perinatal / reproductive losses

Resources for perinatal / reproductive loss, as suggested by my dear colleagues:

Groups/websites:

Perinatal Loss Group – many great resources, including birth/death announcements, excellent “support cards” and books with readings for memorials and other rituals of healing

Compassionate Friends -website and national network for parents who have lost a child, with information on how to find local chapters

Faith Aloud has a free hotline for women experiencing either an unplanned pregnancy or a reproductive loss

March of Dimes is more for premature births and birth defects, but their website does have some useful resources

Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice  offers an excellent training in Pastoral Counseling for Reproductive Loss, designed to equip clergy of all faiths in meeting the needs of women and families who encounter infertility, abortion, stillbirth, post-adoption loss, and other experiences that could be seen as reproductive loss. 

Books:

Still to be Born: A Guide for Bereaved Parents Who are Making Decisions About Their Future, by Pat Schweibert

Tear Soup a “children’s book” about grief, but great for all ages; highly recommended (also by Pat Schweibert)

Unspeakable Losses:  Healing from Miscarriage, Abortion, and Other Pregnancy Loss, by Kim Kluger-Bell. 

An Empty Cradle, a Full Heart: Reflections for mothers and fathers after miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death, by Christine O’Keefe Lafser.  This book of meditations is most appropriate for someone who is accustomed to receiving comfort from Hebrew & Christian scriptures.

Remembering Well: Rituals for Celebrating Life and Mourning Death” by UU Rev. Sarah York (Jossey-Bass) has a chapter entitled “All Deaths Are Not Equal” which addresses such a grievous loss as that of an infant.

General Advice:

Validate the relationship—acknowledge the status as mother (father, grandparent, etc.).  A family was created and will always exist, even if the child died too soon.  Help grieve the loss of all the planned activities, events, celebrations that the person(s) had imagined and dreamed about.

Existing systems may discourage burial, memorial services—even an obituary.  Helping to make sure these things occur will further support and validate the grieving family members.

Some women are interested in holding a ritual several weeks or even months after their loss.  A small remembrance on what would have been the child’s first birthday can be meaningful.

I post these resources for others to use (and for myself, when I need to find them again someday).  Please feel free to add other resources/advice in the comments section.  Thank you to everyone who contributed to this compilation.

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