By Melissa Johnson
Miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, abortion, and infertility are common place tragedies. The grief is often misunderstood, undervalued, and unsupported.
October 15th is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It was also the night we planned our Made Known event. An evening for those who have suffered the loss of a baby. It was a safe place for families to connect to a community of grieving parents and to know they are not alone. I had the honour of helping organize this event along with Bree Young and Stefanie Iverson. Being a part of organizing this event meant a lot to me as my husband and I miscarried last August. My desire was to bring hope and understanding to those who attended. My husband Luke and I, along with Tianna & Luke Riemer, spoke about our individual losses to the whole group. I so appreciated having the men share the ways they supported us and how they processed it. It was good for the other dads there to hear from other men who have been where they are.
During the evening we heard from Stefanie Iverson, who is a Registered Clinical Counsellor. She offered her advice and insight into the grieving process. It was important to hear that there is no normal in how we grieve and that each person needs to process it in their own way and timeframe.
During the evening, space was made for each couple or individual to share their stories too. Those that attended really felt supported and understood because they knew that they were among friends who had gone through it too. Sharing our stories is so important, as it plays a significant role in the healing process.
One meaningful thing we did that evening was taking part in a tangible way to memorialize the lives of the children we have lost. We created a piece representing our brokenness and the rebuilding that happens during the healing process. We smashed clay pots and china, glued them back together, and some even wrote words that depicted how they felt. I’m sure the activity and memorial will be a source of healing for years to come.
The purpose for doing this Made Known event was to offer support and hope to those in our community dealing with loss. It was also to offer resources and further counselling for those who need the extra support moving forward. Like I said before, there is no normal for how each person grieves and processes their loss and there is no timeframe for healing.
We plan to do another event in the near future, but in the meantime, feel free to connect with the church for support. If you would like to be a part of planning the next Made Known event, please contact Bree Young.
Resources you may find useful: