your cherubs – please light a candle for those cherubs lost, in honor of your miracle and blessing of still having your cherub here.

Some of you may know, I have had many miscarriages. I light candles for those babies as well and light candles for many cherubs. I started doing this in 1997 and in 1999 I had to add a candle for Shane. That first year his candle (a tealight) caught my coffee table on fire. 20-something candles on the table for my babies and many cherubs and his somehow got the polyurethane so hot that it burnt a hole in my antique table. I still used that table until last month when I got married and didn’t have room for it – I smiled every time I saw that burn mark – like Shane was sending me a sign that he was there. Because the 2 years before, he had been, watching the flames on the candles as his dad and I said prayers for the children lost. And saying prayers for how thankful we were to have him still here. This is why I ask of all you to participate – in joy for our cherubs still here and in memory for those who are not.

Some other things we can do to also raise awareness…. wear CDH Awareness clothing. It doesn’t matter what group it’s from, what color the ribbon is… just raise awareness. Our Texas members had group candle lighting ceremonies for 2 years. I help a group candle lighting in NC for all local grieving parents (not just CDH) one year. Churches will often include information in their services and programs if you ask. Many churches will let you hold candle lighting ceremonies as well. During the day you could organize a balloon release with the children’s names on the balloons (florists will often donate them). Local newspapers usually welcome stories on NCMD and the events held locally. This is a great way to raise awareness of NCMD and CDH. Or you can just gather your family in your home and light candles and say prayers at 7:00.

The week before NCMD, our site will change to black and white and there will be a listing of all the 100’s of babies lost to CDH on our homepage, with a candle by each of their names (make sure you check the box to give publishing permission on your Profile so your cherub is included if your cherub has wings). This will stay up for 1 week and it will be a very solemn reminder of just how many cherubs are lost – scrolling and scrolling through a list of names of victims to CDH is heartbreaking when you think of all the families of all these children. We do this out of respect for our grieving families, those who will not get to buy toys for their cherubs this Christmas or watch them build snowmen or celebrate New Year’s.

The point of all we are doing for NCMD, of all of this, is let us all participate this year and remember why we are all here – to help CDH families and to try to stop the loss of more babies to CDH.

If you would like to hold a local event, please let us know.

CHERUBS – The Association of Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia Research, Awareness and Support

http://www.cdhsupport.org

NCMD

CDH Support and Friendship at CHERUBS

One of our Advisors made a great observation this week. She said that one thing she’s learned in this CDH journey is that you will always come across a few people who believe that they have been victimized more by CDH than anyone else. I agree, unfortunately, those people exist. They have suffered more, their child went through more, they know more, their grief is worse, they will do more for CDH, they are the self-proclaimed “Jesus of CDH” sent to save the world of this birth defect even though they have little experience and even less knowledge of CDH, they will be most popular in the CDH community, they need more support than other parents, their child will be remembered the most, etc…. people whose pain and grief is so great in their own eyes that they fail to see that others are in pain just as much and turn CDH into a competition instead of what it is – a tragic birth defect. These are the people who cause more pain than support, they start arguments, drama, can’t get along with others or do whatever their pain leads them to do without a thought of how it could hurt someone else. This type of person exists when dealing with any tragedy or support group, not just CDH. This type of person seems to flourish on listservs, where they have a captive audience and a lot of direct attention to anything they say. In a huge support group of over 2500 people we have fortunately only had a few such people and they were long ago removed from our membership.

The point of this post is…. there is none of that at CHERUBS.

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We have not used outdated listservs in a long time. We do not allow drama on our forums or in our membership. Our site and organization has been drama-free for almost 5 years (the last time we had a drama queen we had to remove). No misunderstandings. No cattiness. No mass exodus of members. No quitting of Advisors who can’t get along. No mudsling. No backstabbing. No silly childish behavior. No negativity. No judgement. Only support. On the internet where meanness is common and people can hide behind anonymity to say the most cruel things… this is a rarity to have a totally positive and supportive group. And we are so proud of that!

On our site, parents can talk freely without the fear of being judged.
Everyone is heard. Everyone is supported. There are no drama queens. There are no cliques. There are no popular members. Everyone is equal. It doesn’t matter if you are an advisor, a board member, a volunteer or a new member – everyone is equal. Parents can log on and ask for prayers. They can brag about their child’s achievements. They can vent about how hard it is to deal with CDH. They can share a silly story. They can share their fears. They can cry. And we are here for them, all of them. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. CHERUBS is here.

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