Saturday, June 6, 2009

Share and share alike

The support I have received from other women who have experienced the death of a child has kept me going all these years. I want to take a moment here to thank all of you who have commented directly on my blog or have let me know through other channels that you appreciate this site and wish me well. That means so much.

Many of the women I've met over the years have been through the Share network. Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support is a phenomenal organization that is dedicated to providing resources, support, education, and hope to families who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. Their website is full of useful information, and I encourage anyone to check it out (see the link listed on the right).

I heard about Share through a local women's newspaper. A friend told me in early 2004, after my second baby died, that there was an article about miscarriage in this newspaper. I picked up a copy of it and read the article that included an interview with a local woman who was spearheading a Madison chapter of Share. I immediately called her so I could get involved. I was desperate to channel my grief into something useful - something that would provide help to other women and reduce the overwhelming isolation that comes with this experience. We quickly formed a small group of women who began meeting at each other's homes to talk about what we were going through. The group built slowly, with some interest in regular meetings and more interest in informal support that manifested in two women meeting at a coffee shop or over lunch rather than full group monthly meetings. Sadly, my co-lead moved to the east coast several years ago, and I'm trying to keep the network going on my own. I hope to eventually run a support group, but will need more training and support to do so.

Keeping in touch with these women and continually meeting new women has really opened my eyes to how common our losses are and to how much we still don't talk about them openly. Sadly, there's a pervasive and palpable level of discomfort that comes with talking about babies who died. Yes, it's tragic and sad and unimaginable. It happens and it happens more often than we are truly aware. Thankfully, through channels such as the Share network, we have an outlet. It's so much better than it used to be, but there's still so much more progress to make.


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