While speaking with a parent who is new to our Rainbow Pregnancy Loss and Infant Death support group, I was reminded of a very early and very important tenet of our program. Rainbow has always been and will always be a peer support group that accepts individuals who have experienced pregnancy loss or infant death regardless of where they find themselves in the grieving process or where they find themselves in the very process of life itself. We welcome, without judgment, all parents regardless of race, economic status, creed, color, marital status, sexual orientation, political stance or age. The rules that govern the group include; respect for everyone’s grieving process. Grief is not pretty. It can be scary, alarming, incredibly sad, endless and always isolating. We can sometimes feel stuck in it, and we can also sometimes celebrate visible signs of healing. We all bring a history to the process. Telling our stories…as unique and individual as they are…honors all of our children.
Over time, I have seen considerable growth in the options available to grieving families. Some groups and programs are specific to political affiliation, religious preference, demographics or pregnancy gestational differences. Some programs charge fees for professional guidance and some are volunteer peer support programs. I have always believed that the more choices for acceptance and support available to families, the better. We are lucky to have numerous programs supporting families here in Billings, MT. We are lucky to have two hospitals that work hard to train staff to provide support to families in their Labor/Delivery, Mother/Newborn and NICU departments. But for those communities who do not have access, we are present on Facebook, through our website and most importantly, available through phone, email, text and Messenger.
While speaking with this new parent recently, I was also saddened to hear that her hospital experience was far from ideal – in fact, far from acceptable. I am reminded that regardless of how far we have come, some bereaved parents will feel forgotten and unsupported. I am reminded that those of us who are successfully navigating this grieving process (most days), can impact our communities and the support available to other bereaved parents, by speaking up and opening our hearts when the opportunity presents itself. Telling our stories can enlighten providers and help others find healing and hope. I am grateful when parents find their way to programs that accept them wherever they currently find themselves. And I am grateful for the core group of individuals who continue to help Rainbow grow through their example, input and support.
Each and every grieving family makes a difference when we come together to support one another. Every single grieving individual touches more lives than you will ever know.
For more information about Rainbow contact:
Molly Mills: 406-248-3487
Traci Reichenbach: 406-855-4439