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Shortly after announcing the addition of our newest SBD Bereavement Doula, Roseanne, we were contacted by another local SBD Bereavement Doula, Christina Zambrano, seeking to volunteer her time and heart to help other mothers like her, who have walked the journey of losing a baby.
Christina experienced the loss of her son, Dylan, when she was just 17 years old. After nearly dying from pre-eclampsia, she delivered her precious baby via cesarian. When she awoke from the anesthesia, the doctors. informed her Dylan had Hydrops Fetalis and they were doing all they could, but they should bring in a priest. Before she knew it, she was holding her lifeless son surrounded by people and a priest, but never felt more alone in the world.
Christina explained, "From that day on EVERYONE in my life acted as if it never even happened. As if Dylan had never existed. I was told “It is better this way. God was doing you a favor.” Most of my “friends” NEVER asked me how I was dealing, how I was feeling. Not one time. I remember my boyfriend going to a party at his house days later as I sat in the hospital. Were they celebrating? I remember my “friends” literally acting as if the whole thing was a relief. I was told to get over it. As if this was just a late term abortion to them. I started to feel guilty for feeling sadness. I suppressed my grief deep down into my soul. I was NOT allowed to feel sadness because I was a teen mom and because he was only a newborn. I was NOT allowed to cry. I was NOT allowed to feel pain. Eventually I was made to feel crazy when I had my nervous breakdown months later. I was told I was crazy by my friends and the people I cared about the most."
After a few turbulent years of repressing her grief, she met a therapist who made her write about Dylan. He helped her release the darkness, and she will forever be grateful to him. Because of the therapist's validation and support, she went back to school to follow her dreams of being a nurse and graduated valedictorian of my class. "Here I am, pregnant in high school with many people assuming my life to be over and I am succeeding. It is amazing what you can accomplish when you release the darkness that strangles your light.", says Dylan's mom.
Christina came across StillBirthday's Birth & Bereavement Doula Training class and obtained her certification. so that she can walk the journey with other mom's dealing with these difficult and overwhelming circumstances. As a Licensed Nurse Practitioner at Voorhees Pediatric Facility she provides a unique perspective with her professional medical experience.
Christina remarks, "It doesn't matter if you are 16 or 50. It doesn't matter if you were 5 weeks pregnant or 9 months pregnant. It doesn't matter if your child was 1 or 20. The loss of a baby, of a child is a loss. It is OK to grieve. It is OK to cry. It is OK to mourn. You are ALLOWED."
Christina is a wife and mother to her son Eddie and is interested in volunteering her time to support families like hers as they walk the journey of baby loss. Please join us in welcoming her to our nest as she honors her oldest son, Dylan through this work!
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director