If you’ve followed my blog for awhile – or my writing in general – you know I cover issues related to pregnancy and infant loss.
After having six miscarriages on my way to becoming Casey’s mom, I know how agonizingly painful it can be to experience pregnancy loss. And after having very dear friends who in recent years have experienced stillbirths and the deaths of their sweet babies – well, let’s just say I feel an even greater sense of urgency to share this message with people:
You’re not alone. And it’s not your fault.
With Aug. 22 marking National Rainbow Baby Day, I felt like this would be an opportunity to share some of the incredible resources we have here in Palm Beach County and nearby for people who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss.
First, you might be asking yourself: What is a rainbow baby? If you are not familiar with that term, a rainbow baby is the child who is born following pregnancy, infant or child loss.
Why do I keep saying “pregnancy and infant loss?” Because there are several terms to define the loss of a pregnancy: chemical pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion. “Pregnancy loss” is all-encompassing. And infant loss could include a baby of any age, including those who have just been born.
Why is this topic so important? Because this is an incredibly common experience, and yet many people just don’t know how to talk about it. Many who experience pregnancy loss are left feeling alone and adrift. They also feel like they’re to blame, and this can lead to mental health concerns including depression and anxiety.
Do you want proof that people want to talk about miscarriage, but just don’t know how to do it? Look to “Bluey.” In May, I wrote about how the creator of the uber-popular children’s TV show confirmed in a book about miscarriage that an episode of the show does in fact indicate that the title character’s mother experienced pregnancy loss. That post is the most popular ever on this blog. If you search “Bluey miscarriage,” it’s often the top result. Thousands of people have clicked through, and my data show they actually read the post. So they care. And you should too, because it’s very likely that someone you love has experienced this.
So let’s say you have experienced a recent pregnancy loss. I am so sorry that you have joined this crappy club. But as I said before: You’re not alone.
Everyone grieves differently, and that’s important to remember. Should you need additional resources, here are a few locally that might be able to help you on this journey.
Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support
What: This local chapter of the national Share support group is hosted by the Health Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Palm Beach County. They host a virtual pregnancy and infant loss support group that meets once a month. This is one of the many great local services provided by HMHB.
More info: Click here.
What: This locally based organization provides free care packages to people who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, or who have a baby in a Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. All of the packages are covered by donations. Eve’s Victory also hosts events, including the annual Seeds of Hope, where donors can sponsor wildflower hearts that are released by plane over a field. The Eve’s Victory website features a shop where you can buy a “rainbow baby box,” along with other items that are thoughtfully designed to support those who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss.
More info: Click here.
211 Palm Beach and Treasure Coast
What: This free service connects people in need of crisis support with resources. All calls are free and confidential, and the hotline is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Our local 211 serves Palm Beach, Martin, Indian River, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties.
More info: Click here, or call 211.
‘Unexpecting: Real Talk on Pregnancy Loss’ by Rachel Lewis
What: This book was incredibly helpful to me. I first found the author, Rachel Lewis, through a Facebook support group for grieving mothers, “Brave Mamas.” When her book came out in 2021, I had already given birth to Casey. I had my rainbow baby. But I still grieved for what might have been. And you know what? That’s OK. In her book, Lewis gently handles the many difficult and painful topics that may arise following a miscarriage or stillbirth. She deftly navigates tough questions like, “Why does it feel like God let me down?” I highly recommend this book, and I’ve given it to others who have been through this. It can really help to bring a sense of peace.
What: While Madison’s Miracles isn’t in Palm Beach County, I still felt like it was worth highlighting this great organization. Madison’s Miracles was founded by Christina Stamper after her daughter Madison was stillborn at 22 weeks. In addition to offering free support groups in Martin County, Madison’s Miracles also raises money to provide memory boxes to patients in the hospital who experienced pregnancy and infant loss. The organization also raises money to help hospitals buy CuddleCots, an important tool to help parents spend even a little more time with their stillborn babies, forming memories that can help those parents grieve and honor their children. When I was at The Palm Beach Post, I wrote about local efforts to get CuddleCots into hospitals. While I was at a local hospital for a demonstration, a nurse came into the room and kindly asked when we would be finished. They needed the CuddleCot for a family who had just lost a baby. It was a heartbreaking reminder of the reality of how frequently this happens, and it still brings tears to my eyes.
More info: Click here.
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