Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My Answers (My Beloved Support Group)

It was so nice to have some questions from my last post and because I tend to be quite wordy... (imagine that) I think that I may take a few days to ponder and respond in my 'Moments of Pause' type way. DeniFay from Making Our Troxclair Family asked me the first question about the support group that I have written about on here.

When I delivered my boys I was bombarded with information. It came at me so fast that I hardly had time to digest it. My head was spinning from becoming a mother for the first time and having to care for a little one, to becoming a mother for the first time and realizing that my baby would not be coming home with me. We were making decisions quite quickly- what to do with Andrew's body- the naming of our boys- and we didn't have a lot of time to think things though. When someone mentioned a 'support group', I shrugged it off thinking that a support group would be for people without any children and I had a beautiful one in my arms...

When I came home and reality sank in and the fog that surrounded me began to clear, I hit a wall. I read everything I could get my hands on about stillbirth and (specifically) cord accidents. I gave my doctor a 40 page report with highlighted portions. (as if she needed that) and I sought support from CLIMB (center for loss in multiple birth) and ELIMBO which was a support group on-line for people with a loss of a multiple. And that is when I remembered the mention of that support group and I dug through all of the mementos, papers and brochures that I was sent home with and found a card with a picture of a bear holding a broken heart. It said HUGS which stood for Healing and Understanding Grief Support and it said that they met the third Thursday of every month.

I could hardly wait for the meeting to come and when it did come I realized that this community of people, this 'secret society' was much bigger than I had ever imagined. Early on I saw how people could get stuck in their grief and I felt that though I was in so much pain it never got so dark for me that I couldn't get out of it. It was at that time I made a promise. A promise to my son, and to myself that each month I would go. I would go and speak his name and remember him. I would go and share the blessings of his life by making someone else's journey a little less lonely. I began attending meetings- all of them- and gave my contact information out to the hospital to share with others. While my story is unique in having had lost a twin, at the end of the day, I lost my child. I lost my individual baby. And I still miss him terribly.

My hospital has done a tremendous job with families who have lost a child. My experience (as horrific as it was) was so much more peaceful because of the nurses and my doctor. The staff at my hospital has been trained and I have spoken at two conferences for the medical community to give them a glimpse into the heart of a grieving mother.

As intimidating as a 'support group' can sound, HUGS is a very comforting environment (at least I've found it to be that) and there is always a nurse that is there as well. We take turns sharing who brought us to the meeting and talk about any hurdles we're facing and celebrate those we've conquered. It's a unique group and I have met some of my dearest and life-long friends at those meetings.

I learned recently that other hospitals in our state have heard about HUGS and are starting their support groups based off of HUGS. Perhaps one of the best things about our hospital is that when they have a good thing going, they don't keep it a secret- they share it.

If there is not a support group in your area (and there may be...) I would contact your hospital and ask if there is any interest in starting one. The people reading this blog know that perinatal loss happens far too often and I know that new people come through those doors far too often- and that there are those that can't muster the courage to come to a meeting- but they're hurting just the same. The support of families who have gone through this and shared their stories and experience is what has helped me get where I am. I believe that every life you come in contact with changes you. God has changed me through Andrew's life- and I will strive to change others (to let them know they'll be alright) through his life as well.

To read more about my thoughts on support groups, you can click on the label below, "The Secret Society of Angel Moms" (and I apologize for saying moms- as I know there are many -amazing- dads in the 'secret society' too...) and as for the picture above, that is my little Joey at about 7 months at the memory garden for babies at our hospital. That picture now hangs in the room where you will find me-
The third Thursday of every month.
At 7pm.
In Megan's room.
Changing others- as they change me.

Thanks for reading and being part of my on-line HUGS group!

9 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing honey! Beautiful post xxxooo

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  2. Love everything about the group and the ladies there. So thankful I found it and you, I would be a disaster without both!

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  3. Thank you for your answer!! I couldn't find one at all after my loss, then I talked to a lady who supposedly did them and she never contacted me back to let me know when they started up again. I'm in a new city now, and I'm going to see if there is one here!

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  4. laura, i may not be there physically anymore, but HUGS will always be a part of me and i realize after reading your words how much pride i carry for "our" program...i pray that it continues on forever...<3

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  5. So glad we both found our way to HUGS....what would my ife be without the group (and you?!?!).

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  6. So glad we both found our way to HUGS....what would my ife be without the group (and you?!?!).

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  7. laura, i may not be there physically anymore, but HUGS will always be a part of me and i realize after reading your words how much pride i carry for "our" program...i pray that it continues on forever...<3

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  8. Love everything about the group and the ladies there. So thankful I found it and you, I would be a disaster without both!

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  9. Thanks for sharing honey! Beautiful post xxxooo

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