Dr. Ivy Margulies is a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles specializing in grief, trauma, suicide, young widows, reproductive and maternal mental health, including postpartum mood and anxiety disorders, reproductive challenges, high risk pregnancy, infertility, miscarriage, pre-term labor, termination for fetal anomoly (or any reason), NICU, stillbirth and infant death. Dr. Ivy has Medical Staff Priviledges at Providence Saint John’s Hospital. Dr. Ivy’s clinical approach is to integrate psychodynamic, psychoanalytic, cognitive-behavioral and somatic therapy, including mindfulness based techniques and guided visualizations to bring awareness to the mind-body-spirit connection. Through emotional integration of the mind and body, this is where ‘we’ find some relief from the symptoms, pain, and depletion of grieving. Death ends a life, not a relationship. Whether the death is of a baby, ending of a pregnancy, or of a spouse, friend, parent, or partner. We grieve, because we loved. Dr. Ivy has also studied Jungian psychology and recognizes the importance of understanding archetypes as they relate symbolically and energetically to our human psyche.
Dr. Ivy’s expertise also includes infant, child and adolescent development, attachment parenting and reflective parenting. Dr. Ivy enjoys working with parents on their parenting skills, knowledge, and improving the parentchild attachment relationship. As we understand ourselves and our own family dynamics growing up, we can uncover and discover our strengths and weaknesses in our communication style and ability to better attune to our baby or child’s emotional needs.
In addition to Dr. Margulies’ clinical practice, she is a reiki healer, funeral director, and a death midwife. What does this mean? Death midwifery is an ancient practice yet the term “death midwife” is relatively new. Just as a birth midwife assists the family in the transition of bringing a new life into the world, a death midwife assists and helps educate the family on processes associated with the transition of life into death, at any age. The work Dr. Ivy does is designed to create sacred space for parents who have learned their baby/newborn/infant has died for reasons that are known or commonly unknown. Dr. Ivy comes to the hospital to help if needed and can help create a home funeral/memorial if desired. When there is a stillbirth or an infant dies in the hospital, often parents are not aware that they can take their baby home for three days and have a home memorial – regardless, they can take their time to say a final loving goodbye at the hospital or at home. The current culture in America is death phobic. We are typically scared to see, hold, and touch death. This is not natural. ‘We’ have lost all connectivity to the rituals around death and dying. Dr. Ivy is dedicated to improving the care, information and advocacy that families need in the hospital setting. You can see more information on her Angels Born Still page.
Dr. Margulies is a member of the Los Angeles County Perinatal Mental Health Task Force, renamed Maternal Mental Health NOW, which focuses on developing and supporting programs in the community to reduce the stigma and shame around maternal mental health issues while raising awareness of the #1 complication of pregnancy and childbirth: Postpartum Mood and Anxiety Disorders.
Dr. Margulies is featured on the website, www.KidsInTheHouse.com, and www.rtzhope.org, and recognized as a specialist in grief, trauma, pregnancy loss, and postpartum mood and anxiety disorders.
Her keynote speaking engagements have included the Los Angeles County Psychological Association Annual Conference, St. John’s Hospital Think Pink Event, The Annual Childhood Grief and Traumatic Loss Conference, The Pump Station, and many others. Dr. Ivy, along with Dr. Kiley Krekorian Hanish, the founder of Return To Zero H.O.P.E., have recently presented their statistically significant research findings on the benefits of Holistic Bereavement Retreats for Bereaved Mothers After Stillbirth, Infant and Child Death at the Perinatal Mental Health Conference in Chicago at Northwestern University and at the Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death Alliance Conference in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr. Ivy and Dr. Kiley had been co-facilitating holistic bereavement retreats in the USA and Australia. Our work will be published as a scientific article in the American Journal of Occupational Therapy next year, 2019. Dr. Ivy and Dr. Kiley have created a website directory for global bereavement resources for pregnancy loss and infant loss at www.pregnancylossdirectory.com. Ivy has 20+ years experience working with families and children. Dr. Ivy has interned at the UCLA’s Child Study Center, completed a clerkship at UCLA’s Office for Students with Disabilities, interned at St. John’s Hospital Child Study Center (renamed: Providence Saint John’s Family and Child Development Center), and interned at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Oncology. In addition, she has facilitated young widow groups for Our House bereavement center. She has also created and facilitated Mommy and Me groups at The Pump Station in Santa Monica. Dr. Ivy was also the staff psychologist for the Akasha Center for Integrative Medicine in Santa Monica. While at Akasha she created and facilitated groups focusing on pregnancy and motherhood, postpartum support, and an infant loss support group.
