Sharing Your Ectopic Pregnancy Story

Some time ago, a friend and I began a research project on women’s experiences with ectopic pregnancies.  Our study has led us to solicit women’s stories for a book of hope and encouragement.  Part of what we found in our study is that the women interviewed who had experienced an ectopic pregnancy: (a) did not know what an ectopic pregnancy was, (b) were not offered any type of counseling after their diagnosis and in many cases, not even after emergency surgery, and (c) found their lives had been altered and their relationships and view son pregnancy changed forever.

The book project is open to those women who participated in the original study and to any woman who would like to share her story and offer hope to others.  Stories will be published anonymously (unless the author wishes to reveal her identity).  Please share your story or refer a friend, family member, or colleague to our book project.

Guidelines for first draft:

  • Each story should have a time-line worked into the narrative of how many weeks pregnant you were (or if you didn’t know you were pregnant), how you found out you were having an ectopic pregnancy (at ER, doctor’s office), if you were misdiagnosed and sent home, if you had surgery. The details are painful, but so important for people to read. It could save a life.


  • Tell the story of what you experienced emotionally, who was there for you or not there for you in the moment, days, weeks, years that followed.


  • Here is the main message: Share what you learned, and/or what you hope others might learn. Both women enduring an ectopic, loved ones, doctors, nurses, other professionals.   Another key is what others could have done differently to add to your comfort/support.


  • Share where you are now: How have you moved forward; and if you are still contemplating next steps, share what your thoughts for the future are. If you have had children, adopted children, gotten a new partner, etc. please feel free to share that also.


  • We are asking for roughly 5 double spaced typed pages, using MS word as a format.


  • Not required, but if you would like to please send a photo of yourself and/or a photo of you and your now children or someone who is mentioned in your story. Give us specific permission to use the photo by typing at the end of your story “I give Shannon and Laurie permission to use the photos attached in the upcoming book on ectopic pregnancy stories.”


  • A short bio on yourself (2-4 sentences), where you live, your hobbies, occupation, etc. and anything else you would like mentioned.


  • Deadline for first drafts is due by November 14, 2014. We will then work with you to create the final draft by early 2015 and hope to publish soon after.



YAY for Malala: Honoring My Mom Day 13 (or there abouts)

teacherAs a woman of color living in American I never take my education for granted. The two oldest siblings in my grandmother’s family were the only two who were allowed to & able to go to college. They are proud Tuskegee and Fort Valley State graduates. My mom, who did not grow up in the south but still faced obstacles as her New York guidance counselor told her she should go to trade school. She ended up earning a Master in Social Work degree from Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta University). My path was made easier through the scarifies and struggles of my grandparents and parents, although not without challenges. Like many 1st year students I goofed off a lot and skipped some classes and that first report card shocked me back into shape!

Each academic year in one of my books I put a picture of Charlayne Hunter-Gault;  in another book I put a picture of the Little Rock Nine; and in another book a picture of James Meredith.  The pictures are my inspirational reminders.  I think I am going to add a picture of Malala Yousafzai.

Today I sent all my students an email and challenged them to:

  1. appreciate fully the privilege of an education,
  2. come to class prepared,
  3. not procrastinate,
  4. be engaged and proactive learners,
  5. think critically,
  6. inspire someone else to pursue a higher education or complete high school,
  7. pledge to tear down any obstacle they see for others in receiving an education, and to
  8. hold me accountable for facilitating discussion and learning.

I, in return challenged myself to give them 100%+ each day I meet them and to hold them accountable for being responsible for their own learning.

We should ask ourselves “What would Malala do?”

Re-Blog: Black Sororities and Violence Against Women Awareness (Day 12 of Honoring my Mom)

Many people and organizations are weighing in on the issue of domestic violence. New voices have surfaced since the elevator video tape of Ray Rice was shown on the media outlets.  It’s not a new issue, just new fervor given who got caught on tape and the organization for which he works. I had not heard any news from the HBCUS or historically black sororities.  My former professor shared this blog on her FB page and I’m compelled to share this blog by one of her current students Felecia Commodore. If you belong to a historically black sorority, leave a comment with your thoughts on Felecika’s original blog post.

by Felecia Commodore

Why I share this as a way to honor my mom:  While she was a woman who often broke with the conventions of her generation, she was also private and stoic (not a virtue I admire) – My mom never spoke of that event so many decades ago. I was frightened and she kept me safe. She and my grandma were fierce and what I did not understand then I understand now. She did make it clear to me that I should never be a victim. I understood. DV is not my major platform but I am definitely a voice against domestic violence and in my role as a social worker, wife, and mom I do what I can to pass on information and educate others. Despite her own silence, I think my mom would encourage others to speak up.

