It might seem strange doing an overview of the previous year in April, but it finally feels like spring here in South Carolina, and a time for new beginnings. So in that vein, here is a look back at 2013 and what we are expecting and praying for in the next year.
The most significant event of 2013 was probably the beginning of the Mommy to Mommy Outreach (M2M) by Naomi's Circle members Sarah Hackett and Rachel Raper. Since M2M launched, several hundred Brie Bags and Embracing Evan bears have been distributed to local hospitals to be given to newly bereaved parents. Not long after it began, M2M was featured as a news item on WISTV and on a local radio show associated with the station. Media coverage of Naomi's Circle expanded again in the fall when the ministry and its founders, Eric and Kristi Bothur, were featured in the magazine Reach Out Columbia.
As Mommy to Mommy Outreach has gotten underway, we have found many eager to partner with us. A craft day in September brought out nearly a dozen volunteers ready to cut fabric, sew bags and diapers, and make memorial keychains. Naomi's Circle was also adopted as an outreach project by the Northeast Military MOPS chapter that meets at Northeast United Methodist Church in Columbia, SC.
Our support group that meets in NE Columbia has grown this year, as has our online presence, both through our website and on Facebook. June saw our second annual family celebration as we gathered for a meal and to release sky lanterns in memory of our babies in Heaven. In August, we were grateful to Olive Garden on two Notch Road for providing a special lasagna meal so we could meet as couples and talk about some ways that loss impacts a marriage. The Fall season brought about our first weekly Bible study as we worked through the book Hope for Today, Promises for Tomorrow by Teske Drake, followed in January 2014 by a study of the book Hannah's Hope by Jennifer Saake. We also began our Wrap Your Rainbow outreach to local moms of "rainbow babies" (born after a loss), and we published the booklet "How Can I Help?" to share with the nursing students (most from Midlands Technical College) who observe at our support group meetings every other month.
What does 2014 hold for Naomi's Circle? Hopefully, and prayerfully, more of the same - reaching out to parents who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss through our website, support group, Mommy to Mommy Outreach, and additional weekly Bible studies as there is local interest. We want to publicize our website more by sharing our brochure with local OB offices, hospitals, counseling centers, and churches. We would like to print additional copies of our booklet How Can I Help? Suggestions for health professionals from moms who have traveled the road of pregnancy loss or infant death and distribute it to local obstetrician offices. We would also like to expand the reach of our ministry by going beyond the Midlands area and beginning to include resources in other parts of South Carolina.
Can you help?
There are many ways we need help.
The theme for Lexington Medical Center's memorial service on Sunday, October 23, 2011, was "A Time to Remember". At the beginning of the service, parents were invited to come forward, choose a flower from a selection laid out on a table, and add it to a vase in memory of the baby or babies they had lost - a visual reminder that they are not alone in their grief. Several personal stories followed, and then a song called "A Cradle of Wings", a CD of which was given to each parent there. The service concluded with a ceremony by a fountain outside where parents were given glass beads to represent their tears. They were encouraged to toss one "tear" in the fountain where the sunlight would transform their "tears" into sparkles of beauty.
Thank you, Lexington Medical Center, for valuing the children who went before us, and for reaching out to their parents and loved ones left behind!
There will be a memorial service to honor and remember babies lost at any stage of pregnancy or early infancy this Sunday afternoon (10/23/11). It is open to the community and will be held in the auditorium at Lexington Medical Park (2728 Sunset Blvd) at 4:00 p.m. Sponsored by the Pastoral Care Office at Lexington Medical Center. For more information, and to RSVP, contact the Pastoral Care Office at 791-2033 or e-mail Donna Peele at email@example.com. Please RSVP if you are going to come to ensure enough refreshments and other supplies are provided for the ceremony.
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