What congregations can do
Knowledge can increase comfort
Families reported feeling very isolated as friends and family as well as fellow congregants seemed to draw back from them after their loss. Often people feel very uncomfortable with parents in such deep pain and are not sure what to do. Helping congregants learn more about pregnancy and infant loss can prepare congregants to stay close and support families who are grieving.
What congregations can do:
- Provide opportunities for congregants to learn about pregnancy and infant loss and the grief that families experience. This might include:
- Hosting workshops about these types of losses. Invite the entire congregation including the Pastor(s) to attend. Consider turning to others in the community with this expertise to help you. They may work with you as part of their community outreach activities. These types of programs can be done at no cost to the church. These organizations may also sponsor workshops or conference that congregants could attend. Do not be afraid to ask. Possible partners include:
- Local Hospital Obstetric/Neonatal Departments
- Local Obstetricians/Neonatologists
- Local March of Dimes
- Local Fetal and Infant Mortality Review project
- Local Healthy Start Program
- Developing and sharing with the congregation a pamphlet with information about pregnancy and infant loss and suggestions about what to say to families and how to support them, both immediately after the loss and over the coming years. (See Module 7 for ideas about content.)
- Support the pastor with information to be included in sermons on the topic.