I Don’t Want to Do Something Wrong…

My friend Desi wrote to me last night wanting thoughts on how she might best support a friend:

My girlfriend just lost her baby. She was around 27 weeks. I don’t know what I need to do. I am going to mail a card tomorrow, but I don’t want to do something wrong at this sensitive time in her life. What can I do for her?

I love my friend. She is the mom of two, her baby just months old. She has never lost a child, but in her compassion, she is reaching out to learn how she might best support her friend. This is the sort of person everyone deserves to have in their life when bad things happen. I was (am) lucky enough to have friends and family like Desi, but so, SO many are not.

Here is what I wrote back, my immediate reply to a friend asking for advice. It took me all of about 48 seconds to write… and instead of adding to it or making it pretty, I thought I’d share with you just as it was, not in spite of its unedited-ness, but because of  it. (Sometimes our heads just get in the way…)

do listen. just listening, with your whole heart, without a need to make it better or make it go away… this is the most powerful thing you can do.

do be compassionate in your listening. you do not need to have had a loss to be of comfort to her.

do tell her you are sorry. that you are thinking of her. over and over, many times. those are really the best words. you can tell her in a card, in a gift, in a phone call, in a meal you drop by.

avoid fresh flowers. they die and can be a sad reminder when eventually they need to be thrown out.

ask her how she is. talk to her about her baby and call her baby by her baby’s name.

never feel you are best not mentioning it because you don’t want to “remind her” because, trust me, she won’t have forgotten and likely she is thinking about it anyway.

do not give her advice on how to feel. ever. things like “everything happens for a reason” or “at least you have another child” or “well, your baby is in a better place.” These words ring empty and do not comfort most in their loss.

do sit with her while she cries. drive over to give her a hug if she lives in town; even if she tells you she is okay and doesn’t need you to do this, hug her.

do ask if you can buy a plant or a tree for her to plant in her babies memory so she can see it’s life cycles and remember her sweet baby angel with each passing season.

do offer to help organize the memorial service. a balloon release or something of this sort where all can remember her baby with her. lots of ideas online.

do put this on your calendar for this time next year. remember this day with her then as she will be thinking about it. it may be a tough month even. likely nobody else in her world will be remembering along with her (unless she is really good at creating this sort of support in her life) and you remembering for and with her… this is a great, great gift.

give the gift of you. your heart. your listening. your tears. your understanding. your permission for her to grieve. she may denying these very things to herself. i know i did.

you are a real gift in her life. you are a good friend to even ask.


What would you have replied? (And thank you ahead of time. I plan to add your thoughts to JOURNEY.)




PS: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day is coming up October 15th. This might be a nice time to remember a friend’s loss for and with them.


I believe that when we follow our bliss, anything is possible. If you know what it is to lose a child, be it to miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss, I hope you will walk with me and other moms here, because this journey we are on is better when we are holding hands. Join and receive email support and inspiration for the journey of life after losing a child.

A Curvy Road

The beginning of my third decade on Earth brought with it our first child and there began my walk on the spiritual path of motherhood.

How to sum up this walk???

For me it’s been a spiritual practice in many things, but forced to name just three they would be acceptance, self-love and intuition.


Ever the fighter for control and/or having things go the way I’d like them to go, Spirit wisely threw me quite a few curve balls in my late thirties. I’d sum up the spiritual exercise of early motherhood and later, living through five miscarriages in a single word. Acceptance.

Being a first time mom and feeling the grasp I thought I had so firmly on life slipping through my hands. Living through loss after loss, accepting I had no control over whether, with each new baby, I would carry them full term or not. The experiences combined, motherhood and miscarriage… better than a college credit course in teaching me to allow.

I look at our experiences with loss now differently than I did while they were occurring. I still feel the sting of these experiences but can also appreciate them for what they brought me. As I see it life forced my hand, demanding of me to learn to be with what is rather than how I’d have it.

Non-attachment. Not an easy lesson, but a valuable one and I am still a student of (big-time). Life as “mom” gives me new lessons in sweet-surrender on a daily basis. Holding on to letting go. It’s become my mommy mantra.

Softening into life rather than fighting it when inevitably it doesn’t seem to be going my way. This is the lesson acceptance has offered and it’s been immeasurably helpful in parenting, especially of late now that we have two tween daughters and twin 2.5 year olds.

