Naomi's Circle members Rachel Raper and Sarah Hackett were featured recently on WIS-TV news. They shared about the Mommy to Mommy Outreach that they have begun and invited others to take part.
Tonight (Sunday, May 26), Sarah Hackett and Naomi's Circle founder Kristi Bothur will be interviewed for Brandon Wilson's radio show on 103.1 FM (KISS FM). Tune in at 6:00 p.m. to hear them share about this outreach and about Naomi's Circle in general.
We praise God for these opportunities to spread the word in Columbia, SC, that bereaved parents are not alone. We welcome the chance to share our story and these resources with others. If you would like us to share our ministry with your church or civic organization, or with a local media outlet, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (803) 728-1162.
Naomi's Circle has been in existence for three years now, but only for the last two years have we had our own support group, meeting at Spring Valley Baptist Church the second Thursday of every month. The group began as a Pregnancy After Loss support group with three members. After all three ladies had delivered healthy babies, other women began coming. Each woman's history of loss was different, but all had children on Earth as well as children in Heaven, and so the name of the group was changed to P/PALS - Pregnancy and Parenting After Loss.
Over time, a spirit of outreach to other bereaved parents has grown in the group, and a specific ministry has developed, spearheaded by members Sarah Hackett and Rachel Raper.
Sarah and Naomi's Circle founder Kristi Bothur met in the Memories support group at Lexington Medical Center early in 2011, shortly after Sarah's daughter Brie had been stillborn. Sarah became one of the original members of the Naomi's Circle PAL group when she became pregnant later that year, and she gave birth to a healthy daughter early in 2012. "Ever since my daughter Brie passed away, it has been heavy on my heart to reach out to other ladies going through the loss of a pregnancy," Sarah shares. This spring, she decided to begin making "Brie Bags", drawstring flannel bags filled with a set of flannel diapers from as little as 19 weeks to full term, a matching flannel hat, information about other resources, and an encouraging book about the loss of a baby. The ministry is called Mommy to Mommy Outreach.
Sarah shared her idea with the Naomi's Circle members, and Rachel immediately offered to be a part of it. Rachel joined Naomi's Circle in 2012 after the death of her second child, her son Evan Michael, late in her third trimester. "Leaving the hospital only twelve hours after Evan's stillbirth left an unexplainable sense of shock, emptiness, and bewilderment," says Rachel. "My arms and my womb were empty and my heart was broken." Rachel developed the idea of "Embracing Evan" teddy bears that could be included in the Brie Bags. Each bear includes the Scripture verse 2 Corinthians 1:3-4. "I pray that each woman who receives a bear will be comforted in her initial moments of pain in such a simple way."
Mommy to Mommy Outreach has already donated bags to Lexington Medical Center in West Columbia, South Carolina. Some bags have also been mailed to parents they have learned of through word of mouth, although the focus for now is going to remain on Columbia-area hospitals. Would you like to help? Assistance is needed in many ways - donating flannel to make the bags, diapers, and hats; people to sew these items; and money to cover the cost of materials, books, and bears.
If you would like to be a part of this, please contact Naomi's Circle at email@example.com for patterns or to know how to donate material. You may also contact Mommy to Mommy Outreach directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or see the blog at www.mommytomommyoutreach.blogspot.com. Tax-deductible financial donations may be made online at Spring Valley Baptist Church (choose "Designated" and indicate that it is for "Naomi's Circle-Mommy to Mommy Outreach"), or via mail (Spring Valley Baptist Church, 91 Polo Road, Columbia, SC, 29223).
When you have experienced pregnancy loss, whether or not you have children on Earth as well, Mother's Day can be hard - especially feeling like your children in Heaven are overlooked. We want to acknowledge your children here - all of them. Feel free to share below about the children who made you a mother, both those on Earth and those in Heaven. And may God fill your heart with peace this Lord's Day.
For most people, Mother's Day means breakfast in bed, long-distance phone calls, sending cards and flowers, and going out for a meal. But for many, many women, Mother's Day is only a reminder of what they lack. For weeks leading up to Mother's Day, pregnancy loss and infertility message boards fill up with thoughts of how to survive Mother's Day, why it's so hard, and a collective wish that the holiday would just hurry up and get here so we wouldn't have to think about it for another year.
One big topic of discussion is whether or not to go to church that day. While some churches don't make much of Mother's Day, others make so much of it that those without living children feel not only excluded, but lesser than, and choose to stay home rather than put their heart through such a painful ordeal. If you are in ministry, would you consider these four ways to make Mother's Day less painful this year for those in your congregation that may find it to be so?
Recognize that Mother's Day is hard. It's not only hard for women dealing with infertility or pregnancy loss, but also for those who have lost their own mothers, or who have a strained relationship with them or with their children. Say something about this both from the pulpit and during the week prior to Mother's Day, whether through e-mail or the church Facebook page. Recognition goes a long, long way.
Don't make Mother's Day about a competition. Giving special prizes to the oldest mom, the youngest mom, the one with the most children, the one with the newest baby - it seems like just fun and games, but it makes the quest for motherhood feel like a contest that some women just can win. Motherhood is a privilege and a gift, not a reward. In fact, the founder of Mother's Day, Anna Jarvis, was single with no children, and her mother had only four of her eleven children reach adulthood.
Make Mother's Day a celebration of all women. Don't only focus on those who are mothers through birth or adoption, but those who "mother" others through children's ministry or through mentoring others. Celebrate the life-generating side of the women in your church who express themselves in many creative ways - decorating, cooking, gardening, writing, leading in the business world, teaching. Being a godly woman is about so much more than just being a mom.
Speak with those you know for whom this day might be hard. If they come to church, take a moment to say, "I know this day may be hard for you, and I'm praying for you." Take time this week to e-mail them with the same message. If they don't come on Sunday, don't judge. If they do come, don't assume they are not still hurting. Lift them up in prayer.
Mother's Day has the potential to be a blessing to all women in your church, whether or not they are seen as mothers by the world.
What will your church do to make this happen? Please comment below!
Naomi's Circle News
Here you will find articles intended to help you in your journey. Some will be reviews of websites and books. Some will be devotionals, some general articles, and some will be guest bloggers. Feel free to comment and let us know if there is something you would like to see addressed here.
Week 1: Devotional
Week 2: General article about loss
Week 3: Testimony/guest blogger
Week 4: Website/book Review