SHARE Atlanta - Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support

Share LogoSHARE Atlanta

Direct Links

A pdf SA Historical Timeline with Pictures of SA's members through the years!

May 2008 - Certificate of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth (CBRS) is LAW!!! SA's Erin Dickerson and Marcia McGinnis with many emails and phone calls from SA members and friends....make it happen!! How to receive a CBRS.

AMEND and SHARE Atlanta

SHARE Atlanta's Initial Meetings..

SHARE Atlanta's Women's Group

SHARE Atlanta's Subsequent Pregnancy Group and Baby/Family Reunions

SHARE Atlanta's Business Meetings and incorporation and tax exemption...

SHARE Atlanta's Inservices, written materials and media...

SHARE Atlanta's First brochure...1985

SHARE Atlanta's Remembering our special children...

SHARE Atlanta's Social gatherings of SHARE Atlanta parents...

AMEND and SHARE Atlanta had a common mission with the same ultimate goals...

SHARE Atlanta - More about our history, timeline, people and places...

AMEND and SHARE Atlanta - Early History 1981 through late 80s

Changing to Meet the Needs

Of the Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community

by Marcia McGinnis, January 2005

Marcia's note: AMEND and SHARE Atlanta are a testimony to the strength that people gain from reaching out to each other. Many of the people who helped these organizations grow were "newly" bereaved parents. (They were less than a year or two from their losses). It is in the supporting of each other and the activities that bring comfort to others as well as to ourselves that healing happens.

This is the mutual support between bereaved parents that Sister Jane Marie Lamb believed in when she started her SHARE organization in 1976. SHARE Atlanta supports this philosphy. Our foundation and the core of today's SHARE Atlanta program speaks to its positive inpact upon grieving parents. Grieving parents gain hope through outreach, and they do heal as they support one another.

The AMEND group from '81 to '84

The AMEND Grief Support Group, started by bereaved mom, Joan Dewar, and Ina Moore, in 1981 - was the forerunner for the SHARE Atlanta group. AMEND, which met at the Link Counseling Center in Sandy Springs, had one monthly group meeting, several phone people, and no other programs or activities. Actually, many of the newer parents contributed to the phone lines while still healing during the first year or so after their loss.

Atlanta's AMEND provided caring outreach from the volunteers and members that made the group viable. Those who attended the group were pulled together in a common bond of grief and love for their baby that died and the need to heal.

When Joan closed the doors of AMEND in 1984, a few members, Larry Connelly, Anne Thrift, Carol Mitchell, Jane Groseman, and Marcia McGinnis, were determined to continue some form of a pregnancy loss group in Atlanta.

SHARE Atlanta ~ A new name for a new group of similar qualities...

In his work as a chaplain at Piedmont Hospital, Larry Connelly had learned about the group started by Sister Jane Marie. Because we wanted to begin "anew," we decided to follow the SHARE lead. Also the "M" in AMEND, at that time, stood for mother, and we wanted a more inclusive name for our fathers. In 1984, S.H.A.R.E stood for a "Source of Help in Airing and Resolving Experiences." Thus, we began our new group with the kind of mutual support group model, that Sister Jane Marie Lamb envisioned in 1976.

Return to list of Options

Initial Meetings...

Larry and Marcia continued the group meetings at the Link. Anne, Carol and Marcia manned the phones and Jane worked on publicity. A new member who came from HAND in California, Lily Adams, Larry, and Anne wrote and printed the first SHARE Atlanta brochure in 1985.

By the end of 1985, our initial volunteer group had been depleted by Jane and Carol's need to attend to family issues, and Anne moved in late 1986 or so. Fortunately, though, many of our newest members were ready to begin outreach. So the group grew!

Stone Mountain and Piedmont Meeting..

In late 1985, we branched out with a group in Stone Mountain co-led with Larry and Robert and Roberta Kohen (our very first SHARE Atlanta members). Marcia still led the Link group. Then in 1986, SHARE Atlanta parents, Cathy Steele and Linda Anderson, began a SHARE Atlanta group at Piedmont hospital where Larry was a chaplain.

Two nurses, Mary Ellen Vollrath and Barbara Carr, who continued the group from Cathy and Linda in late 1986 became RTS trained in 1989. The group became a "RTS" group in the summer of 1991.

