Loss Groups

We are nearing the end of my questions, and I will compile the situations I will try to weave into the narrative shortly. Writing begins in seven days!

The pregnancy loss group itself needs structure. Those of you who go to them–how was yours run? Do you have monthly programs with speakers? Do people just talk about their experiences? How long do people tend to stay in it before they move on? Are pregnant people still coming? Do they stay even after they’ve had their next baby?

Once we see the gamut of real life experiences, we’ll figure out how this one will go. I think it will need to meet more than once a month, but I’m not sure yet.

I’m getting excited!

3 thoughts on “Loss Groups

  1. I went to one only once, it was a “dealing with the holidays” meeting before Christmas at our church. Each woman spoke about their story, then we discussed how we can deal…like opting out of parties or going to parties that have no kids. Mostly, we initiated conversation, and that was it. Each woman who went to that meeting has now gone on to have a baby. Our person in charge of reaching out to those who’ve had miscarriages at our church told me she’s tried again and again to get people together, and they never call or come. She does give everyone a bible study book (I have it somewhere…Threads…Pieces of Joy, what is the title?). Anyway, I found more support in that book and online than in person. Sorry, I know this isn’t very helpful. The way the bible study is put together if done with a group is weekly, I think. It meets for probably two or three months based on what needs to be done. I could imagine women going for up to 6 months after, maybe spouses or partners come too (even to a special “Dad’s night”).

  2. The group I went to was run by the hospital, but it was open to anyone not just patients of that hospital. A minister helped run the group along with the nurse in charge. About half of the husbands came to every meeting and some brought their mothers/sisters/friends. There were usually 15-25 people at each meeting, which is held onthe first Thursday of the month. The December meeting draws about 100 people because it’s a special candlelight Holiday rememberance ceremony that draws back people who no longer attend the monthly meetings. A postcard is sent to the regular attendees as a reminder and to announce what that month’s topic would be. Topics range from dealing with holidays to subsequent pregnancy to expressions of grief. (There is also a separate group for subsequent pregnancies but I haven’t attended yet.)

    The format was very simple, fairly loose, and had a couple strict rules. You are not allowed to mention a doctor, healthcare professional or hospital by name, particularly if you are talking about a bad experience. If you need to leave to go to the bathroom, you are asked to signal either the nurse or the minister to let them know. Otherwise one of them will follow you to make sure you are OK. There had been cases in the past where people became too overcome to stay and they want to make sure you are OK to drive home. They also ask that you not be critical of other’s personal decisions, such as birth control or d&c vs. natural m/c. We were also asked not to discuss anything that was said outside of the group, as it was all very personal. We could share with spouses who weren’t present, but no one else.

    The group usually starts with a nondenominational prayer or inspirational reading. Then we go around the room and introduce ourselves and our situations. You are not obligated to participate, but most do however briefly. Then we move on to the monthly topic. Sometimes the talk stays with that topic. But more often than not the talk morphs into a new topic, based on a comment someone makes. You can tell who’s been coming for a while as they usually talk longer and shed a bit fewer tears. Most of the parents have suffered a 2nd trimester loss, only a couple had “only” had m/c, and one couple lost their 4 month old to SIDS. It was an interesting dynamic. I never said anything aloud to the group, but I often felt like I didn’t belong because there was always so much talk about their baby’s names, funeral services and such, things I never got to have. But one time the couple who’d lost their baby to SIDS commented that they felt like they didn’t belong because they’d actually had 4 months with their daughter.

    It hit me hard when the first couple announced that they were pregnant. It just happened to be the SIDS couple, who I also saw a couple times a month outside of the group at basketball games. I felt so guilty about my jealousy, but I also acknowledged (to myself, not to the group) that my jealousy had less to do with them than it did with my own inferility. The month I started seeing an RE was also the month that 3 pregnant ladies showed up to the group. I admitted to the group that my grief was now more from my infertility than it was from my losses. That was a real eye-opener for me, and a big step forward I think. I haven’t been back to the group since.

  3. I looked for a support group, but I was never successful. I’ve been toying around with starting one, but I’m still working on the courage. I think meeting twice/month would be better than once. I also thought that the best type of support for a group like this (not professional counseling) would be one were everyone is open to share their feelings/experiences, give comfort and encouragement, and share advice on how to handle grieving, rude people or people who mean well etc.

    I honestly never thought about the fact that women would eventually get pg and move on until Deanna mentioned that about one of the characters. I guess because it hasn’t happened to me, it never crossed my mind. Now Kristin mentioned it, and this is something I really have to think about.

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