Helpful information about Infant & Pregnancy Loss and Grief Resources.
Types of Loss
- DOWNLOADS: Visit our downloadable forms page for informational tri-Folds in English and Spanish
- ONLINE CATALOG: Visit our online catalog for additional resources, including books and gifts.
Healing from Helping
Share receives many calls from bereaved parents who want to reach out and help other hurting parents. Some of those who call are newly bereaved. Some of them have been so touched by the support they received that they want to give back to others. Calls also come from folks who have not received the support they needed at the time of their loss and want to make changes in their community
I understand the urgency to reach out to another person after your loss. Shortly after Christopher died, I wanted to change my nursing position to obstetrics and to start a Share group all at the same time. I began the process but I could not complete the goals I had envisioned. I became physically sick from trying to do too much. My husband, Chuck & I had to start over and focus on our personal grieving needs. I still had the yearning to start a Share group but I gave the seedling to the nurses, chaplain and AMEND peer counsellor who had supported us. I was grateful for their support and willingness to be a part of this important effort in our area. Two years later a Share group was established and Chuck & I were able to assist these caregivers as facilitators. Also, four years later I knew I was ready to pursue that change in my nursing career to labour & delivery.
I encourage the newly bereaved to take care of their own needs first. The needs of newly bereaved parents are many and they deserve top priority. Supporting another person takes energy and time and often a bereaved person is exhausted from their own feelings of loss. When I tell people they need to wait for at least 18 months to start a group many of them are surprised by my suggestions and direction. After they hear the reasons, most begin to understand the importance of their own needs.
As one begins to reach out to others, a sense of peace follows. In the beginning days of supporting other bereaved parents, Chuck & I would often comment how healing it felt to listen to the stories of their baby/ies. It was a true honour to be there for the parents but also we found it helpful in our continued healing. The statement is in giving that we receive was so true!
Over the years I have had the great privilege to witness the growth and healing of many individuals on their journey. Many people tell me how grateful they are for all Share or their support group gave them. They feel by giving back to others honours their beloved child. I truly believe every baby that dies leaves a gift for his/her parents. I see these gifts in action when I see the parents giving back to others. The following is some of the healing moments I have witnessed:
- Reaching out to another member of the support group by sharing his initial struggle of his own grief.
- Going to the funeral home for the first time since their baby’s death to support a friend.
- Calling the SHARE Office for the newly bereaved to find resources and support.
- Handing someone who is hurting her phone number.
- Volunteering endless hours to build an Angel of Hope monument and place memorial bricks.
- Building oak caskets for miscarried babies.
- Sewing gowns, caps and blankets for the babies who have died.
- Sitting with the newly bereaved at the time of their loss.
- Organizing a fundraiser to support the local/national support group.
- Distributing SHARE or bereavement materials to doctors, funeral homes.
- Taking on the state government and succeeding providing the right for burial of all babies regardless of gestation.
- Planning a county wide Walk to Remember
- Providing one on one support via the phone, internet
- Corresponding to newly bereaved in the parent connection section of the newsletter.
- Planning a holiday memorial service
- Bringing a newly bereaved to his support group
- Coordinating a nationwide plan to establish October 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
- Preparing and delivering a presentation on perinatal loss to professionals.
- Editing a perinatal newsletter.
- Listening to a loved one’s challenges and not giving undue advice.
I have talked to each of these individuals about their personal commitment and reasons for their actions. There were no complaints about the number of time efforts took. All of them gave willingly in honour of their baby/ies. My husband, Chuck who volunteers for many Share related activities says it so well “ I give to my work, my church and my living children. This is what I do for Christopher.” Each of them shared how much their project or kindness assisted in their continued healing and remembering of their precious child/children.
In these days of uncertainty, I pray this article has given you some hope for your future. Remember to give yourselves the time you need for your own grieving. The day will come when you are able to reach out to another and believe me your heart will sing!
written by Cathi Lammert