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As summer winds to an end and kids head back to school, our September Focus Theme is appropriately EDUCATION.
Over the past two years, Three Little Birds has worked closely with numerous hospitals in the Philadelphia metro and Southern New Jersey region. These experiences have connected us with doctors, nurses and other medical professionals who reach out to us for guidance and support in helping families experiencing the loss of a pregnancy and baby.
While they are always well intentioned, the majority of these professionals openly admit, they don't have the education and resources to provide these families with what they need during their hospital stay and as they head home to figure out their "new normal". Nearly all of the professionals we have connected with explain to us that they are not provided education on bereavement, especially related to perinatal loss in their degree and licensing programs. Considering pregnancy and infant loss effects 1 in every 4 families, this is concerning to our organization.
It is difficult for families dealing with these situations to advocate for themselves, especially in the first few months as they heal and understand their situations. Many families are not aware of the resources and support available to them until it is too late.
It is part of Three Little Birds' mission to provide Educational Support to families and medical professionals in the field of perinatal support. Our organization has listened to the families who have reached out to us and bravely shared their stories with us to understand the varied and individual needs of families having to say hello and goodbye in a blink of an eye.
This includes, how to communicate with bereaved families, how to communicate among staff to share sensitive information and wishes families have, how to facilitate bonding and memory making with babies who pass away, providing post-partum support and resources to support families as they return home, forever changed.
Three Little Birds is developing a comprehensive educational program, complete with hospital-branded, up-to-date printed resources to assist medical professionals in explaining numerous overwhelming decisions that need to be made, items to facilitate memory making, supporting various cultural, religious, spiritual and diverse ethnic needs of families, as well as physical support items for mom as she heals after delivery.
Additionally, there will be a training component for medical professionals on how to take photographs of the family when a volunteer professional photographer is not available through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. Often times, when a volunteer is not available, staff does not offer the gift of photography to families. This is an option that should be available to ALL families who wish to memorialize the short time they have together. By teaching medical staff on Labor & Delivery and Neonatal Intensive Care Units photography and posing basics, families can be provided with an invaluable gift that will set the footprint of their healing journey.
This program will be facilitated by Three Little Birds Co-Founders, Kristen Samuelson, Loss Parent and Bereavement Doula and Desiree Miller, Bereavement Doula and Professional Photographer. Both Kristen and Desiree have served more than 130 families throughout the region, providing validation, support and the gift of infant remembrance portraiture through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.
This program is slated to be available for presentation in early 2019 and we are hoping to provide Continuing Education Credits to those who take our course. We are taking reservations now from hospitals who are seeking to improve their perinatal bereavement services to families in their facilities as well as meet the requirements of the Autumn Joy Stillbirth Research & Dignity Act passed in the State of New Jersey.
Three Little Birds is committed to educating the medical community in the varying needs and support required by families experiencing the unthinkable loss of a baby and/or pregnancy. Click here to read our Manifesto for Medical Support.
Kristen Samuelson, SBD, Founder & Director