Welcome to the “Club”

November 8, 2012
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by Lindsey Wimmer, RN, MSN, CPNP

In the days and weeks after my son was stillborn, I remember feeling like I was now a part of a “club” that I DID NOT ask to join and of which I WAS NOT happy to be a member.  I knew there were parents like us all over the world, but that was not comforting to me.

However, I also had a million questions – some that needed immediate answers and some that were  rhetorical.  I soon learned that the best and in many cases, the only place to find these answers was from others who had walked this path.  Much to my surprise, working with parents on the same path helped me with many of my questions and also gave me hope that I could survive the worst chapter of my life.  At the time, I didn’t even know I needed that hope – I was just numb.

One resource that was not available to me was easy immediate access to caring people who understood what I was going through.  There are many, many fantastic organizations now providing this kind of support to families enduring all forms of pregnancy, infant, and child loss.  Some of them are run through the hospitals, some come to parents through support groups, or some are grieving parents wanting to give back.  All of them are angels to these families.  It takes a special person to want to walk this horrific journey with a stranger.

Star Legacy Foundation has recently partnered with one of these groups in the Minneapolis, MN metro area.  In just a few short weeks, I have been overwhelmed by the size of these ladies’ hearts.  In talking to the families, I know the support and resources they provide are incredibly helpful and a true “lifeline”.  What I didn’t expect was how much these families did for their support person, too.

This group of volunteers, who now call themselves 11 Angels, all have very personal experience with pregnancy and/or infant loss.  They approached us at Star Legacy Foundation with their desire to continue to support families who have learned that their baby has died or is not expected to live long after birth.  11 Angels volunteers had been providing these services for several years as part of another organization.  When they learned that this particular program would be discontinued, each shared a desire to continue providing support to families in their darkest hour.  As a team, they approached Star Legacy Foundation with their project proposal and 11 Angels was born.

We eagerly embraced their vision and knew instantly that their needs were clearly within our mission.  And a beautiful partnership was born when the Star Legacy Foundation Board voted unanimously to create a project that would support not only 11 Angels but any other individual or group of individuals wanting to bring valuable services to families as part of our existing Champions Program.  Learn more about 11 Angels.  Since that time all of these ladies have received special training provided by Loss Doulas International and are all certification eligible with this organization.  This three day training covered many topics including grief processes, pregnancy & infant loss, resources, birth planning, working with hospital providers, creating memories and so much more.

I have heard this type of work referred to as civic duty, giving back, ministry, karma, healing tasks, or just the right thing to do.  Call it whatever you like – it is a fantastic service to offer families whenever it is available.  If you know someone who is expecting a loss or has recently suffered a loss, please ask your hospital or look online for individuals in your area who may be of assistance.  There may even be benefit to talking on the phone if you find someone too far away to visit in person.

Please let us know if you were offered companioning services, if you accepted this resource, or your experience with this type of support.  We’re also open to suggestions or ideas!  If you are one of these incredible companions, let us know about your experience as well.

Like it or not, we’re in this club.  We might as well do what we can to help each other.

PS – Contact us at [email protected]  if you have an interest in a project that will benefit families facing the loss of a child and would like to partner with Star Legacy Foundation in this way.

Copyright 2012 © Star Legacy Foundation

One Comment

sheila from Something Precious

we have just employed a mum of an angel baby to help keep her mind actice in a healthy way,she is strong,kind and she hopes to be able to offer comfort to other mums of baby loss too.

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