Two’s and tween/teens. All you READ about parenting these ages has to do with conflict and power struggles. The terrible two’s. The dreaded teen years. Thankfully we are not there (knocks on wood.) I think the resistance that might exist between us has been lessened by a great extent thanks to the lessons life delivered to me (be it with me kicking and screaming every step of the way) in learning to allow. The practice of pausing and allowing before moving head first into responding and reacting; invaluable of late for me. Thank you Spirit.


I look at self-love as coming to better know and love myself for the person I am while forgiving myself for the person I am not (a rather long list).

How can I love another if I don’t first love me? Good question, and one I found motherhood brought into sharp focus for me.

When life feels hard I breathe in “I love myself” and breathe out “I am enough.” This is my other mommy mantra, the one I reach too when life is feeling hard… and it’s been healing beyond measure.

Being enough. Life brings me many opportunities for me to practice self-love, breathing into my mistakes and letting go of the “not-enough” when inevitably I find myself judging (myself and those I love… that’s who we judge most harshly though, isn’t it?) or otherwise resisting life. This is a daily (if not moment by moment) practice for me and probably will be for the rest of my life. It is in modeling self-love and forgiveness I teach my children the most precious thing I have to teach them about love, namely, that I am love. That they are love.

That love is a noun… not a verb.


I see intuition as tuning in and trusting myself and the inner knowing I pose (we each possess) to guide me. I believe this inner knowing to be Spirit and I look to this place inside myself for very real guidance on matters large and small, in parenting and in life.

So many ways to go. Do I do this? Say this? Go this way or that? How do I manage this crisis, this conversation, this decision, thought, emotion? I would be LOST in parenting were it not for the practice of pausing. Were it not for the guidance I receive when I stop to ask,  listen and receive. All that is left for me then is to follow. Thank you Spirit.


Suzanne Tucker aka Zen Mommy hopes if you liked this article you will subscribe and/or join other mindful mamas here. To keep the lights on, Suzanne runs a holistic health center in St. Louis, Missouri with her husband Shawn. She is passionate about the connection we are and to that end offers Infant Massage, parent coaching and YogaParenting. If she can be a support to you on your spiritual path of motherhood, please reach out to her today!

On Pruning and Peace


This weekend I tended to some rose bushes. I’ve had them potted for years and believe me when I tell you, they’ve seen better days.  I noticed on Friday how worn they looked with bunches of parched, half-dead flowers hanging all over them. Two rainless weeks combined with my not watering them. Not a great combination.

My rose bushes sit on either side of our back porch and until recently have been a beauty to behold. As my two year old’s ran around, collecting rocks from our driveway and plopping them, one by one into their baby pool, I grabbed my sheers and went at it…

the business of cutting away at something in order to help it live.

The metaphor hit me as far too obvious but I felt it working on me just the same. As I snipped away at dead buds and crinkled leaves, my heart began pulling for me to consider something. A question. [Read more…]

How To Love Your Demons

Invite Them to Lunch


I said to a friend the other day, “I’m having my demons over for lunch. Would you and yours care to join me?”

I figure if I’ve got them, demons I mean… and I do, I might as well get to know them better. My friend couldn’t make lunch that day, but it sparked a great conversation and ultimately led to this post.

All this focus on examining my demons started after a soul searching night spent listening to Paul Coutinho speak in St. Louis, Missouri. Paul is an incredible speaker, the author of How Big is Your God, Just As You Are… and lucky for me, spends half his time in his homeland of India and the other half teaching theology at St. Louis University.

What was the topic of his talk you ask? For me, it was all about l-o-v-e. Paul shared a number of compelling ideas, but the part of his talk that intrigued me the most was when he encouraged us to make friends with our demons.

On this night, I had an ah-ha moment. In his simple way, Paul’s words brought home to me the idea that we, each of us, are mystics NOT in our strengths… but in our weaknesses. [Read more…]

How to Go Deep and Find Your SELF

We can travel wide, but that of itself will not fundamentally change us. For our lives to change, we must travel deep.
~ Marianne Williamson

Last week, I wrote about being out of balance. I hear this from so many of my mommy friends, especially those of us who feel conflicted about our careers and families. But how do we regain a sense of equilibrium in a modern world that’s going well over our personal speed limits.

(Insert ironic chuckle here considering the Universe confiscated my car for at least two weeks!)

