Baby Loss Support
Finding a place where you can speak freely about your loss, where you can be heard and understood, is invaluable. This place might be in a support group, among sympathetic friends and family members, or in the presence of a counselor or spiritual leader. Online websites and blogs can be a reassuring way to discover you not alone in your feelings and grief. These are websites and resources you may find helpful. These listings are geared towards Central Florida, yet with the exception of the local support groups and Katherine's Law, there are national chapters or they are online resources. Please click the images to connect with the resource.
Birth Ease Bereavement Support
Birth & Bereavement Doula Services
As a Stillbirthday Birth & Bereavement Doula (SBD), Rev. Michelle Smith, provides support prior to, during and after birth in any trimester. The average time an SBD doula might spend with a family at birth is approximately 8-10 hours. The SBD doula can also offer postpartum support in at least one to several postpartum visits, SBD doulas are qualified to provide support in situations of fatal diagnosis, carrying to term, and NICU care.
the physiological process of childbirth
how childbirth is different and similar in trimesters
the importance of birth order and how it is impacted by loss
how to support a mother in labor in any trimester and in any outcome
how to help a mother build a birth plan, particularly in an expected live birth outcome or carrying to term
how to provide immediate support when establishing a relationship prior to the birth isn’t possible (such as unexpected pregnancy loss)
how to preserve the fleeting moments the family has with their miscarried or stillborn baby
how to incorporate personal wishes, extended family and siblings in the birth experience
As a Stillbirthday Chaplain, Rev. Michelle can provide uninterrupted support to families prior to birth, during the birth, the immediate postpartum, and through the farewell planning and celebration. Funeral costs can be enormous. Hiring an SBD Chaplain can save a family thousands of dollars, while equipping the family with the best tools and support for their birth, bereavement, and most personal and authentic farewell experiences.
SBD Chaplains can speak at pregnancy and infant loss funerals or in other ways may have the humbling honor to speak on behalf of babies and bereaved families.
SBD Chaplains provide immediate support to families enduring the many complex and often misunderstood dynamics of emotional responses, in out-of-hospital birth. SBD Chaplains are able to help parents to process any feelings they may have, including blame, guilt, denial or shame, in a safe environment. This allows these feelings to be diffused and processed in a healthy, non-judgemental way.
SBD Chaplains provide immediate emotional and spiritual support to first responders, midwives, and others involved in any out-of-hospital birth emergency, and to provide immediate spiritual, emotional and physical support to families.
By providing home or “green” funeral service options, SBD Chaplains allow the families to navigate their grief journey as uninterrupted and as intentionally and as authentically as possible.
Grief Support and Meditation
Losing a child is one of the most difficult types of grief to bear. It feels as if it defies the laws of nature, and it destroys our hopes and dreams. The necessary grieving for many is a lonely and isolating experience. Having someone with whom you can speak freely about your loss and to be heard and validated is invaluable. Having a safe place to honor and express these emotions and then releasing the heaviness around them creates a space to transform our grief. I am not certain that we can heal our grief; for that in itself implies that there is something wrong that needs to be fixed. Grief is a heaIthy and natural response to a loss. Our society wants to fix grieving. A grieving person is often referred to as: falling apart, breaking down, going to pieces, etc. As a society, we want to repair it, to fix them. Most people expect someone to move past a loss or a death with 48 hours - 2 weeks of the funeral. As you are aware, this is a completely unfair and unrealistic expectation, especially when the loss involves that of a child.
This expectation to move on, to overcome our loss, to get back to normal, to no longer talk about our miscarriage or stillbirth only amplifies our grief. Repressing these intense, raw emotions then create internal conflict, confusion, and painful inertia. Having someone to discuss and process these feelings with is invaluable. Guided meditation and hypnosis session are also available. These modalities are a powerful way to acknowledge and honor our grief, release the heaviness of the swirling emotions, and transform it. This helps us to define and begin the process of creating our new normal. There are many different guided meditations available, yet there are very few for grief, especially for pregnancy and infant loss. Meditation elicits the relaxation response, which is a physical state of deep rest that occurs when a person is profoundly relaxed. This state counteracts the body’s physical and emotional response to stress, allowing it to return to a calm relaxed state. When a person elicits the relaxation response, there is a measurable decrease in heart rate, blood pressure, breathing rate, muscle tension, and stress hormone levels. The relaxation response also causes normal waking brain-wave patterns to shift to predominantly slower patterns and pave the way or the hormonal and immune systems to return to normal. With daily practice, meditation can even lower inflammation in the body. Rev. Michelle has created guided meditations specific to pregnancy and infant loss. She is available for in person sessions in Orlando, Florida or by Skype.
