Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss

Facilitated by Joanne Zerdy, PhD

About the Training:

These 5-6 hour in-person trainings are specifically geared for caregiving professionals who work with pregnant persons: individuals who are currently working as or studying to be, for example, birth/postpartum doulas, bereavement doulas, therapists, midwives, perinatal nurses, family nurse practitioners, obstetricians, lactation consultants, prenatal/postpartum yoga teachers, acupuncturists, chiropractors, hospital chaplains, childbirth educators, faith leaders, and end-of-life care professionals. I also encourage bereaved parent activists to join us. Truly, anyone with an interest in the subject is warmly invited to take part.


Facilitator Joanne Zerdy is a grieving mother, having experienced the stillbirth of her first child Finlay in 2014. She is also a former university professor in theatre arts. Joanne blends her experience as an educator, researcher, and an open, active griever to advocate for increasing grief literacy, empathy, and community. (Click HERE to read Joanne’s story.) She teaches on behalf of The Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death and in partnership with Inviting Abundance, co-founded by Joanne and her husband Will Daddario. To learn more about their Creative Grief Work, please go HERE.

The training in Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss, as created by Amy Wright Glenn (founder of The Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death), guides participants through a heartfelt analysis of three key components central to caring for, supporting, and serving grieving mothers and their families in the immediate aftermath of pregnancy or child loss. Examples of this kind of loss include, but are not limited to, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirth, and infant death. This training also thinks ahead, offering ideas for how you can continue to offer compassion and care in the months and years to come.

Testimonials from Joanne’s Training:

“The learning I’m taking with me that I gained from this workshop will facilitate and cultivate a better ability within myself to hold space for my doula clients, and also a space for me to process some of my own grief I carry from my own experiences.”

“Must-have training for any healthcare professional or birth worker.”

The Three Key Components of the Training:

  • An Introduction to the Companioning Model of Care outlined by Alan Wolfelt, Founder and Director of the Center for Loss & Life Transition. This model understands grieving as a healthy, natural process that requires compassion and support and not as a medical condition that needs to be treated or cured. We’ll also consider this model as applied to perinatal loss by Jane Heustis & Marcia Jenkins.

  • A Discussion of the Support Networks that surround bereaved mothers and Best “Care Practices” that aim to strengthen these networks and provide support for the caregivers themselves.

  • An Exploration of the Healing Power of Ritual. We delve into this broad topic by examining the power of everyday rituals to aid in processing grief and in maintaining connection with loved ones who have died. We will explore rituals for death, grief, and remembrance.

Who Should Take This Training?


YOU Should, If the Following Applies to You:

  • you serve, support, assist, or work with pregnant and postpartum persons

  • you haven’t received dedicated training for encountering and processing pregnancy loss and infant death OR you have done some training and would like some additional perspectives and materials to support your work

  • you want to feel confident assisting a client/patient/colleague/friend, their partner and family during a time of infertility, pregnancy loss, or infant death

  • you think it might be beneficial to reflect on your own experiences with loss, death, and grief as you work to provide the best care for those who are grieving

  • you wish to connect with the compassionate and skilled caregivers in your community to grow your support network

  • you are excited to learn about various resources for grief, loss, and bereavement in order to better serve a grieving client, colleague, or friend

To Prepare for our Training:

I encourage all workshop participants to read An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken and Holding Space—On Loving, Dying, and Letting Ago by Amy Wright Glenn. This reading is Recommended, but NOT Required. Our workshop will utilize ideas and examples from these texts, so you will be able to delve more deeply into this work if you are familiar with these books. FYI: I’m happy to suggest additional related titles, if you are already familiar with these works and would like to read another text.


Participants Receive:

I sincerely hope that you will leave our workshop feeling more informed and empowered to care for those affected by pregnancy loss and infant death AND inspired to continue your own learning about the topic. Additionally, I hope that you will have made meaningful connections with other members in our group who may make beneficial allies and provide additional resources for your ongoing work.

After our work together, you will receive:

  • a Certificate of Completion that attests to your 5- or 6-hour training

  • a handout with Resources and Quotations from the Training

  • Discounts on Offerings (classes, workshops, consultations) from Inviting Abundance

  • a 25% Discount on Finlay’s Garden herbal products

  • An opportunity to join the Institute for the Study of Birth, Breath, and Death

  • Access to a Facebook Group (with 390+ members) for Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss Past Participants (this will allow you to join conversations, share resources, and network with those who are engaged in this meaningful work)

**Regarding CEUs: Birth Arts International has offered 5 CEUs to members who have successfully completed this training with its originator, Amy Wright Glenn. DONA certified doulas have used this training to receive 5 CEU recertification hours under the Alternative B-1 category. If you are a doula — or another birth professional — who would like to use this training toward CEUs, I strongly encourage you to reach out to your certifying/licensing organization before the workshop to find out what you need to do in order for this training to fulfill their CEU requirements.

**I would like to emphasize how beneficial this training can be - professionally & personally - even if there are no CEUs attached to it!

Logistics: Fee & Dates

Training Registration Fee: $150-$200
*Please Note: Student & Military Discounts are available, as our Scholarships. Ask Joanne for details!

Past Trainings:

  • July 27, 2019 in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota - at the Minnesota Birth Center, St. Paul, MN

2020 Trainings:

  • To Be Determined…

Would you like Joanne to teach a training in your community? Please contact her

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