Return to list of Options

Women's Group

As the men and women's group was growing and changing, the women's group was begun in October of 1985 at Jean Shulman's home (led by Marcia McGinnis) then split into 4 groups. These four groups were: in Stone Mountain (Mary Rice and Roberta Kohn); Northlake (Jean Schulman); and Marietta (Linda Colemen). Because it was decided that the women needed a constant location and facilitator, it became "one" again in the summer of 1986 at Marcia's home. It still meets there each month.

Return to list of Options

Subsequent Pregnancy Group and Baby/Family Reunions

Our successful grief support meetings led to the need to support parents who chose a subsequent pregnancy. Our first Subsequent Pregnancy group was held in 1986 by Lily Adams and co-led by SHARE Atlanta mom, Nancy Schultz. The meetings were topic directed to keep a focus on the discussion. Husbands joined during the last meeting. (Just as we do today.) By 1987, Pam took the Subsequent Pregnancy group over, and it was held in Donna Bondi's home near Emory and Fernbank.

We celebrated these new pregnancies and then the new arrivals in our newsletter and in a "Baby Reunion." The first few were held in Marcia's home beginning in February 1986. The second one Pam Slayback decribes as a "true celebration" was in December 1987 with 17 families and new babies!! Kathleen Blum held many of our "Family Reunions" in their home over the years.

Return to list of Options

Business Meetings and incorporation and tax exemption...

SHARE Atlanta's, first business meeting was held at Piedmont Hospital, January 21, 1986, and Marcia McGinnis was elected president. The recorded members present included: Roberta and Tom Kohn, Diane Jordan, Pam Slayback (treasurer), Lily Adams, Jean Shulman, Jean Burditt, and Eileen Wischusen.

The business meetings became more structured with incorporation completed by Att. John Bender, a SHARE Atlanta dad, on April 14, 1987. Our by-laws had been worked on by Jean Burditt and Jean Shulman. Our first official board meeting, January 30, 1988 was small, but official positions were: Marcia McGinnis, pres.; Pam Slayback, treas.; Eve McIntosh, sec. Then, Pam Slayback worked for our tax-exemption status effective as of August 2, 1988.

All are invited to our business meetings...

SHARE Atlanta's meetings consist of the board who are volunteers working as coordinators for our various programs, and any volunteer who wishes to join us. Through the years, the SHARE Atlanta volunteers collective care and concern, for the bereaved parents included in the Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Community, has been demonstrated by their ongoing devotion to make SHARE Atlanta a supportive and effective group.

Return to list of Options

Inservices, written materials and media...

Inservice early as 1985

The need to spread the word about support was immediately realized by our members. Why? Because we had benefitted from the support given to us.

Informal inservices began in 1985. Often with visits by a member to "their" hospital. As our information packets (printed materials about pregnancy loss) and our brochure became availabe, they became an important part of our visits.

Our inservice efforts expanded as our members were included on panels with Parent-to-Parent and Premie Parents' members. These panels were at Northside, Piedmont, and Shallowford. Also, several informal talks to small nursing staff groups were presented.

Inservice and Media...1986

The first of 12 television outreach programs was in January 1987: Cable News Network (CNN): Health Week. Charlotte and Neal Faulkenberry, Jean and Bob Schulman, Tim and Sandy Spaeth, had been the panel for a Resolve Through Sharing Certification Course in November 1986. They discussed the importance of mementos, caring and having others say and do 'the right thing' after a loss. CNN was present.

CNN wanted to learn more about how couples dealt with grief so they returned to each couple's home and interviewed them. The program was aired three times and on a Saturday special on January 10, 1987. Thus, our first media presentation came from an inservice that our parents did for RTS. Through the years, shows included many of our members and their stories. Many were filmed in Marcia McGinnis' family room.

Focus on inservice and promotional programs..

Structured inservice and promotional programs were better developed by Karen Gipson beginning in 1994. Karen carried our program to new heights and reached many by getting information out on radio, television, flyers, and newspaper. She also strengthened our relationship with caregivers. Karen Major worked along side of Karen for many years. Inservice activites are key to making our outreach known to the community, and we knew this from the beginning.

Return to list of Options

First brochure...1985

For information about our group, our first SHARE Atlanta brochure was designed in September 1985 by Lily Adams, Larry Connelly, and Anne Thrift. This project plus a need to bank some of the donations by willing members, brought us to our first banking budget. Anne and Doug Thrift opened our account in Trust Company in September 1985. Our second printing of 3000 brochures for $85 was made in February 1986.

