Hello! I’m Eileen. I help mothers who have experienced pregnancy and child loss to endure their pain with faith in God’s love for them by pointing them to the example of our Blessed Mother.
In 2011, with three little boys under the age of four, my husband and I learned that we were expecting identical twin daughters. All of our excitement turned to fear halfway through the pregnancy, however, when we learned that they were suffering from a condition called Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome. We underwent in utero surgery, but subsequently lost one of our girls.
After an extremely tumultuous time of strict bedrest, hospitalizations, a premature birth, burying our first twin, and almost seven weeks of our tiny daughter fighting for her life in the NICU, we were devastated when she caught a bacterial infection and died at 47 days old.
It was a traumatic experience, and we were completely undone. But we learned so much about God, about ourselves, and about living life on this earth while keeping our heavenly home in mind. Having experienced a stillbirth and an infant death, as well as two miscarriages, I have a soft spot in my heart for people who are suffering, and for grieving mothers in particular.
A long-time Protestant and convert to Catholicism, I was surprised to find comfort in my pain by praying the rosary when prayer had become difficult after our losses. I used writing to help myself process what I was feeling. I learned that art and creativity brings healing to parts of us that we might not even be able to verbalize. I recognized that accompaniment and patience were the most helpful things that people could give me during my grief, but that finding people who are able to offer them can be difficult.
That’s why these things are incorporated into my Present in the Pain retreats for grieving mothers.
Twelve years (and three more children) later, I can look back on the experience and see how the Lord made His presence known during even the most intensely painful and traumatic times. I recognize now that He used the experience to strengthen my faith, to draw me into a deeper relationship with Him, to bring healing from the pain of loss and from wounds I didn’t even know I had, and to introduce me to the loving care of the Blessed Mother, a fellow grieving mother herself.
I have written about my grief and done artwork for fellow grieving mothers for a long time. I’ve also written for Still Standing Magazine, Pregnancy After Loss Support, Stillborn and Still Breathing, All That Love Can Do, and contributed to a few books about child loss, including Love and Loss: A Guide to Family Healing After The Loss of Your Baby.
Grateful to be married to my best friend, I live in rural New Hampshire where I homeschool my children, pray for grace, attend the Traditional Latin Mass, and share from experience about the ways that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him.
My husband, Patrick, and I are available to offer live retreats for women and men. With a break-out session that allows couples to meet together and separately, this is a new twist on my in-person retreats.
Click here for more information about hosting a grieving women or couples retreat in your own parish!