Pregnant During a Pandemic
Posted: 2/1/20 by Michelle Fox (Administrative Director)
It is of no surprise to some that I am a planner, a routine person, a scheduler, and a list maker. . .but being pregnant during a pandemic is something I did not foresee happening. When my husband and I decided to begin a family, I was aiming for a winter/spring pregnancy. Imagine my delight when it just so happened that we would be expecting a baby girl at the end of April. Perfect, right? Oh, how wrong I was.
I thought I could spend the last month and a half of my pregnancy being selfish with my time. I saw myself perusing the aisles of Target, sniffing candles while sipping coffee. I thought I could sneak in a pampering session to get my nails done—something just for me to enjoy. I thought my husband and I would go for one last dinner at our favorite sushi restaurant—just the two of us. But what happened is something I could have never planned for. The Covid-19 pandemic put a halt to all of my pregnancy plans just six weeks before I was set to give birth.
I am grateful that myself, my baby and my family remain healthy, but not everyone is so fortunate. Families are having to distance themselves, some not even allowed to see their loved one who may be in a hospital room, solo. High school and college seniors are missing out on some of the most important milestones in their academic career. Children are forced to continue to their education at home without seeing their friends and teachers. There are so many losses that we did not prepare for because we didn’t know we’d have to.
While we are foolish to think that life will go back to “normal” after the pandemic calms down, we find ourselves asking, what is normal now? How will I cope without my family surrounding me giving birth in the hospital? How cautious will I have to be when introducing my baby girl for the first time, limiting who she can be around? When will it be safe to take her out of the house to run an errand without having to wear a mask or remain six feet from other people? There is so much uncertainty surrounding us at this time and I, too, am navigating this uncharted territory.
The pandemic is something none of us would have ever dreamt of happening, especially a planner like myself! But we must remember— this too shall pass. It has brought on many mixed emotions, and an important reminder that you cannot predict the unpredictable. We are all in this together. Alone, but together!
Keep the Faith
Posted: 5/1/20 by Leslie Delp, MA (Founder and Bereavement Specialist)
The world has been turned upside down. We are all feeling confused with how to help ourselves, our family, and our community. In time like these, the only thing that can guide you through is having faith. Olivia’s House was founded on faith! When our mission first came to the community in 2001 and asked for support, no one had ever heard of a children’s grief and loss center. Our country was coming off the heels of 9/11, a time when worlds were turned upside down by terrorists who drove us into both a recession and a fearful existence, not knowing who was friend and who was wishing harm to America. We have worked long and hard since those days to regain trust and to know that we can rely on one another in times of need. Our community helped to build Olivia’s House— not only in York, but ten years later in Hanover.
The state of our world right now mandates that we are no longer able to reach out and touch one another. What we normally find as rituals of comfort are suddenly no longer allowed because of safety regulations. Who would have ever dreamed we could not have physical contact with our friends and family? Because of the virus, we are facing the loss of people we love and care about . . . then another layer of loss is added when we can’t attend a funeral or other ritual surrounding the loss. We recognize this as one of the most devastating parts of this pandemic. It has stolen our ability to comfort one another through the physical connections we rely on! One thing we know for sure is that Olivia’s House knows how to comfort families, especially children, when things change drastically in their lives. We are experts in teaching people how to move through crisis-related trauma with ease. We are the champions of comforting in a crisis! And we are so grateful for the trust our community has in our mission at times like these.
Olivia’s House is blessed that we have the trust of York countians, as well as all of the folks in surrounding communities who have learned we are here to support them. Families in the Gettysburg area, some as far east as Lancaster county, and those over the Maryland border in Baltimore county and Westminster have all benefitted from the dedication of the staff and mission of Olivia’s House. We are here for you during this crisis and we are sure of one thing: the families we support in the community make Olivia’s House what it is: a strong mission. And in return, Olivia’s House strengthens families in their time of need. Hang in there, friends. We will get through this together, one step at a time!