For more information, Kate Bissel in 1987 bound 15 of our books that held articles, and the background and mission of SHARE Atlanta, and Piedmont helped run them off. These contained some articles about pregnancy loss. There were not many books on the topic at this time so we were pulling together as many articles as we could to validate and support our issues. We used these in inservices and for groups.

Return to list of Options

Remembering our special children...

First Annual Candlelighting in December 85

Our first candlelighting was in December 1985 at Indian Creek Baptist Church in Stone Mountain by Tom and Roberta Kohn and other members of SHARE Atlanta. Annual candlelightings followed and were held in the McGinnis' home. The candlelightings in December were always a potluck dinner, a getting to know you activity, and then the lighting of our candles in memory of our babies. The Women's Candleligting in November grew out of the desire of our women to share time together in memory of our babies. These began in November 1986.

October Awareness with Walk to Remember..1989

On October 15, 1989, we held our first Memorial service, at Springdale Park, on Ponce De Leon. It was a "Walk to Remember" with the planting of an oak tree at the corner of Springdale and Ponce. The program was coordinated by Joanna Merwin, Diane Jordan, Melody Werner, and Esther Gutierrez. There was a small orchestra that played as we walked and placed pieces of paper with the names of our babies in the soil around the tree.

The walk was our first October Pregnancy and Infant Awareness event and cooresponded with the Walk to be held in Washington D.C. that year. Larry Connelly, Pam Slayback and Marcia McGinnis each spoke briefly. It was attended by about 100 members.

Return to list of Options

Social gatherings of SHARE Atlanta parents...

Social gatherings by our members happened because they felt safe with other group members. Together we knew what to say and what not to say...until we could heal. These gatherings gave us a happy place to be together.

Our first gathering was for a picnic at Linda and Larry Connelly's house October 85. Joan Dewar was honored with a necklace from SHARE Atlanta/AMEND members. Then, we had a Valentine's gathering in February 16, 1986, where SHARE Atlanta parents (Nafzigers, Spaeths, Rice, Kaplan, Drew, McIntosh, Slayback, McGinnis) shared time together and Joan joined us. These were the first of many social gatherings and led to the retreats we later had at Clare Weaver family's lake home.

Our parents still gather together in social settings and outreach efforts - for support and comfort. Sharing, and, yes, an easy laughter, helps dads and moms deal with their many confused feelings and fears. A very normal need during a very difficult and painful time. The peace that can be gathered from these times together carries parents through difficult months and lets them know that they are not alone.

Many of the relationships established during these times are lasting ones.

Return to list of Options

AMEND and SHARE Atlanta had a common mission with the same ultimate goals...

During the early 80s, being together in AMEND, gave to us bereaved parents what SHARE Atlanta has continued to hope to do through the years. Basically, those who had experienced the pain of pregnancy loss provided comfort and support to one another. Our healing efforts were focused on regaining our hope so we could make new subsequent choices.

We are not alone ... our pain in grief is normal

What we have come to realize is that a group such as ours keeps our losses on a personal level. The pain of loss and the subsequent grief is not necessarily a clinical situation. We learn that the grieving process is a normal part of dealing with loss. The process helps us heal. Parents support each other as they move through their grief (especially during the first year).

The group provides an understanding of how to deal with grief with ideas for coping. Parents are seeking the ultimate ability to make new choices - whatever that means for parents on their path. For most of us, our lasting and ever present desire is to come to a place where we can celebrate a new life as we bring a subsequent baby into our family.

Marcia McGinnis, 1/2005

Return to list of Options

Inspirational poems and writings

One of the other mediums that needs to be shared is the writings in the form of poems, inspirational articles, etc. that members have contributed through the years. These writings bring comfort both to the person who composes them and to those who read them...sometimes years later. Our website lends itself to an ongoing tribute to our babies and memories as it holds these kinds of writings forever. I hope that sometime, some of the many writings from SHARE Atlanta parents, before the website, can be retyped and brought together in a booklet.

SHARE Atlanta Information - More about our history, timeline, people and places...

Share Logocopyright(c)SHARE Atlanta '97-'12

Graphics on this Site are Copyright