Loss can feel isolating for most parents, and being present with other parents who share this journey can be so helpful. Many Western Massachusetts families have made strong connections through our support groups , but most have also found solace reading the words of others on websites or blogs. Knowing that others have shared some of the difficult and complicated emotions you may be experiencing can normalize your grief journey and give you hope for your own healing and future. Here are some great websites we suggest you browse as you navigate the path your grief will take.
We're going to start small. Sometimes the larger sites, or worse still just roaming the web, can be completely overwhelming. So we'll start by suggesting a few pages and articles, and then you can scroll down for some of the bigger resources that are out there.
First and foremost, we wouldn't be an authentic community resource if we didn't first share with you some writing and material from our own local community. These are real, live people you'll meet if you come to an Empty Arms event (which we hope you will)
Here's Erin, who is one of our companions and a beautiful photographer. She donates her time and work to help others, and we are so grateful to her for it.
Here's Natalie, who came unexpectedly to a special meeting we held one October, years back. She's been a steady presence ever since. She writes here about religion, or lack thereof, and a struggle to find meaning in a senseless death.
Charlotte's Grace is an article Carol had published many moons ago by Mothering Magazine. The print version of this story was released for the first time on the very snowy night that Erin (above) lost her darling Birdie.
Next, we can offer you a few individual articles that are beautifully written.
This is an amazing testimony written about one woman's medical termination. Heartwrenching.
And this one... about hiding your grief, and how awkward that can feel.
Coping with the opinions and judgments of others can be really tough. You can read a testament to that experience here.
Community is amazing, it's what we're trying to build at Empty Arms-- and here you can read a letter that reaches right out to you, the bereaved.
Or here, a beautiful poem written about numbers.
And lastly, the question we all ask: Why me? And her answers might surprise you.
Or- maybe you need to sit and listen. To listen to words that will affirm your broken heart, while you lie face down, feeling broken.
You can listen here to an interview with some of the founders of Glow in the Woods.
Or you can listen to this podcast, in which poet Arielle Greenberg shares the story of the stillbirth of her son, Day.
Or maybe you're ready to dip into some of the larger resources. Below are tried and true, well done websites to guide you through your loss experience. Each one is a little bit different, and some might appeal to you more than others.
Reconceiving Loss: This resource center for coping with pregnancy and infant loss is divided into three sections: Heal, Reflect, and Share. It's a true, interactive online community with opportunities to write, share photographs, listen to healing music, and learn more about others' stories. In addition to many different avenues for healing your wounded soul, there is also information about recovering your postpartum body.
A Bed for my Heart: A beautifully crafted website and blog, this is "a place to rest your grieving heart and let its truth spill outside the covers." It is full of powerful messages for survival and offers hope on those days where you think you will never be able to breathe again without hurting. The author of this page, Angela Miller, wrote a gorgeous book titled, "You Are the Mother of all Mothers."
Still Standing Magazine: Featuring a variety of articles, all carefully crafted and beautifully written, about surviving child loss and infertility. Others' words, offering a peek into what it's like behind another grieving parent's closed door, give us the confidence that we are not walking this road alone.
Glow in the Woods: One of the first, and Carol's most cherished online places for bereaved parents. She says, "I can't describe Glow without copying their "about" section... their invitation envelops the warmth that Glow provides to us in our most solitary moments. I might add that there are some really powerful men who write for Glow, so this is a great one for men." From the Glow site:
"For parents of lost babies and potential of all kind
In the beginning you stagger, disoriented, through this storm
We want to be a glow through the trees, a golden refuge of log and glass. Stumble up the steps, shake off the snow and the crust and the stiffness, cross the threshold to be encircled by figures welcoming, nodding, easing you to a roaring fire and piping hot tea and wine and whoopie pies and whatever else warms you from the inside out
Sink into a battered old sofa, tuck your feet under your legs, a woodsmokey quilt around your shoulders, fingers wrapped around a hot mug, and be with us.
One of us, only half-joking, said this will be a place where us medusas can take off our hats, none minding the sight of all the snakes. Because not only can we bear the sight of each other—we crave it.
Babylost mothers and fathers, this place is yours.
Unspoken Grief: "Break your Silence- Share your Story- Write for Us." Is there anything more powerful than being invited to break your silence, to speak the words that haunt you, which you feel no one could understand? This is what we celebrate about our support groups: the opportunity to be invited to share one's truth. Here you can read words of others doing the same.
Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope: "Putting a Face on Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss." There are so many of us, aren't there? People repeatedly share of others "coming out of the woodwork" when they experience loss. This site seeks to pull us all out of our shells, to give us an opportunity to be present with who we are and what we've experienced.
Pregnancy After Loss Support: This site offers an amazing wealth of opportunity for those trying to conceive; women who are pregnant after a loss; or even those just wanting to dip a toe into the waters of thinking about another baby someday. Filled with fantastic articles, resources and links, this website is not to be missed, even if you feel light years away from being ready to actually try again.
Still Mothers: Living Childless after Loss: This site is about "embracing your motherhood, working towards healing, self care, and finding peace." Once you have given birth, whether your child lives or dies, you are a mother. With many resources for mothers without living children, there are also subcategories such as "Grieving your Youngest" which speaks to mothers who do have living children, but don't go on to have another living child after their loss.
Grieving Dads: We haven't forgotten you, Dads. While there is a lot online written by women, there is also more than you might think offered by Dads. This site is a great place to start, and you'll also find lots on Glow in the Woods.
Mommy Interrupted: This is an advocacy community committed to supporting familiies who face challenges in the perinatal period, included but not limited to infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss, and postpartum concerns, among others. Founder Nicole has been a guest parent panelist at an Empty Arms Boston training. We're big fans!
Grieve Out Loud: This powerful pen-pal project connects grieving parents around the world.
These are some larger Pregnancy and Infant Loss organizations that contain chat rooms, resources, and catalogs for the bereaved.
SHARE: support, information, and education
MISS Foundation: online resources and support forums
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day: about the day of remembrance on October 15 every year