Dr. Ivy founded Angels Born Still in 2014 to offer bereaved mothers and grieving families a place for grief support, trauma support, education and normalization of the grieving process. Dr. Ivy incorporates significant healing approaches which complement the grief therapy so that emotional integration of the grief and trauma after a pregnancy loss, stillbirth, and/or traumatic birth can be possible.
Dr. Ivy is dedicated to improving the care and information families need at the hospital (Click on the link for the Hospital Card on this website) or at any time women need mental health support. The emotions of shock, grief and trauma experienced before, during and after miscarriage, termination for fetal anomaly, late term loss, stillbirth and/or infant death compel families who are in shock to make decisions they may later regret. Hospitals can often be impersonal and rush families into action affording them only a few hours to spend with their deceased infant. The policy of some hospitals is to take the baby to the morgue within a few hours. Although other hospitals recognize the importance of allowing the baby to stay with its parents for a limited amount of time, some will also allow as much time as you need. There is little consistency to draw on and Angels Born Still is available to help bereaved parents navigate these difficult moments that honor the bereaved mother, and father, the deceased baby, and support the family’s needs and wishes.
The work Dr. Ivy does is nondenominational and designed to create a sacred space for parents who know they are about to birth a stillborn baby, just delivered a stillborn or have found out the newborn will die shortly after birth for reasons that are unknown and make no sense. Dr. Ivy companions with the mother and her partner to offer council, education, and loving attention around their loss and guides the family in after death care of the infant body; empowering families to create personal and deeply meaningful funerals, and memorials at home that can honor the life that has been tragically and suddenly taken from them.
Up until a century ago, home funerals were the norm. The modern business of the funeral industry often creates an impersonal experience for a family. The goal of Angels Born Still is to reclaim the ritual and offer an understanding of death as something to be revered, not feared.
Dr. Ivy will help you to make the right decision for your family as relates to the final disposition of the baby’s body and whether to do a traditional burial, cremate or explore the option of a ‘green’ burial. The work Dr. Ivy does elevates the traditional funeral home because of its personalization and empathy. When there is a stillbirth, or an infant dies in the hospital, parents are not aware of their legal rights; that they can take their baby home for three days and conduct a memorial that allows them the time to fully say their loving goodbyes.
Our culture today is conditioned to being death phobic, grief illiterate and fearful of death. We often fear seeing death, holding and touching our deceased loved one, and being with a much loved and wanted baby. Death can often be viewed as morbid and not part of the circle of life that it is. Angels Born Still believes in the sanctity of the life cycle and helps to reconnect us to the natural rituals associated with death and dying. No matter what stage a life is taken; an embryo, a baby in utero, a newborn, an infant, a child, a young person or an adult, death is our universal connection.
It is not fair in a modern world like ours to have a stillbirth, yet there is one every 21 minutes in the United States. With every one of those tragic events there is a mother and father who needs loving guidance and support during those dark hours, days and months following this unfathomable heart breaking experience. Mothers and their families need death support, grief support and compassion. They need to be held emotionally and physically and to know they are seen and validated for their whole emotional experience – because although their child may have been stillborn, they are still born and they matter. Furthermore, women who have fertility treatments, infertility, PCOS, miscarriages, pregnancy loss(es) or terminations for any reason also need mental health support and guidance. Pregnancy loss, stillbirth and infant death can quickly become invisible losses to everyone around them, leaving the bereaved mother and husband/partner to figure out their new normal on their own.
Dr. Ivy has developed her own relationship with death through the suicide of her father at 15 years old, the suicide of her best friend a year later, an early pregnancy loss at 22 years old, the tragic premature death of her first husband at 24 years old, and helping her mother in law who was diagnosed with terminal cancer 5 years later with her dying process. There have been many other deaths in her life, some we come to expect as we age, such as our grandparents, and others too soon and not in “order”. Dr. Ivy lives in Los Angeles, California and has four children, twin adult boys and two daughters.