Charlotte Manges: Prenatal Loss

Charlotte Manges was an OB maternity nurse for 20 years, in charge of the pregnancy loss program where mothers were cared for in instances where babies did not survive. Today, she works with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and A Walk to Remember. Many of these mothers experienced stillborns and/or premature births. “I felt these mothers and dads were being shortchanged,” she explains. Too often, stillborns and babies who die shortly after birth are seen as specimens to be sent to a lab or are whisked away to the morgue.

There were times a mother-to-be would come in and either the baby had already died in utero or was dying. One of the biggest changes Manges made during her tenure was to ask, “What do you want when the baby is born?” Regardless of the livelihood of a baby, it needs to be “born” in order to move forward. Plans were then hatched. Manges was always nearby. She would clean the baby, dress him or her, and allow the parents to hold the baby as long as they wanted.

Creating Memories

Whenever possible, Manges created footprints, handprints and took photos for the parents to take home. She also supplied goodie bags for any children at home, if applicable. Older brothers and sisters could also hold the baby if the family thought that was helpful. Speaking with Dr. Heidi Horsley, who identifies as a grief sibling, Manges explains that she’s still deeply involved in parental loss groups.

You’re still entitled to a mother’s day or a father’s day, she says. There are events year-round that Manges manages, even in retirement. Paying tribute to babies based on the seasons, from daffodil bulbs for spring babies to mums for fall babies. Although Manges works for local organizations, there are online support groups for parents around the world.

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Heidi Horsley

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Dr. Heidi Horsley is an international grief expert, licensed psychologist, and social worker. She is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Open to Hope Foundation, one of the largest internet grief resources, with over 2 million yearly visitors. She hosts the award-winning Open to Hope cable television show and podcast. Dr. Heidi is an adjunct professor at Columbia University. She serves on the ​National Board of Directors for The Compassionate Friends, the largest peer to peer support organization in the world. She also serves on the National Advisory Board for the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). TAPS has served over 50,000 military families who have suffered a loss. In addition, she serves on the National Advisory Board for the Elisabeth Kubler-Ross Foundation, and the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation. Dr. Heidi is on the VIP section of Marquis Who's Who in America, Madison Who's Who, and Who's Who of American Women. Dr. Heidi has co-authored eight books, including; Spouse Loss; Fresh Grief; Inspirational Stories for Handling the Holidays After Loss; Inspirational Stories of Healing After Loss; Real Men Do Cry; A Quarterbacks Inspiring Story of Tackling Depression & Surviving Suicide; Teen Grief Relief: Parenting with Understanding Support and Guidance; and Signs and Hope From Heaven. She has appeared on the ABC television show 20/20, has been interviewed by numerous media outlets, and has been a guest on hundreds of radio shows as well as quoted in dozens of media publications, including the Metro World News, Washington Post, Time Magazine, Newsday, Money Magazine, and New York Daily News. Dr. Heidi is also the author of numerous articles and academic book chapters. Dr. Heidi gives keynotes, presentations, and workshops throughout the country, and teaches continuing education workshops for health care professionals on support following trauma and tragedy. For 10 yrs., Dr. Heidi worked as a co-investigator for the FDNY-Columbia University Family Guidance Program; a study which looked at traumatic loss in families of firefighters killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks. Through this 9/11 study, Dr. Heidi provided ongoing intervention and follow-up to firefighter widows and their children, and facilitated groups for bereaved siblings. In addition, Dr. Heidi supervised the school social work staff at Harlem Democracy Charter Schools in NYC for four years. Dr. Heidi's early career included work in a variety of clinical settings, including; Manhattan Psychiatric Center, California Pacific Medical Center Psychiatry Dept., University of San Francisco Mental Health Clinic, St. Lukes-Roosevelt Hospital Psychiatry Dept., and Hope Haven Residential Treatment Center in New Orleans. Her doctoral dissertation was on the sudden death of a sibling. Her academic credentials include a doctorate in Psychology (PsyD) from the University of San Francisco; a Masters degree in social work (LMSW) from Columbia University, and a Masters degree in mental health counseling (MS) from Loyola University, in New Orleans. Dr. Heidi splits her time between NYC and Tucson AZ.

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