The death of a baby is profound and impacts the entire family. Professional resources may be available to you but sometimes just talking to someone that has been down the same path can be very helpful. Our Peer Companion program coordinator will match newly bereaved individuals with a trained peer companion that has had a similar experience and if possible lives in close proximity.
Peers are available for the entire family from mothers, fathers, grandparents and more. Every effort is made to match new individuals with someone with the same type of loss history as well if at all possible.
Who can be a Peer Companion?
Anyone who has walked their own journey through perinatal loss. That might be miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal or infant death or a pregnancy with a life-limiting diagnosis. Perhaps you loss was for one or multiple babies in a single pregnancy or multiple losses. Peers are needed for moms, dads, grandparents and other extended family members. We do recommend that in most cases it is best if you are at least one year out from your own loss. Take a look at the Peer Companion job description here.
What does a Peer Companion do?
Most importantly a Peer Companion listens with compassion. No judgement, no unsolicited advice – just heartfelt understanding for you on your lonely path. Peer Companions do not provide medical advice but they are trained and aware of resources that may be helpful to you. Peer Companions can help you anticipate what you might expect going forward and can reach out to you as you desire. Sometimes just someone sending a text on a special day just to say “I’m thinking of you, call me if you need to.” and just knowing that you are never alone is so very important.
Peers can walk beside you for as long as you wish. If you no longer need your peer companion, just say so. They have been in those shoes and will totally understand and respect your choices.
Is there a charge for Peer Companions?
Absolutely not. Most, if not all, of our peer companions were supported in their journey as well and the act of paying it forward is an honor to their child as well as yours.
How can I become a Peer Companion?
Review the Peer Companions job description and if you are at least one year out from your own loss, complete this volunteer form. Our Peer Companion Coordinator will visit with you to learn more about your loss and your readiness to support others. Attendance at a Peer Companion training is required prior to being assigned to a family member. Remember – we need peers who are mothers, fathers, grandparents and more.
How many people will I support as a Peer Companion?
Supporting more than a minimal number of individuals at one time is not recommended. Our Peer Companion Coordinator will work with you to be sure this never becomes too much. There is no question that this is extremely emotional work and your mental and emotional health is also of our utmost concern. You can always say you need to take a break or stop being a Peer Companion