National Center for Effective Mental Halth Consultation First Candle National Center for Cultural Competence Georgetown Center for Child and Human Development
 

introduction

Creating an embracing faith community for those who have lost a baby

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 Corinthians 1:1-5

A baby, a new life, inspires our hopes for the future, renews our faith and touches our hearts.

When families lose a baby - either during pregnancy or after the baby is born - the pain is intense and can lead family members to despair, depression or other mental health problems, substance use or abuse, and a crisis of faith. Each of those consequences brings its own layers of pain to the individual and the community.

Families of faith will naturally turn to their faith leaders and churches for guidance, support and healing. For African American families of faith, the yearning for a helpful and supportive response from their clergy, lay church leadership and their faith community is enormous. Providing that support in ways that are helpful is a challenge to the African American faith community.

While African American families are disproportionately affected by stillbirth and infant mortality, they are, overall, less likely to access bereavement support resources. Families often cite a lack of recognition of their need for support within the network of support in their own faith community.

Many note that the request for support is viewed as a “lack of faith” and they often forgo peer support or professional bereavement services.

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