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Module 4What families need


Resources for Infant Loss were assembled and reviewed by Alicia Parker, Minister of Comfort and a member of the Health Team Ministry of New Covenant Church of Philadelphia, registered nurse with Certification in Thanatology.

For parents, children, teens, grandparents and those who want to help

There are few resources that have been developed specifically for the African American community and its cultures. The following have been reviewed and suggested with the understanding that individuals may not find all of the information the best fit for their experiences, values, beliefs and world experiences.

Hayford, Jack, I’ll Hold You in Heaven. Ventura, Regal Books 2003.

This is a book of comfort, a book of healing for parents and family members who have questions about their unborn child. When does life begin? Does my baby have a soul? Where is my baby will I see him or her again? Pastor Hayford gets to the heart of the matter of perinatal loss and offers healing, hope, and grace to the hurting souls of those who have experienced perinatal loss and utilizes Scripture in sensitive ways. He further offers suggestions for those who want to help.

Gryte, Marilyn, No New Baby. Omaha, Centering Corporation 1988.

This book was written for parents/grandparents/others to help explain infant loss to children who are ages 3-8. It prepares family members and friends for questions that children may ask about early infant death. Reading the book to a young child opens the way for discussions about loss with children.

Ilse, Sherokee, Single Parent Grief. Omaha, Centering Corporation.

Single Parent Grief addresses feelings of loss and grief experienced by unmarried mothers. It includes feelings of shame, guilt, and loneliness. This booklet helps single parents and others to understand the increased need for support during and after the time of loss.

Johnson, Joy, and Johnson S.M. For This Little While, Omaha, Centering Corporation, 2003.

Beginning with the feelings of shock and disbelief that most parents experience, this book gently leads parents through what to do and what to expect while they are still in the hospital. It discusses keepsakes and planning a precious goodbye offering some suggestions as to how to make it as comforting as possible. It encourages parents to plan the service together. It also explains the grief process, helping them to know what they may expect to think and feel understanding that everyone grieves differently. The book gives a good explanation of the responses that siblings may have from infants to teens offering ways for family members to support them through this unique loss. The book contains comments and poems from other bereaved parents. There are also pictures of families holding, loving, and saying goodbye to their precious infants.

Lister, Marcie and Lovell, Sandra, Healing Together. Omaha, Centering Corporation 1991.

This short book covers the feelings that parents experiencing perinatal loss may have together and separately. The book also covers the different ways mothers and fathers may respond to the death of their child. It normalizes the feelings and thoughts that parents may be dealing with. It offers helpful suggestions for planning a funeral or memorial service as well as what can be said to help the other children.

Nelson, Jan and Aaker, David, The Bereavement Ministry Program: A Comprehensive Guide for Churches.

This manual is an excellent guide for clergy wanting to establish a variety of bereavement support ministries in their churches. There are specific reading resources and information for support groups for those who have experienced loss through miscarriage or stillbirth on pages 175-186. There are also chapters on loss for parents (pages 196-198), children and teens, (pages 51-88) and grandparents (199-201) as well. There are monthly letters and reproducible handouts that can be shared with bereaved families and support groups. Included in the manual are also suggestions for help through holidays and other special days that may be difficult for families.

Schwiebert, Pat and Kirk, Paul, When Hello Means Goodbye, Portland, Perinatal Loss, 1996.

Written by a nurse and an obstetrician, this book captures the experiences of other parents who have had perinatal loss. It includes poems written by bereaved parents as well as pictures of some with their baby. It also encourages parents to hold their baby and gives books that may help parents in their grief journey. It also gives suggestions as to how to design birth announcements to send to family and friends.

Schwiebert, Pat, Too Soon A Memory. Portland, Perinatal Loss, 2002.

Loss due to miscarriage is so painful for both parents. This short book explains what miscarriage is and the signs and symptoms indicating that a miscarriage is occurring. It tells parents what to do if they are experiencing them. It covers the necessary grief work so that healing can occur and discusses how others may react to the news. It also gives suggestions for help in the form of books, support groups, and internet resources.

Sims, Alicia M., Am I Still A Sister? Louisville, Accord, 1998.

After the death of her baby brother, four year old Alicia had some questions about his death. At the age of eleven she put her questions into this book. She wanted to know if she was still a sister even after her brother died. Children may also have some of the same questions. This book is a great way to start conversations around the area of perinatal loss. Parents may find it helpful when they are not sure how to answer some of the questions that children ask.

Toerpe, Gail, Grandparents Grieve Twice, Bereavement Publications, Inc. (available at

Grandparents not only grieve the loss of their grandchild but also for the loss and pain of their adult child. This booklet acknowledges this special type of grief and encourages others to send them sympathy cards and support them through this loss.

Wheat, Rick, Miscarriage: A Man’s Book. Omaha, Centering Corporation 1995.

The book is written by a father who has also experienced the loss of an infant. Fathers may be unsure how to help their wives during this difficult time. This book begins with ways that fathers can be of help to the mothers in very practical ways such as “holding her”. The author also recognizes the grief of fathers knowing that sometimes they are left out as the attention may be mostly on the mother. Many times fathers are asked how the mother is doing with no regard to their feelings. This book also helps men to recognize the normal feelings of loss and grief.

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