ACOSA response to Ferguson (My mom would approve!)

Below is ACOSA’s statement on recent events is Ferguson, Missouri.  Thanks to my colleague Monica for sharing this and asking my to post on my blog.  What organizations do you belong to and how are they responding to Ferguson and other national and international events?  “ACOSA, the Association for Community Organization and Social Administration. ACOSA is a membership organization for community organizers, activists, nonprofit administrators, community builders, policy practitioners, students and educators. ACOSA will keep you informed of the latest innovations in community and administrative practice as well as provide you with a variety of opportunities for networking and professional advancement” ( The statement is best viewed by visiting the website, as my blog formatting is a bit whacky…


The Association for Community Organization and Social Administration (ACOSA) Statement
in Response to Recent Events in Ferguson, Missouri
“If not us, who? If not now, when?” – John F. Kennedy
In times of systemic injustice, social workers have historically chosen action over inaction. The recent
death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and the national conversation it stimulated has highlighted the
extent to which institutional racism still exists in the United States. Our longstanding ethical commitment
to social justice requires social workers, regardless of their primary method or field of practice, to take
action to address the multiple manifestations of institutional racism. ACOSA calls on all social work
professional organizations, social work schools, and individual social workers to make their voices
heard, locally in their communities and organizations, and in the state and national policy arenas. Here
are some tangible steps all social workers can take to create a more equitable, safe, and just society.
We urge you to join with us in taking action.
Professional Social Work Organizations:
● Council on Social Work Education, National Association of Deans and Directors of Schools of
Social Work, & Society for Social Work Research should hold special forums or symposia at
their annual meetings to discuss the social work response to the issue of institutional racism.
● The editors of the Journal of Social Work Education, Social Work, and the Journal of
Baccalaureate Social Work should publish a special issue dedicated to this topic.
● The newsletters of all professional organizations should feature a regular column in which people
can submit ideas for a social work response.
Schools of Social Work:
● We encourage all schools of social work to organize a series of events that involve faculty,
students, and community members to discuss the implications of what happened in Ferguson for
their communities and to formulate policy solutions at the local, state, and national levels
● We encourage all faculty members to facilitate conversations regarding the events in Ferguson
and their implications for the people and communities with whom social workers work. These
conversations can add context to the larger systemic issues, especially when linked to the deaths
of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis. Discussing the impact racism in such diverse areas as
criminal and juvenile justice, education, employment, health care, and housing is key to
advancing social justice.
● We encourage schools of social work to provide faculty development opportunities to assist
faculty members facilitate difficult conversations about race, racism, and injustice in a safe
classroom environment and among their colleagues. This enables faculty to make the
connections between institutional forces and their manifestations in the lives of our clients and
● We encourage schools of social work to highlight the work of faculty doing research with
implications in this area. Schools can provide development opportunities for faculty to translate
their research into forums that could heighten public awareness of these issues and influence
policymakers. Examples include the development of a speakers bureau for media and
community consultation when need arises, training in the use of social media, the submission of
essays, and testimony before legislative bodies.
Individual social workers:
● Write letters to the editor of your local newspapers and speak to your local and federal officials
about your concerns.
● Lead a discussion of these issues in your local church, synagogue, temple, discussion group,
book club.
● Discuss the issue with your colleagues, friends, and neighbors. Do not be silent.
● Meet with members of law enforcement in your community. Discuss your concerns and hear
theirs. Using your social work skills, facilitate discussions with community leaders
● Vote. Make lawmakers know that you vote and for what reasons.
● Organize. With members of the community most directly affected by institutional racism,
identify issues for action and take action to change conditions.
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” – Martin
Luther King, Jr.

P.S. My mom would approve