It seems I’m being called to walk the talk, to teach as I learn, as it were. I still believe that the answers lie within — where our Higher Purpose is reflected in the stillness. Inside, we are most connected to our God. But getting there requires sloughing off layers and layers or crap — literally and figuratively. I haven’t had the fortitude “to go deep” and look at all the demons along the way, to tune out all the noise, to sift through all the baggage that I’ve carried with me to this point.

Dramatic? Okay, it sounds heavy but practically speaking, that means that as the end of 2010 approaches, I’m doing inventory and tossing out everything that no longer serves me —  in my house, in my body, and in my heart. As I told my kids this weekend, “It’s time to make room for all the new gifts you’ll be getting soon.”

Me too.

As Kelli so eloquently put it, “I think that God blesses us with gifts and talents that can and should be used to His glory.” So as they tackle the playroom. I’m attacking the pantry. Who’s with me?!

What do I expect to gain by cleaning out the crusty pantry of my soul? [Read more…]

How to Help Prevent Childhood Deaths

Tomorrow, we want your help! Monday, June 29, My Mommy Manual is helping raise money for the June 12 for 12k Challenge. Why? Because EVERY DAY, 25,000 children die from a preventable cause! 12 for 12k has partnered with UNICEF’s Believe in Zero campaign to provide basic and affordable interventions to save children’s lives. Watch this VIDEO (3:07)… it explains why vaccines are so important.

PLEASE JOIN US! By contributing $10, YOU can help provide safe drinking water to 400 children. By contributing $20, YOU can help provide 50 notebooks and pencils to kids in school, and YOUR $40 can provide measles vaccines for 150 children.

Be there for the 24-hour Video and Tweetathon Fundraiser… PRIZES, FUN, GAMES!!! Gotta love it!

Practical Mommy and Zen Mommy and the other ladies of Looking Glass Lane will be celebrating the six-year olds WITHIN for Believe in Zero at 8 pm (CST). There will be party games (and props!). Come PLAY and TWEET it out! [Read more…]

How to Trust

My dad’s side is Roman Catholic. My mom’s side is Born Again Christian. I grew up thinking that at any given moment, half of the people I loved were going to burn in hell. Maybe that’s why I married a Jew. :) Perhaps I was looking for a more compassionate God.

Seek and ye shall find, right?

God. Spirit. The Universe. Source. In my lexicon these labels are all synonyms, as is Intuition and Self. Even then, no words can really describe that… I can appreciate why in Judaism, one only refers to God by title, and not by name.

“Life’s metaphors are God’s instructions,” says Elizabeth Gilbert. I chuckled about that as I went down the 10-story slide at City Museum. When I first read the sign, I actually thought it meant a 10 slide presentation. Yeah! That’s where my head was.

And the sign at the top of the 10-story slide said “People with ankle problems or heart conditions should not go down.” Why? Because if you’re a control freak like me, you’ll try to brace yourself with your ankles and just might break them, that’s why! No, I didn’t break my ankles… but only because I was practicing my Yoga Breathing all the way dawn. Sliding down also took long enough for me to contemplate what God’s instructions were… er, of course… LET GO!

And when I did, it was actually kinda exhilarating and pretty… FUN!

I was blessed with many skills and attributes that led to a certain amount of worldly success and recognition. But over a period of many years, I realized that without knowing Who I was and for what meaningful Purpose these gifts and talents were for, all my efforts were like a hamster’s on a wheel. Yes, I rode the giant hamster wheel at City Museum that day too. What did I discover: not only do you keep going around in circles but this contraption actually requires going faster and faster just to keep up with your own effort. At some point, the hamster always collapses and just lets itself get taken a few full 360 degree rotations. I wonder if that’s fun.

It has taken years to “give up the driver’s seat,” I like to say. To trust and recognize that alongside my hamster-like self, was a Constant — my Self. As I nurtured this intuitive side, a whole world of magic opened up. I found that I could actually trust my heart, and this has actually always been so. In each of our hearts, the compass to our dreams has been embedded. Just like in the Pacific salmon. Just like in the whooping cranes. Just like the in monarch butterflies… we’re just the only creatures who’s heads keep getting in the way of our hearts.

No, that's not the 10-story slide. But it is at City Museum. :)

Practical Mommy is Ria Sharon, co-creator of the Yoga Parenting course. Are you ready for parenting to be easier, more fun and less stressful?