SHARE Atlanta is...
With this website SHARE Atlanta parents hope to provide a place for bereaved men and women, and those who support them, to realize that they are not alone in their grief, and that there are many pathways toward healing the pain. We have learned that the grieving process is normal, and that it is important to allow time to grieve and heal.
While anyone who is seeking help around grief issues is welcomed at our site, our site and group focus on parents who have experienced a lost during pregnancy or up to a month or so after the birth of a baby(if the baby has remained most of the time in a hospital). Our wish is to provide a safe haven for a parent who has experienced an ectopic pregnancy or an early miscarriage to openly identify their loss and the feelings associated with loss and grief.
Sometimes, parents who suffer pregnancy or newborn loss deny their true feelings when other bereaved parents are quick to describe "real life" memories and experiences with children that have been at home. This is a natural reaction.
The newly bereaved are fragile and need reassurance that the pain and confusion that their loss is causing is real. A pregnancy or newborn loss involves many losses...our child, our past dreams, our future, and our identity, etc.
At SHARE Atlanta, we have different kinds of memories and experiences than someone who has experienced the loss of an older child, but the grief feelings and process are the same. In groups were there is a mixture of experiences, this added hurt can happen without the bearer of such information being aware of how the other parent receives it.
At times, even in a SHARE Atlanta group, we have to help the parent who has experienced a very early loss to feel comfortable with those who have had a newborn loss. Not because their pain is any less, but because much of society has dictated that "the degree of pain is equal to the length of time that a person lived and the number of memories that can be shared." Then, the parent who has had an early loss often feels guilty for any pain or for seeking comfort.
So, a group that focuses on these early losses provides the parent total freedom to express his/her true feelings of loss without being faced with stories that, even unintentionally, may cause mixed reactions.
This fact is very important and should be part of the decision in the forming of a safe place for grieving parents or in choosing a group to attend.
It is possible that parents who have experienced other kinds of loss may not need or want to discuss pregnancy or newborn loss...this can be very disconcerting for them.
Too many mixtures of experiences within one group, though it can work, could be overwhelming for some. SHARE Atlanta's group and similar groups for people who have experienced pregnancy and newborn loss can be beneficial for those parents who need this kind of support.
Our goal is one of support...by helping each other. The grieving process is common to all. In the local groups and programs the facilitator and other parents further along in the healing process provide hope and guidance for those who are newly bereaved. As parents become friends, mutual respect and trust flourishes based on common experiences and knowledge, and coping ideas and support are embraced.
All of these concepts can be applied to our website. Parents help each other through their stories and comments and friendships are formed around the world. There are many special topics throughout the site and coping and support are the focus. The site grows as the need is realized.
Our site and outreach can help people who have had many kinds of losses, but they focus on pregnancy and newborn loss.
Words of support from our visitors inspire us to continue our outreach.
We appreciate the notes of sharing and thanks since the site began in April 1997. We are reaching out to each other...in hopes of better understanding why we grieve and how we heal. Marcia McGinnis, 2/7/99 - revised 3/03
PS. In our Links/Support Groups, we have included many sites that deal with grief in "general." These sites deal with the many sides of grief; others focus, as we do, on pregnancy and newborn loss.
Take time to learn about the Grieving Process...
The reactions and feelings that loss causes are normal. Grief takes time, energy and patience to move t-h-r-o-u-g-h. Everyone experiences grief - and reactions vary, but the general "framework" is similar.
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