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 firstname.lastname@example.org for patterns or to know how to donate material. You may also contact Mommy to Mommy Outreach directly at email@example.com 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).