Support for Pregnancies After A Loss
When someone losses a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death or infant loss, if and when they are ready to become pregnant again, the emotions can be overwhelming:
“Will I lose my baby again?”
“Can I even become pregnant again?”
“I am afraid to bond with my baby during my pregnancy because I don't want to feel that horrible pain again if I lose my child.”
The excitement normally surrounding the decision to become pregnant is clouded by the fear of loss. Over the years of working with families I have found that fear can and does impact birth and pregnancy. The heaviness of fear and loss affects a parent’s psyche. This fearfulness seems to be especially intensified when someone experiences recurrent losses, genetic abortions, IVF failure & ART pregnancy loss, or with combined losses such as infertility & pregnancy loss. Stress effects our fertility be causing our bodies produce cortisol which can inhibit the implantation of a fertilized ovum, delay ovulation, and reduce the number and motility of sperm. The Journal of the American Medical Women’s Association reported in 1999 that 42% of women were able to conceive within six months of being taught mind/body relaxation techniques. Additionally, these women were able to effectively decrease their levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. Similar studies support these findings. Acknowledging and working through these natural feelings before the birth or ideally before conceiving makes a huge difference.
Releasing fear and pain regarding the loss before or during the pregnancy frees the mother to be more present during the pregnancy, the birth, and for her baby she is carrying. One of the couples that I worked with lost one of their twins during their pregnancy. As their childbirth educator during our private class sessions, we were able to discuss their grief of their loss, and take the much needed time to honor their lost baby. Well meaning friends and family were telling them to just focus their pregnancy. We created the space for them to acknowledge their grief, release fears, thank their baby for the time they had had together, and send love to their baby continuing to grow inside of her.
Another of my couples lost their little girl at 20 weeks of pregnancy. In our classes to together we devoted time to acknowledging the natural fears she was experiencing as the birth of her son grew near. We released the heaviness of these understandable, normal feelings, allowing her to feel less anxious and fearful.
Birth doula support for subsequent pregnancies can also be an extremely validating, healing, meaningful, and joyful experience for the family.
to pregnancy and infant loss.
Healing Hearts—Baby Loss Comfort
is a space for women to find resources, honor their grief and express their loss, as well as a place to feel comfortable looking for real, physical comfort, herbal remedies, and spiritual nurturing. It is also place for those looking to support someone that has lost a baby. It can be so difficult to know what to say or do when a baby dies. Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort has excellent suggestions about what to do and say, and ideas to comfort and support grief and healing.
is an online resource focused on the behalf of all the mothers who feel lost and left behind in a community of families, because their only child or children have died.
is an extensive online resource that supports all aspects of pregnancy and infant loss. It provides families facing a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss information, birth plan examples, and contact information for birth & bereavement doulas.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
Provides the gift of remembrance photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby. This non-profit organization helps parents/family can locate a professional quality photographer in your area to provide beautiful portraits for families facing or going through the passing of a baby.
is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting and sharing hope with families who have a baby born prematurely or critically ill. Our national programs include: the gift of no-charge NICU & NICU graduate photography and online support.
Luna Sol Memories
Specializes in life casting keepsakes. Amanda Jeanvilma is a mother, doula, and birth worker. Therefore she is sensitive to the complexities that accompany baby and child loss. She offers a one on one service for those looking to capture a moment on a loved one that is looking to pass or has passed. Please call for a dedicated quote.
Angel Gowns Florida
was created to make soft, sweet, and very special clothes often made from donated gowns for newborns who pass away in the hospital. These gowns can be worn for family visitation, photographs, or burial.
Perinatal Hospice & Palliative Care
is a resource for parents whose baby has a prenatal diagnosis that indicates their baby likely will die before or after birth; and they are considering continuing their pregnancy and embracing whatever time they may be able to have with their baby, even if that time is only before birth, while their baby is cradled safely inside of mom. This site provides links for perinatal hospice & palliative care programs and other resources. You are not alone. Parents who have traveled this path before you have found that it can be a beautiful, profoundly meaningful, and healing journey.
