Elizabeth Thoma

About Elizabeth Thoma

Elizabeth Thoma lives in the Bay Area, California, with her husband, Chris, and two cats, JJ and Pepper. She found out she was expecting their first child Mother’s Day weekend, 2014. With mild symptoms and no significant early warning signs, they adjusted to pregnancy and eagerly planned for their growing family. At the second trimester anatomy scan, they found out they were having a son and that he had an abdominal wall defect, an omphalocele. Ever the planners, Elizabeth and Chris prepared themselves and their families for what the omphalocele meant in a best-case scenario, and some of the possibilities that couldn’t be diagnosed in utero. Their son, Oberon, was born six weeks early and had his omphalocele surgery within his first twelve hours of life. The surgery went well, but Obie was having trouble breathing. At first, the doctors thought it was related to his large tongue, one of the many indicators that he had Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome. When Obie was one week old, the doctors told Chris and Elizabeth that somewhere along the line, Obie’s brain stopped developing. While they could control his seizures somewhat with heavy medication, Obie’s brain would never develop and he would not be able to walk, talk, or even communicate. At this point, they decided to switch Obie to comfort care and try to take him home from the NICU. They successfully broke out of the NICU and Obie rode home in an ambulance. Bringing their son home brought much comfort to their family. Obie passed away at home in his daddy’s arms at 33 days old. Elizabeth found out she was pregnant with their second child a week after Mother’s Day, 2015. Her second son, Everett, was born January 7, 2016. Elizabeth and Chris blog at about their family at Our Little Beastie.

It’s Only A Moment

I volunteer as a facilitator for a pregnancy and infant loss support group. Although hearing the stories and witnessing the raw grief is very heavy, I'd be lying if I said I didn't get something out of it too. I get to talk about my son who died, Oberon. I know how important it is [...]

By |2019-03-19T18:34:45-04:00March 19th, 2019|Emotional Health, Parenting After Loss|0 Comments

Parenting After Loss: Talking Death With Toddlers

Our family - Abby Alger Photography "Not that part. The dying part." That's what my three-year-old son said to me when I told him how much I love Oberon, his brother who died. Of course he doesn't mean to be hurtful, but it still stings. "What happened after he was born?" "Well, he [...]

By |2019-02-19T17:26:18-04:00February 19th, 2019|Parenting After Loss|0 Comments

What to Say to the Mom Pregnant after Loss: The Ifs, Ands, Or Buts

When someone we love suffers a tragedy, we want to help. Yet many of us - my pre-loss self included - fumble with exactly how to help. And more specifically, what to say. It's easy to dissect our words after we say them. Countless times I've rolled my eyes at myself wishing I'd said something [...]

By |2019-01-15T20:29:40-04:00January 15th, 2019|For Friends & Family|0 Comments

Parenting After Loss: Life, Love, and Family

My rainbow is nearly three. He is developing so much and it is a joy to parent him even with the boundary testing that marks this age. As he grows, he is starting to understand - or at least parrot back - more about his brother who died. This has brought me tears, heightened intensity, [...]

By |2018-12-18T21:48:38-04:00December 18th, 2018|Parenting After Loss|0 Comments

Feeling Joy Doesn’t Mean We’ve Forgotten

Oberon in hospice care - December 10, 2014 - always loved, always remembered I've seen it again and again - loss parents struggling with guilt. Parenting after loss is riddled with guilt, this ever-present undercurrent of our days. Those moments when we find ourselves giggling at something online, laughing wholeheartedly at our living [...]

By |2018-11-20T20:06:33-04:00November 20th, 2018|Emotional Health, Parenting After Loss|0 Comments

The Path I Did Not Choose

When my baby died, everything changed. Suddenly, the path I had planned to walk was blocked. I couldn't continue down that path, no matter how much I longed to. I was jarringly set on a new path. It was bare, empty, and callous. Each rock dug into my aching feet. Over my shoulder, I could [...]

By |2018-10-11T21:09:55-04:00October 11th, 2018|Parenting After Loss|1 Comment

How To Win The Grief Olympics: Dos and Don’ts of Comparing Grief

Photo by Zach Lucero on Unsplash You may have heard of it: The Grief Olympics. The term comes up when people try to "one-up" each other's grief by explaining why their own personal loss is far worse. Many of us have engaged in The Grief Olympics in one way or another. It's human nature to compare [...]

By |2018-09-20T17:07:34-04:00September 20th, 2018|Parenting After Loss, Pregnancy, TTC|0 Comments

Parenting After Loss: Is Getting By Good Enough?

For a long time after Oberon died, we didn't make any huge decisions. We still wanted a family with living children, so we focused on that. We've been so focused on having a living baby and caring for a living baby...that we haven't thought about much else. I feel so unprepared for what's to come. [...]

By |2018-08-09T19:47:58-04:00August 9th, 2018|Parenting After Loss|0 Comments

Parenting After Loss: The Asterisk

Parenting after loss lends itself to many analogies - a roller coaster, a seesaw, waves. I've made these analogies countless times myself. The days, weeks, months, and years of parenting after loss are piling up. Also the days, weeks, and months since my first child, Oberon, was alive keep increasing. My life (and demeanor) seem [...]

By |2018-07-12T19:04:19-04:00July 12th, 2018|Parenting After Loss|0 Comments