Labyrinth of the Heart Center, LLCLabyrinth of the Heart Center, LLCContact: Dianna Vagianos Armentrout
The Labyrinth of the Heart Center, LLC was created to support families going through pregnancy and infant loss and grief in order to honor our dead and our journeys with them in unity and love. Classes are offered to support families by learning appropriate communication skills around death, using ritual and creative arts for healing, and strengthening networks and communities. Writing classes are offered to individuals who are seeking a modality to express grief and honor loved ones. Motherhood includes all of our losses at the Center. We honor each other through compassion, and work with the ancestors who have also lost pregnancies and babies from the beginning of humanity. All are welcome at our table.
Dianna’s pregnancy with her daughter, Mary Rose, who died an hour after birth of trisomy 18, changed her life completely. Dianna wishes to change the cultural fear of death and social awkwardness around the bereaved by educating others to be present and open to the natural process of death. Miscarriage rates and infant death rates are high in our country, yet little support is available to families over the years.
She has written a poetry collection and novel and is in the process of seeking publication for both manuscripts. Find her poems, short fiction and essays online and on her YouTube channel.
My baby is dead. For five months of my pregnancy I knew that my daughter, Mary Rose, would die, though I did not know when she would die. What surprises me most is that I am alive. I am alive after the heartache of knowing about her condition, alive after holding her still body in my arms moments after her birth. Afterpains came with empty arms, as did my baby’s milk. Those months of pregnancy with the knowledge that our baby had trisomy 18 felt like a million years of sadness. . . During my pregnancy I did not find much to comfort me. I am writing the book that I wish I could have read when I was pregnant with my daughter. . .
I see life as spiritual path. I can only make sense of Mary Rose’s life if I look at it from a distance. I put myself in the context of my grandmothers and great-grandmothers. Women have been burying their children since the beginning of time. I am one woman who has walked this searing path of pain. Yet somewhere inside our hearts we have the strength to carry on, not to move on, as some would want us to do. We can continue our lives taking our babies with us. Our arms are empty, but our hearts are full. The love we have for our children, living or dead, grows. I do not believe in a final good-bye.
Excerpt from Walking the Labyrinth of My Heart: A Journey of Pregnancy, Grief and Newborn Death ©2016 White Flowers Press
Dianna is a writer, teacher, workshop facilitator and finder of joy. Join her on a journey of joyous grief.
Walking Through Pregnancy and Infant Loss – https://www.diannavagianos.com/infant-pregnancy-loss
Holding our Loved Ones who Died during the Holiday Season – https://www.diannavagianos.com/bookings-checkout/holiday-retreat-and-writing-class
Joyous Grief: Finding Beauty and Hope in a Broken World – https://www.diannavagianos.com/bookings-checkout/joyous-grief-1
The Mothership: Navigating the Complexities of Motherhood through Writing – https://www.diannavagianos.com/bookings-checkout/the-mothership-1
Writing in the Garden: Meditations on the Natural World – https://www.diannavagianos.com/bookings-checkout/writing-in-the-garden-1
Dianna Vagianos Armentrout offers workshops and classes on grief and loss. Her class on Pregnancy and Infant Loss is modeled after her book Walking the Labyrinth of Heart: A Journey of Pregnancy, Grief and Newborn Death which details her pregnancy and grief journey of receiving a life-limiting diagnosis for her unborn baby mid-pregnancy. Her book has helped people let go of their loved ones at the end of their life, including Kirsty Reyes who said Dianna’s words helped her take care of her mother who was dying of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Additionally, Dianna teaches poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction. She has spoken to many audiences on poetry and other topics related to creative arts in her career. She currently has classes on grief, motherhood and gardening open on her website http://www.diannavagianos.com.