The TEARS Foundation
is a local non-profit organization that will assist bereaved parents with the financial expenses they face in making final arrangements for their baby. It offers free support groups for bereaved families who have experienced the death of their baby. 386-490-2234
The Finley Project
Their mission is to take care of grieving moms in the minutes, hours, and days after infant loss. It a holistic program immediately following the loss of a child by supporting the mom with funeral planning, meal gift cards, professional house cleaning, massage therapy, a Mommy support group, and one-on-one Trauma counseling by a LMHC. The Finley Project exists in order for moms to know there is someone supporting them in the gap between the hospital and the home.
A stillbirth often occurs around the eighth or ninth month of pregnancy; and parents have usually completed their baby’s room, bought baby clothes, and chosen a name. They have bonded with their baby, and have tragically lost their child. Stillbirth parents are typically shocked to discover that after giving birth to their child, they are only issued a death certificate. This can feel like one more person/entity that does not honor the life of their child, no matter how short. In 2006, Florida’s governor signed into law legislation that allows for the creation and issuance of a Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth. This law, section 382.0085, Florida Statutes, is known as Katherine's Law.
The HEAL Group—Orlando, FL
“Helping Endure InfAnt Loss” is support group of Florida Hospital for parents who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death. HEAL is a powerful seven week series that provides comfort and information alike. 407-303-5715
Arnold Palmer Hospital—
Perinatal / Neonatal Bereavement Support Group
is an open support support group for parents who have experienced a perinatal loss (i.e., miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, stillbirth, and newborn deaths.) It is facilitated by clinical social workers at Arnold Palmer Hospital on the second Tuesday of each month at 6 pm. For registration and further information please contact:
Carly Marie Project Heal
Project Heal is Carly Marie’s place of healing and transformation, growth and learning. It is filled with her beautiful photographs and stories. Project Heal is not just about healing from this terribly dark experience of infant loss. It is about sitting with your grief, exploring it, and growing with it. It is about returning to life and living it wholeheartedly. Not just for yourself, but for your child, too. Carly Marie creates beautiful artwork and photographs in honor of deceased loved ones. She is the inspiration behind International Bereaved Mother’s & Father’s Day, The Day of Hope—August 19. and Capture Your Grief in October for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.
is an organization based in Tampa, Florida dedicated to providing moral support and encouragement to persons that have experienced a loss during and after pregnancy. We are parents who have experienced such a loss and give of ourselves to help others, our group extends its support to those individuals who have had early miscarriage, full term stillbirth, and infant losses. (813) 631-9519
Peer-led Support Groups are informal opportunities for women and men experiencing infertility to connect with one another, to discuss their situations and to receive support from others who have had similar experiences or who are struggling with similar issues. Group moderators are volunteers and are not mental health professionals. Attendance is free. Please contact the group host before attending your first meeting. In central Florida:
The Angel of Hope
of Central Florida is a grass roots mission taken on by a dedicated group of individuals that see a need to have our children’s lives remembered, and to promote healing for anyone been touched by the death of a child. We are health care professionals, moms and dads, and members of the community who have experienced and understand the struggle of losing a child. We have come together to erect a statue, The Christmas Box Angel of Hope, in the Central Florida area. The Angel of Hope statue will represent all children who have died. Central Florida’s Angel of Hope is located in Sunshine Park in Altamonte Spring and provides a peaceful environment for remembering, grieving, hope and healing. There is an annual Forever in Our Hearts Candlelight Ceremony on the National Day of Rememberance for Pregnancy & Infant Loss on October 15th at 7pm. Please RSVP to the website if you plan to attend.
Pregnancy & Infant Loss Month
In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“When a Child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are a widow or a widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost their children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.” October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day.
The Compassionate Friends
their mission is: When a child dies, at any age, the family suffers intense pain and may feel hopeless and isolated. The Compassionate Friends provides highly personal comfort, hope, and support to every family experiencing the death of a son or a daughter, a brother or a sister, or a grandchild, and helps others better assist the grieving family.
New Hope for Kids
is a Grief Support Program provides a safe and supportive environment where children grieving the death of a loved one can share their experience with others facing the same feelings of loss. 407-331-3059