When a pregnancy ends with miscarriage or stillbirth or when new babies don’t reach their first birthday we say “this shouldn’t happen” and yet it does, more often than people realize.
Parents are told to get past it and go on with their lives.
After the loss of one of her own children, Kathleen Massmann of Healing Moments Counseling in Monticello knew that parents needed time and compassion to deal with their loss, and she started a Healing Moments support group for them. Her co-facilitator, Ashley Gutzwiller, also lost a baby and together they are creating a safe place for parents to come “where they don’t feel so alone and they can talk about their child, their grief and not worry about how the rest of the world might perceive them and their loss.”
Massmann says “a group gives people a sense of community that is really difficult to find in the infant and pregnancy loss world.” It gives the members opportunity to share experiences and ask questions about what others with similar losses have found helpful.
Massmann understands that “infant & pregnancy loss can be lonely, and often times miscarriage is dismissed as a loss, due to the newness of the pregnancy. Parents haven’t had a chance to grieve and to have that grief heard.
In the group everyone’s grief is honored and respected. There is no question, pregnancy and infant loss are difficult subjects to talk about. Talking about death is hard enough, let alone the death of a baby.
However, when we talk about miscarriage, stillbirth and infant loss, we give voice to the loss and acknowledge the grief of parents.”
Massman expects that membership in the group will change as some people move forward and others join the group. There may be a group formed for grandparents who want to know how to support their children.
The support group meets once a month and is open to both men and women; they don’t have to come as a couple. Each meeting has a topic of interest to the members such as how to answer the question of how many children they have or how to remember the missing child. They also plan memorial events which can include siblings.
The group started in May and is still welcoming new members. If it becomes too large, another group will be formed. They meet the third Wednesday of each month from 6:30 to about 8 p.m. at 9766 Fallon Ave NE, Suite 101 in Monticello. The group is free of charge as are the materials available for the participants.
The group is being co-supported by Healing Moments Counseling and CentraCare Health – Monticello through a Wright County United Way Grant.
For information call 763-732-3351 or email [email protected]
Written by Peg Craig, a contributing writer to ECM Publishing.