Many today will light candles in memory of their babies in Heaven...but many will also do so not knowing how or why October 15th came to be the singular day in the month of October to remember them. The woman behind the day is Robyn Bear, who longed for one day when grieving parents could come together and be surrounded by love and support from family and friends. Her website, www.october15th.com, has valuable information about events associated with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and resources available to help in the healing. She also has a Facebook group where parents may offer support to one another. Thank you, Robyn, for envisioning this day!
Hannah's Prayer (www.hannah.org) is a ministry specifically for married Christian women struggling with fertility issues, including infertility, pregnancy loss, and infant death. Hannah's Prayer was begun by Jenny Saake, author of the book Hannah's Hope: Seeking God's Heart in the Midst of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Adoption Loss.
The heart of the ministry is the online forums, which include topics such as Primary Infertility, Secondary Infertility, Loss, Assisted Reproductive Technology, Adoption, Pregnancy, Male Factor Infertility, Complete as Two (for those who are no longer pursuing parenthood), Adoption Loss, Embryo Adoption, Life Outside Infertility (for those days you need a break from the heaviness of life!), and many more. The forums are led by volunteer moderators who help keep conversations on target and respectful and, most importantly, pray for the women who frequent them. The ministry is nondenominational and welcomes women from a wide variety of backgrounds and, while it is based in the United States, its members span the entire globe.
The Hannah's Prayer website states, "With all of our differences, we have at least these four things in common: we are married, we are Christians, we are women, and we are seeking God to aid us in surviving our fertility challenges." If you are looking for a supportive group of women on-line, women who "get" the grief and struggle you are dealing with, Hannah's Prayer is a great place to find one!
"To Write Their Names in the Sand" is a beautiful memorial website for parents who have lost children in pregnancy, infancy, or other times in childhood. Carly Marie Dudley and her husband had a son, Christian, who was stillborn. Some time later, she began a free service to others of writing, and photographing, the names of children in the sand of a beach not far from their home in Australia. My babies' names (Naomi and Kyria) are posted there if you would like to see an example. The way it works is she posts on her Facebook page that she is taking requests (usually for a brief time - about 24 hours) and then she closes requests while she write and photographs the new names.
This is a really wonderful service to other parents. That said, however, I want to caution my readers that it is not a Christian site, and I am a little dismayed to see that Carly is now posting weekly "angel card readings" as an encouragement to those who follow her sites. Angel card readings are NOT based on Scriptural truth, but are grounded instead in New Age teachings. I truly believe Carly's heart is in the right place, but her spiritual leanings at this time do not seem to be lined up with Biblical truth. So while I do recommend her site as a place for parents to submit names of their children to be written in the sand as a comforting memorial, I urge caution as you take in some of her other postings. Many of them are what I consider sound advice for parents who have lost babies (how to handle anniversaries, for example), but others (like the Angel Card readings) touch on spiritual leanings that do not line up with Scripture.
There are some wonderful websites out there to support parents who have babies in heaven. One of the top-notch ones that I know of is Hannah's Prayer (www.hannah.org). This is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing Christian support for women dealing with infertility challenges, including pregnancy loss and/or early infant death. They have some great information on their website, but the heart of their ministry is their forums, with members mostly from the U.S. and Canada, but also around the world. Here you will find encouragement, prayer support, and most of all, godly examples of women at all stages of their struggle with infertility and loss. I joined right after we lost Naomi, and have made some truly wonderful friendships. Not only that, reading their stories helped me believe that I could survive loss and still come out on the other side a whole woman with my faith intact. Our journeys are different, but God's power is the same. If you are looking for support beyond the "baby dust" that you get on other forums, check out Hannah's Prayer.
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