Each Friday, the another jennifer blog shares stories of those who incorporate philanthropy into their everyday lives – personally and professionally – in a creative and unique way. If you have a story you’d like to share, please contact Jennifer. You can view past posts from the series here.
I remember being in the hospital bed on that sunny morning in July 2005. I hadn’t been at the hospital for long. When G decided to arrive, he came fast. I wasn’t even admitted until after I delivered my baby boy. My first child.
It was early on a Saturday, and it didn’t take long for the maternity ward to became bustling with activity. I was lucky to get there before the crowd arrived. I enjoyed the quiet corner room with a view of the healing gardens outside.
While I was in pain, and probably a bit in shock from my first experience with childbirth, I couldn’t have been happier. Or more in love.
At some point during my hospital stay, I got a surprise (and welcomed) visit from the mom of a woman who attended our child birthing classes at the hospital. The classes were fun and really more of a support group for expecting first time parents. The mom had attended most of the classes with her daughter and was also a volunteer at the hospital. We bonded in those classes.
My visitor congratulated me and then told me that a woman from our class delivered her son stillborn a few weeks earlier. I felt the air sucked right out of me when she informed me of this fact. How could it be? She was just like me. She was doing everything right. She was healthy. How could she lose her baby?
I don’t know the details and I didn’t have her contact information to tell her how sorry I was. And, honestly, I’m not sure I would have known what to say if I did.
Sadly, parents lose children every day. I cannot fathom the pain a mother must feel when she loses a child. And it doesn’t matter how old the child is. From conception, that child becomes a part of you.
Back in October, my good friend Alexa Bigwarfe made her editing and publishing debut in Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother. It is a compilation of heartfelt, hope-filled stories to encourage bereaved parents that came about after Alexa’s friend lost her full-term baby. She wanted to impart her knowledge as a grieving mother and provide her friend with everything she needed to survive the terrible ordeal.
After reading the book, I realized that it is also a guide for those who have someone in their lives who has lost a child. Reading the stories painted a picture of the emotions that parents go through when they experience a loss, whether it was an early miscarriage or an older child. The feelings of isolation and sheer pain. Not knowing what to do next or when/if they would heal.
The contributing authors share their very honest, personal and different experiences with loss and grief. There are helpful tips throughout the book for those who are in the midst of dealing with a loss. There’s even advice on what to say (or not say) to a mother who has experienced a loss and several resources for grieving parents to utilize and find support. I particularly liked the stories from the men who were able to communicate how different the grieving process is for fathers.
Most importantly, there is a theme of hope beautifully weaved throughout the guide.
I share this book with you on a Philanthropy Friday because Alexa, being the advocate that she is, has also started Sunshine After the Storm, Inc. The nonprofit aims to raise funds in order to provide the book free of charge to hospitals and bereavement groups.
“It is our goal that, through Sunshine After the Storm, Inc.” no grieving mother should have to purchase this book on her own. We want to distribute the book to as many bereavement groups as possible, free of charge to them. If that is not possible, we will work with them to bring the price down to cost.” ~ Alexa Bigwarfe
Alexa is currently raising money for Sunshine After the Storm, Inc. through GoFundMe. It doesn’t take a lot of money to ensure at least one book is donated.
You can read more about Alexa’s story in a November 2012 Philanthropy Friday post called For Love of Kathryn. I also encourage you to read her blog, No Holding Back. You can purchase a copy of Sunshine After the Storm on Amazon.com in print or Kindle version.