Updated: Nov 29, 2021
As we close on our fifth year of supporting the pregnancy and infant loss community in the Philadelphia/South Jersey metro region, we want to take a moment to thank everyone who has become apart of our nest to help support our mission, which is tri-fold:
First, we support the immediate and long-term needs of the (one in four) families in our region experiencing miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss, termination for medical reasons as well as (the 2% of) families who receive a life-limiting or uncertain fetal diagnosis. Additionally, our support includes (the one in eight) families who struggle with traditional family building and secondary infertility.
Over the past year, Three Little Birds has responded to requests for more than 30 families bedside at Jefferson Hospital (Washington Township, NJ and Philadelphia, PA), Cooper University Hospital (Camden, NJ), Inspira Health Systems (Vineland, NJ and Mullica Hill, NJ) and AtlanticCare Mainland (Pomona, NJ). This includes perinatal bereavement photography, memory making, follow-up support, providing resources and support to offset financial burdens and support the extended family as well. We are so grateful for the support of our volunteer bereavement photographers at Stinsman Photography, Life Captured by JamieLynn, Image is Everything Studios, Roseanne Marcy Photography and Sophia Gabriella Photography for their time and talents to give families this precious gift.
These 30 families are in addition to the more than 60 support inquiries we received through our web page over the past 12 months. Our pregnancy after loss program also supported more than a dozen families as they continue their family building journey with 3D/4D ultrasounds from our Community Sponsor, Wondertime, LLC.
Our support continues long after families leave the hospital empty armed. We are there to support families (dads/non-birthing parents, grandparents, siblings and family members/friends) through our closed/private Facebook Group called Mama Bird Healing. Here, our certified bereavement doulas have created specialized content and discussion topics for local loss mothers to share and connect over, as well as participate in several healing events including our journeys, memorial services, personalized products and spiritual readings. In 2022, we will be launching an elevated level of services for families including video content, monthly in-person support groups and resources focused on physical, emotional and spiritual wellbeing as families heal from this type of loss. A pregnancy after loss coaching program is also in the works.
Additionally, Three Little Birds doesn't subscribe to traditional support group settings. We like to offer a variety of support with the intention to connect families walking similar journeys in organic ways. Some of our most recent popular events included our Mama Bird Rage Room event, our quarterly Craft & Heal Support Groups, we hosted our Bereaved Mother's Day spa event at Float Haven Spa, and our Father's Day BBQ & Disc Golf Competition. These events have become popular and many families have connected as friends! What a way to build your nest!
Secondly, as part of our mission, Three Little Birds is dedicated to supporting the medical professionals/community that supports families through pregnancy and infant loss.
As both patients and advocates, we have witnessed firsthand the lack of education, support and knowledge for perinatal professionals in supporting the varying aspects of pregnancy and infant loss. We truly believe the quality of a family's experience begins with having an empowered staff.
In October at our Annual Wave of Light, Three Little Birds provided our event sponsor, Jefferson Health with more than $10,000 in perinatal bereavement support and education. This included two Cuddle Cots for both locations, $4,500 worth of medical training for up to 12 professionals as well as our Healthcare Hero Award to midwife who went above and beyond for a local family.
In the Summer of 2022, Three Little Birds will be launching our Perinatal Bereavement Training Program for advocates and medical professionals throughout the region so they can also support the medical community walking this journey with families.
And lastly, our organization stands with the hundreds of others who are advocating in support of perinatal bereavement support in hopes to #shatterthestigma.
We do this by sharing resources by other local and state wide resources, social media resources and standing in solidarity on October 15th - Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day at our Annual Wave of Light. This past year, we hosted more than 70 families with dinner, activities, community resources and a candle light ceremony at 7 PM.
In addition to our events and social media presence, Three Little Birds operates an Etsy store, where we create homemade personalized items to comfort, validate and fundraise so that we can provide our services to the community at no cost. Since our founding, this store has earned us more than $6,000 in revenue, and we have shipped more than 400 packages across the country AND to Canada and the UK! We love creating beautiful items to memorialize your baby and support the next family that will join the nest. 100% of the purchase price (less expenses, materials and fees) come right back to us to support our mission.
Most importantly, Three Little Birds provides $100 (no cash value) towards the start of a Legacy Project in memory of their baby. Big or small, these projects have a tremendous impact and support not just Three Little Birds and other families. Below are some info on the impact our families are having to support the next family through loss.
Aerobics for Aubrey event - This event, held in memory of Aubrey Rae Shapiro, raised more than $14,000 to support perinatal bereavement as well as provided an outlet for physical healing within our community through our Community Sponsor, Remix Fitness!
Baby C's Car Show - To celebrate Baby C's first birthday, his family hosted a car show and raised more than $2,500 to support perinatal bereavement through Three Little Birds!
Cuddle Cots for Cash - Cash's family raised more than $10,000 to purchase two Cuddle Cots in his memory. This year, we gifted Jefferson Health with the Cuddle Cots at their NJ and Philadelphia, PA locations. It is his family's goal to place a Cuddle Cot in every state!
Aubrey's Advocates - Aubrey Rae's mom is putting her professional background to good use by providing loss families a complimentary review of their EOB's and insurance billings to mitigate errors, find areas in need of reevaluation as well as additional mental health support that may be covered.
Cade's Creations - Cade's mama puts her Cricut Machine to good use through creating personalized window vinyls for sale as a fundraiser through Three Little Bird's Etsy store!
Mira's Banners of Love - Mira's mom received a life-limiting diagnosis for her in utero and they wanted to honor and celebrate Mira as they approached her birth. They took advantage of our complimentary Palliative Care Maternity Portrait sessions and created banners with her name on it. Mira's mom now creates banners for other families receiving similar uncertain outcomes so they can embrace their baby and make them apart of their family memories!
Additional projects include Calvin's Candles, S'more Love for Rylan and Grey Skies - all facilitated by loss families in memory of their baby!
Additionally, this year, Three Little Birds was named as a Difference Maker by KYW News Radio. Check out the interview here! We also collected more than 100 donated wedding gowns to be transformed into angel gowns/burial gowns and distributed to local hospitals. (Note - we will not be having a gown collection for 2022 due to space/storage availability).
GOALS FOR 2022
As 2022 approaches, and our nest and footprint grows throughout the region, the community has come to see the value in our services and support; therefore, so have our needs. We can no longer host events in our homes and borrow spaces. Our families deserve a dedicated space to connect, share and feel supported as they rebuild their lives and “new normal”. Please see our current Invest in our Nest Campaign so we can find a place to call our own where all are welcome!
A HUGE THANK YOU!
We could not do what we do without the support of our families, friends, volunteers, community sponsors and partners, generous donors, our Fiscal Sponsor, FNC, and our families who stand with us to #shatterthestigma of pregnancy and infant loss.