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We are so sorry for your loss. Whether you experience is with miscarriage (gestational loss under 15 weeks (PA) or 20 weeks (NJ), stillbirth (gestational age 20+ weeks) or your baby passed away shortly after birth, it is important to build a nest of support around you as you walk this uncertain journey.
Our organization was founded to address the lack of support for the one in every four families who experience this devastating loss. While no two families walk the same journey, there are many options and resources available that families may find of interest. What we have found in supporting families through these losses is that all families inherently want to parent their babies after loss, regardless of religious/spiritual, ethnic or socioeconomic backgrounds. Additionally, we support all journeys to LGBTQ parenthood and family building.
1. You have the right to your feelings. No one knows exactly what it is like for you to lose your child. No one has walked the exact same path as you. No one has lost THIS baby who was unique in his or her own special way. You have a right to feel however you might about your loss. Some days will be better than others. Today might be a good day, moments of laughter might even occur, but that doesn’t mean two years from now a deep sadness might not wash over you as you recognize milestones you dreamed of your child meeting. Experiencing all of these emotions, and more, is your right as a parent. No one should tell you otherwise.
2. You have the right to grieve in your own way. Remember the saying, “There is no right or wrong way to grieve.” We are all unique, therefore the ways we grieve the loss of our child will be unique. If you decide to keep their room the same and untouched for a year after their death, that’s fine. If you still have cake and a celebration on their birthday every year, great! If you get a tattoo in remembrance and it’s out of the ordinary for you, super! None of these are more appropriate or better than the other. If you are not hurting yourself physically or emotionally, there really is no right or wrong way to do this. Only your way.
3. You have the right to grieve in your own way. Similar in nature to #2. There is also another great saying, there is no time limit on grief. I’m sorry to say that you will carry the weight from the loss of your child with you throughout the rest of your life. You will remember them until you can no longer breathe. You don't have to listen to anyone tell you otherwise. Yes, the grief will shift and morph and move. Some days it will be as if it’s not there at all, while other days, it will be a heavy burden to bear. But, it will never fully or completely disappear. And this is okay. You have the right to grieve for as long or as little as you need, even if it’s a lifetime.
4. You have the right to find peace when you are ready. At first grief hurts, then there really are no words to describe the pain that comes from losing a child. It is disorienting, out of life’s order of events, and feels soul-crushing. When it first happens, it may seem as if any sense of peace will never find you again. However, over time, it will come. It may never be the same sense of peace you felt before loss; you know the one that has innocence tag along with it by its side. It will be a sense of settling into the vulnerability of your soul. It’s a place of knowing the pain and being accepting of it. Not necessarily okay with it, but a realization that peace and pain can exist on the same plane, in the same space and at the same time. You have a right to find this place and embrace it when you are ready. Don’t let anyone else force you there; it’s a place you must find on your own time and at your own speed.
5. You have the right to remember and speak their name. When people ask you that oh-so-common question “How many children do you have?”, you have the right to give them the real, uncensored answer. Feel that you can say their name as much, and as often, as you’d like! Include their name in holiday cards and say their name in nightly prayers. As they say, “My child did exist” and you have a right in remembering and speaking of their life and the love they brought to it, and in many ways, still do. If we don’t remember who will? It’s our right as bereaved parents to carry their memory with us for as long as our heart beats and speak their name as often as we desire. It is music to our souls.
Join our local support group - The Mama Bird Healing Nest on Facebook. This is closed, peer-led space that provides personalized support for mamas based on their needs and experience. We offer a variety of support through a video series, in-person support events, legacy project development and more. You can join here!
Not on social media? (We get it!!!) - You can receive the same event and support group in your inbox instead by signing up for our monthly newsletter.
Avoid direct mail and product solicitations - Unfortunately, the coupons, catalogs and mailings for baby products do not stop if your baby passes away. To remove your name from other baby-related mailing lists, phone call lists, and email lists, please contact the DMA's Mail Preference Service by writing to the following address to stop many unwanted junk mailings from coming to your house which may help decrease the amount of baby-related mail parents get the first year after their loss. Mail your request to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 9008, Farmingdale, NY 11735-9008.
Writing to that address will take you off many national mailing lists, for awhile. However, if you would still want to receive certain (non-baby related) catalogs, it might work best to just write to the specific companies sending the baby-related stuff.
Finding ways to honor your baby and family - When you are ready, it's important for you and your family to remember your baby in ways that are special. Even if you may not have had the chance to see, touch or hold him or even give him a name, there are things you can do to help you remember your baby. You can collect things that remind you of your baby. These might be ultrasound pictures, footprints, a hospital bracelet, photos, clothes, blankets or toys. Put them in a special box or scrapbook. Do or make something special to remember your baby. This could be an annual tradition or something as simple as a random act of kindness. There is no right or wrong way! Three Little Birds sells personalized products in our Etsy store that serve as a donation in your baby's name that allows us to provide our services to our community at no cost.
Start a legacy project in your baby's memory - Three Little Birds offers families $100 (no cash value) to start a legacy project in memory of their baby that serves as either a fundraiser or support event. These projects, no matter how big or small have a tremendous impact on our group and our community and give families and their support system of family and friends a tangible and meaningful way to support them in healing through advocacy. You can read more about our legacy projects here.
Butterfly Baskets - A local non-profit organization providing comfort baskets, remembrance cards, and support to loss families. Butterfly Baskets and Care Packages contain healing, self-care items, such as a journal and pen, soothing tea, remembrance bracelet, and loss resources. Butterfly Baskets are available upon request for local pickup/delivery. butterflybaskets.org
The TEARS Foundation - NJ - The TEARS Foundation offers financial assistance for the cremation/funeral of an infant and also offers local support groups. Check their webpage for updates on their in-person and Zoom meeting support.
Today is a Good Day - If you experienced your loss in the NICU, Today is a Good Day is a great resource for support regardless of the outcome. You can find details of their support here.
Start Healing Together - Dedicated to supporting educators experiencing pregnancy loss and infertility. Details on their advocacy can be found here.
Unite - UNITE, Inc. - A non-profit organization, has been providing peer-to-peer grief support following the loss of a baby, including miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, and infant death to parents in the Philadelphia area since 1975. Click here. Please note, that their in-person support groups were suspended during COVID.
Maternal Wellness Center - Located in Hatboro, PA this group offers a “Life After Loss Support Group”, “Parenting After Loss Support Group”, and “Termination for Medical Reasons: Grief and Support Group.” Click here for more information.
Miscarriage/stillbirth specific resources
Neo-natal/NICU specific resources
Loss of multiples specific resources
SIDs specific resources