Helping bereaved parents stabilize and stay afloat

When a baby dies, parents are set adrift.  Even the most well-intentioned friends and family are mystified about how to help, and in the days that follow a tragedy of these proportions, everyone gets a bit lost at sea.

The loss of a child is a passage I have had to navigate in my own life. The inspiration for Ballast & Buoy began with the stillbirth of our first baby, a son, in 2009. The people who loved us didn’t know what to do, and we didn’t either. Those early, awful days were dark and disorienting. We felt robbed, bereft, and desperate to change the unchangeable.

I know firsthand what a disorienting and isolating experience the grief of pregnancy loss can be.  I’m here to provide empathetic and experienced navigation for parents dealing with the aftermath of miscarriage, medical interruption, stillbirth, and infant death.

Connect with other babylost parents

Glow in the Woods

Online community of parents writing about their experiences with pregnancy/infant loss. Beautiful, vulnerable, authentic essays.

Grieving Still…

Free
Third Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm
2018 dates: 1.18 | 2.15 | 3.15 | 4.19 | 5.17 | 6.21 | 7.19 | 8.16 | 9.20 | 10.18 | 11.15 | 12.20
MaineHealth Scarborough, 100 Campus Drive, West Entrance
Scarborough, ME 04047
FMI  (207) 662-6523

Grieving Still: Remembering and loving babies lost during pregnancy. Maine Med hosts a monthly support group (third Thursdays) for parents who have lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy. Facilitated by Jennifer Wagner, RNC, the Perinatal Loss and Bereavement Coordinator for Maine Med’s Labor & Delivery Department.

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I will always be a woman whose first child died, and I won’t give up either that grievance or the bad jokes of everyday life. I will hold on to both forever.

Elizabeth McCracken
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination

Healing Together

Free
Second Thursday of each month at 6:00 pm
2018 dates: 1.11 | 2.8 | 3.8 | 4.12 | 5.10 | 6.14 | 7.12 | 8.9 | 9.13 | 10.11 | 11.8 | 12.13
MaineHealth Scarborough, 100 Campus Drive, West Entrance
Scarborough, ME 04047
FMI  (207) 662-6523

Maine Med hosts a monthly support group (second Thursdays) for parents who have interrupted pregnancies due to fetal anomalies. Facilitated by Jennifer Wagner, RNC, the Perinatal Loss and Bereavement Coordinator for Maine Med’s Labor and Delivery Department. Healing Together provides parents a safe place to grieve, share experiences, give and receive support, and celebrate their babies. Parents are encouraged to bring pictures and other mementos that they would like to share.

 

Heart to Heart: GPS Group Peer Support

Free
4th Wednesday of each month
FMI web site | Facebook

Heart to Heart is a peer support group of parents helping each other through the loss of a child through miscarriage, stillbirth, and neonatal death. Grieving parents are welcome at our table regardless of when or how your loss occurred.

 

May We All Heal

Private Facebook group founded by writer and grief mentor Natalie Himmelrich and facilitated by parent volunteers who have experienced baby loss in their own lives.

 

Yoga For Your Grieving Heart

Registration required
Tuesday evenings in Portland

A six-week series of gentle yoga and bereavement support for people grieving the loss of any loved one. Susannah runs this group several times each year; call her to find out when her next session begins.

If you know of other pregnancy loss support groups happening in Maine,
please drop me a line so I can include it here.

Friends and family: How to help

It is a terrible thing to bear witness when someone you love loses a baby. You want to be able to take their pain away, even as you know that you can’t. There are, however, several constructive ways to channel your desire to be there for them:

1. Organize a meal train. Fresh fruits and vegetables, already cut and ready to eat, are very nurturing. Meals in small portions that are easy to heat and eat are also appreciated. If your friends are not ready for conversation, drop it off on the front steps and text them when it’s done.

2. If your friends want company, schedule a time to visit. Take them for a walk, or just sit with them. Be prepared to hold space for them.

3. Choose your words carefully. However lovingly you might intend them, certain phrases are more hurtful than helpful in the moment. Natalie Himmelrich offers tips on how to say the right things.

Your presence is the most valuable thing you can offer to bereaved parents. Be gentle, listen carefully, and be ready to meet them where they are at each stage of grieving.