Parent Support
Teen Parents >Review of Connie Nykiel's book

Review by Kara L.C. Jones
KotaPress Editor

It is hard to believe there is even more of a lack of bereavement supports out there for teen parents whose children die than there is materials in general for bereaved parents of any other age group!! But OH MY GAWD there is almost NOTHING available. It's frightening to think that these teen parents are enduring their grief in a closet, in hiding, feeling scared, alone, out of control. Why am I bringing this up now? Well, it has come to my attention, several months in a row now. And even when a grief facilitator looks hard for support, this is the kind of stuff they find:

a note from Martha who is looking hard for help for teen parents

"...Contacted...TAG, but the email was returned as undeliverable...ugh! Dougy Center wrote back and they have no specifics on this issue, but gave some more books, by Alan Woolfelt from the Center for Loss in Colorado. I found Touchstone online the person who wrote back had founded a SHARE group in we're on the right track. She is hunting for info and resources for me, still. Haven't yet heard from Julie's Place..."

Out of all the searching, we finally found

After the Loss of Your Baby: For Teen Mothers

by Connie Nykiel

Please note: This book was updated in 2002 and is now available from the new publisher Centering Corporation, 7230 Maple Street, Omaha, NE 68134. Their phone number is 402-553-1200.

The original edition of the book was available in Spanish also, but I'm not certain if the Centering Corporation re-release of the book has a Spanish edition or not.

This 25-page chapbook is an amazing resource for a particular segment of bereaved parents who are sorely underserved! And I actually think it is an amazing resource for any bereaved parent, but it is geared to teen-aged moms who endure the death of a baby. Author Connie Nykiel is generous with her tenderness, honesty, and understanding in this book. It is beautifully printed and well worth the $5 it might cost you!!

Nykiel offers helpful information like medical definitions for miscarriage and stillbirth and more -- let me tell you that I get these questions from adults all them time, too! Nykiel talks about what to expect, what to ask for, about grandparents, about trying again, and she is just generally a FAB advocate for the teen parents in this book. I cannot tell you enough how valuable this work is.

At the end of the book, Nykiel offers resources for further help and adds a few pages that just stunned me! Blank pages marked "Thoughts..." and "Poems..." and "Letter To My Baby" -- hello!!!??? Every single handout for bereaved parents of any age should be so encouraging!

The original edition I have of this book (cover shown to the right) says "3rd edition" and has a publication date of 1996 -- and even then, Nykiel had the forethought to include a certificate at the back of the book for the bereaved parents to fill in baby's name, birth/death date, location of birth or memorial service, names of those in attendance. HELLO!!??? WOW!!!!!! Don't know if she was purposely trying to make up for the lack of a birth certificate or not. But I remember asking for some sort of certificate and being told that my baby's fetal death certificate would come in the mail. How demeaning and awful! And what a beautiful, simple way for Nykiel to address that here by offering the beautiful, blank certificate at the back of her book!

Kudos all the way around for this resource! It should be in every hospital, birth center, and midwife office on the planet!!!

You can get the new edition from Centering Corporation. I found the 1996 edition in English and Spanish via used bookstore online, so you maybe able to find previous edition that way, too.

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