SHARE Atlanta - Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support

Share LogoSHARE Atlanta

More about Marcia's "Walk" with SHARE (and how SHARE grew)

A Path called SHARE Atlanta

When Joan closed the doors of AMEND in 1984, a few members were determined to continue some form of a pregnancy loss group in Atlanta. We began with and have continued to create the kind of mutual support group model, that Sister Jane Marie Lamb envisioned in 1976. This was very similar to the AMEND group here in Atlanta.

One path I chose because of my losses....

This "small" group has grown through the years into our present "SHARE Atlanta" group. We have reached out across Atlanta and Georgia, and now, with our website, across the ocean to meet the needs of the bereaved parent and those that love them. We have grown as the needs of the community were heard and shared. It's exciting to understand that a group of bereaved parents can carry their baby's memory in the loving outreach that has happened in SHARE Atlanta.

At first...

I was a teacher (speech therapist, first and third grade teacher, and Sunday school director) because of my love for children. I had always maintained that I could never work with adults. Even though I dreaded working with adults members, I was determined to start the group. So, after much planning and informal meetings at the end of 1984; our first official meeting was the first Wednesday in January 1985. No one came!!

At the second meeting we, my co-leader, Larry Connelly, who was a chaplain and a bereaved parent, and I met with one very depressed newly bereaved father. It was very difficult because he was so depressed. Larry and I were extremely worried about him, and I wondered what I had gotten myself into.

Well, God works in mysterious ways...

After that meeting, our numbers grew rapidly. I came to love and respect the men and women that attended these meetings. I could see and feel how hard it was for them to join us. I could remember my own mixed feelings and fear as I had attended my first meetings. I remembered wanting help but feeling that losing a baby was an extremely personal issue. I was sure no one else could possibly understand the pain I felt. I had benefitted from sharing my experience with the AMEND volunteers. Fortunately, Larry and I were able to give back the gift that the AMEND group had given us. Parents began opening their hearts and began healing.

By that spring we planned a women's group and another group. By the fall Anne Thrift, another AMEND member, and I wrote the first two simple newsletters. Larry joined two others to make the first SHARE Atlanta brochure. Anne and I also were helping with the very busy phone lines.

As our group grew..

We formed another men and women's group in Stone Mountain. The most meaningful gift that happened was the healing that allowed the "very depressed" man and his wife to co-led this group with Larry for several years. We had our first candle lighting in December 1985 at their church, Indian Creek Baptist Church.

Working with Adults and Learning more about Grief...good grief...

I read many books and attended numerous workshops to study the grieving process and became a "qualified" grief group leader with the Windows program. A member of our church, Mary Joe Hannaford, co-wrote this wonderful program. Her premature death left much emptiness for her friends, but her wonderful book and program have made what she felt and taught live on for many, many people. I taught with this program at our church and have used similar principles in our SHARE Atlanta program.

No, I didn't originally choose a path that included adults and grief. I was led in that direction. I feel as though my grief has opened "many windows" in my life.

Through the years, parents have come and gone...

Parents have joined SHARE Atlanta both as volunteers and as members; some several different times. Our volunteers have helped our program include: at least one men and women's group, the women's group, the parent-centered newsletter, the telephone line, candle lightings, and our quarterly business meetings. Our in-service has become a very important outreach program. We are very stable - with a fairly even number of volunteers and money intake. This stability has permitted us to add new dimensions to what we offer.

For me, the important thing is that we are a volunteer group composed of "healed, bereaved parents" ...

Most of our parents have gone on to have living children. We are unique in that most of us come to SHARE Atlanta at a time in our lives when death and dealing with this kind of grief is very far from our thoughts. We are ready to begin or continue our family with our soon-to-be child.

Our world is rudely interrupted by our loss. As we heal, choose other options, and redirect our paths many do not wish to continue as a volunteer with a program such as SHARE Atlanta. SHARE Atlanta is not the "chosen club." I can certainly appreciate these feelings. My biggest wish is for people to feel as though they can go on and follow the path that is best for them. Those who do join hands with SHARE Atlanta, give of themselves in such special ways.

SHARE Atlanta's gift to me...

I have grown so much as I have been part of this special group of people. As a volunteer I have made many wonderful friends. It has provided a continuing positive connection with my three special babies as well as an ongoing witness for my living children that reaching out to others, especially in something you have experienced, can create support and "good feelings" for everyone concerned. They have seen that outreach is part of the human plan.

Yes, I cherish my living children....

I have homeschooled them and spent many wonderful hours with them! They, unbiased opinion of course, are wonderful and I have enjoyed being their mom!

As I have said so many times to people, each of my five children are special. Each has helped to mold who I am today. I thank God for each of their gifts to our family and to my life.

Marcia McGinnis, 1998 - Updated 2005

"Marcia's Story" Menu

Share Logocopyright(c)SHARE Atlanta '97-'2011

Graphics on this Site are Copyright