Logan's First Funeral
Posted: 4/1/20 by Julia Dunn, M.Ed., LPC (Program Director)
When Olivia’s House founder Leslie Delp wrote the Hearts Can Heal program more than 20 years ago, children’s bereavement was still something that was not openly talked about. In many families, especially those who don’t have access to a grief center like Olivia’s House, the fear surrounding funerals has prevented many parents from allowing their children to attend the important “emotional group hug” that is a funeral.
Leslie recognized the importance of including children in death-related rituals, and the idea of the funeral-home field trip was born. In over twenty years of programming, this remains one of the favorite evenings of our program, by children and adults alike!
But Leslie found there was a scarcity of children’s literature that addressed death and the funeral experience. And so, in a process that has spanned almost 15 years, Olivia’s House has created a resource that can benefit families around the globe when questions about funerals arise in their own home. We are excited to announce the publication of our original picture book, Logan’s First Funeral!
Written by Leslie Delp and illustrated by the incredibly talented Vicki Friedman, Logan’s First Funeral tells the story of 9-year-old Logan, who loses his friend and classmate Georgie in a car accident. Logan has so many questions for his mother. Does he have to be invited to the funeral? Will Georgie be sleeping in his casket? What even is a casket?? Logan’s mom uses all the right language to explain to Logan the beauty of funerals and encourages him to be curious about the ritual. Logan learns that nothing is taboo when it comes to celebrating the life of our loved ones.
Logan’s First Funeral is available through Amazon and Barnes & Noble. We can’t wait to share this resource with you!
What Happened to the Walk to Remember?
Posted: 3/1/20 by K.C. Delp (Executive Director)
If a children’s grief center can’t adapt, who can? When the unexpected happens and a family suffers the death of someone they love, there is no bargaining; the family is forced to grow despite their circumstances. During our Hearts Can Heal program we are constantly teaching the philosophies of flexibility and adaptation. So, too, must our mission abide by such principles.
For the past eight years, Olivia’s House has hosted the Walk to Remember. This was a special day to celebrate our loved ones, participate in a day of great family entertainment, and raise funds to support the no-cost services provided at Olivia’s House.
In the spirit of adapting and growing, so entered Give Local York in 2018. The York community embraced this idea of a philanthropy day, dedicated to supporting the many non-profit businesses that provide much needed, county-wide human services. In 2020, in an effort to work smarter (not harder), we decided to no longer hold our Walk to Remember and instead focus our teams’ efforts on Give Local York. The stretch pool provided by Give Local York will ensure that everyone’s dollars make a difference when they are donated to Olivia’s House. In addition to your donation, a percentage of every dollar pledged to our mission will also be given to Olivia’s House from the stretch pool. A WIN-WIN! We sincerely hope you will join Olivia’s House for Give Local York because our mission needs you. Please check out our website to learn all about the ways you can get involved!
Posted: 2/1/20 by Michelle Fox (Administrative Director)
Planned or not, nothing prepares someone to hear those magical words, “Congratulations, you’re going to be a parent!” Just a few months ago I received this news, and I was thrilled to share with our Olivia’s House family that my husband and I are expecting our first child! We are excited to add a pint-sized staff member to our ranks.
With a due date at the end of April, I have been feverishly working with the Gala committee to ensure the 18th Annual Scrumdiddlyumptious Olivian Gala is set for success. This will be one of the “sweetest” Galas to date! But there’s no time to relax and enjoy some candy . . . I am already busy coordinating volunteer projects for 2020 so that our Healing Garden of Hope is ready for our springtime programs and Olivia’s House maintains its sparkle and shine.
Not to worry though, I will return after taking some time off to spend with my precious baby girl and to adjust to the new normal of motherhood. But as any theatre buff knows, the show must go on and luckily the staff is happy to cover in my absence. Thank you all for sending your well wishes; I am on this wonderful new journey– and I am so excited!