I can’t imagine being able to comprehend the loss of a child unless you’ve been through it yourself, which is why it’s so important for bereaved parents to have a safe place to share their stories and ask questions of those who have been there and have the answers. Yesterday was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, and it led me to think of all the women who’ve experienced miscarriage or pregnancy loss who were suffering alone until blogger Devan McGuinness came along.
Last year, Devan, who writes at Accustomed Chaos and here at Babble, created a site called Unspoken Grief to serve as a support community for those who’ve been touched directly or indirectly by miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss. She developed Unspoken Grief after her own experience with 11 miscarriages and one stillbirth. At her site, anyone can share their stories and learn from others, and now there are hundreds of stories that cover what it feels like to be on this journey of child loss … the confusion, the sadness, the anger, the guilt. In addition to the forum, Devan educates readers on everything from the symptoms of grief to the causes and risk factors of miscarriage.
Because of her work supporting loss families, Devan has already been honored twice this year: She was the winner of the 3rd Annual Bloganthropy Award, and recently was named among the Top 25 Social Media for Social Good parent bloggers.
As someone who has experienced an illness that is often suffered silently, I understand the importance of social media resources like Unspoken Grief and Glow in the Woods, and I hope the parents who need these resources are aware of them.
For more resources for parents who have been through stillbirth or miscarriage, consider:
- Glow In the Woods - A blog dedicated to providing support to “babylost parents,” this site features beautiful writing by some bloggers you may recognize, including Kate Inglis of Sweet Salty and Bon Stewart, who formerly blogged at Crib Chronicles, as well as a few discussion boards.
- Silent Grief - Silent Grief offers weekly emails of encouragement to grieving parents, lists of reading materials, and an articles archive to help guide parents through topics like getting through Mother’s Day or answering the question, “How many children do you have?”
- First Candle - First Candle is dedicated to safe pregnancies and the survival of babies through the first years of life. Their current priority is to eliminate Stillbirth, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and other Sudden Unexpected Infant Deaths (SUID). They have a specific section on their site for grieving families.
- Hygeia Foundation - They offer a bereavement resource lending library, funeral assistance to low-income parents, and educational programs to raise awareness among medical and other professionals of the effects of pregnancy and infant loss on families.
- Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support - Share offers a list of support groups around the country, information on parents’ rights when a baby dies, information on legislation related to infant loss and more.
- Bereaved Parents USA – The organization has chapters around the United States that hold local support group meetings for bereaved parents.
Photo credit: © Bernd S. – Fotolia.com
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