Sunday, April 14, 2013

Sharing Parents Organization

To provide an atmosphere where grieving parents can come together and share their feelings about the loss of their baby and the love for their baby(ies) is the purpose of the support group Sharing Parents for pregnancy and infant loss.

It was started in Sacramento in 1981 by a Lamaze instructor who saw the need in the lives of her students when their babies died. All members are volunteers for this non-profit, tax exempt organization supported only by volunteers and donations. It does not matter how long ago you lost your child; you should not be ashamed to contact them, even if it’s been years.

I found out about this organization because I received an email from one of its members to ask if they could use one of my articles for their February newsletter. I immediately went to their website and saw what a great organization they have with lots of information geared towards these parents. It would be nice to see other states start a group like this.

They offer a variety of meetings, telephone support, a newsletter four times a year and internet resources. So, if you can not attend their meetings because you don’t live in the area, telephone support, an online newsletter and internet resources are still available.

Three types of meetings are held. General meetings are for bereaved parents who have already lost their child, no matter how long ago. Couples are encouraged to attend meetings to share or just to listen to others. Supportive friends and family are also encouraged to attend. The second type of meeting is for Subsequent pregnancies, parents who are contemplating a future pregnancy and those who are currently pregnant. These meetings are held on the fourth Monday of every month. Short term grief session is a series of four weekly meetings for parents with a recent loss (within a year). There is a specific topic to discuss each week, and to receive the most benefit from this session, you are encouraged to attend all four meetings. This is a safe place to share your grief with people who have experienced a similar loss. It is also a time when small groups may bond and find the support they gain is accompanied by newly found friendships.

At a typical meeting one can expect to either share their feelings about the loss and the love for their babies or where parents can give and receive emotional support by sharing common experiences and learn about the natural grief process while working through and resolving their loss. You are not required to talk. You may simply want to listen and that is okay also. Depending on the meeting, they may watch a DVD or do an art project.

A lending library of books is available. Phone support is also available for those parents who have made the difficult decision to interrupt their very wanted pregnancies after learning that their baby had severe or fatal fetal anomalies. Telephone support is also for between meetings for parents, including fathers, who would like to talk to a compassionate parent.

Meetings are held at the Mercy Women’s Center in Sacramento. Telephone number for additional information is 916-424-5150.

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