Mothers who suffer infant loss no longer grieving in silencePosted: Updated:
GILBERT, Ariz -- When a child loses a parent, they become an orphan. And when a spouse loses their partner, they become widows. But there is no word for parents who lose their babies.
Thanks to one group in Gilbert, women from all over the Valley are finding they don't have to grieve in silence any longer.
Months of planning and dreaming about her baby girl vanished the day Kim Slaughter went into labor.
"A state of shock, numbness, I was scared, I was, how could this happen," said Slaughter.
The ultrasound confirmed Kim's daughter Narissa had no heartbeat.
"I remember looking over and there was a woman with her baby and I had nothing, I had no child. I had to leave my baby back there in a morgue. I'm like, how am I going to get through this?" Kim recalled.
Feeling hopeless, she channeled her pain in a way that's now helping other mothers.
Kim started a support group that allows women to grieve and cope with their loss.
"This was a way to honor Narissa's life and realize that her life was not in vain," Kim explained.
Jennifer Smith has joined the group.
"I lost my daughter almost three years ago, so when I went through her loss I didn't have anybody," said Jennifer.
Jennifer, like Rebecca Seifert, found solace in Kim's classes.
"To have the other people in the class who know what you're going through so you don't think you're crazy, you don't think you're losing your mind, you know it's normal and you just have to get through it," said Rebecca.
Once a week the women meet, share and bond at Mission Community Church in Gilbert. At the heart of each class is a book called "Grieving the Child I Never Knew."
"This is never going to go away. There is no cure for infant loss," said Kim.
By design, Kim keeps her classes small and focused on faith.
"So I wanted to start a group for moms who wanted to come where they could talk about God and if they weren't believers, they still felt comfortable," she explained.
"When you experience a loss, the more people you talk to, the more people that you realize have suffered a loss, they just do it in silence," said Rebecca.
"All of us, we didn't get to live our life with our children," Jennifer explained.
It's a tragedy that's not uncommon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every four women suffer a miscarriage, stillbirth or lose a baby to SIDS.
"It's a pain that is the worst pain that any person could ever go through," Jennifer pointed out.
While the pain of losing a baby never disappears, these women agree, healing is possible.
"I know it's hard to enter a grief group but what you get out of it and what you're able to give later, is just so life changing," Rebecca said.
To reach Kim Slaughter or learn about "Grieving the Child I Never Knew" call 480-788-9399, email KimS@Mission68.org, or visit the website http://www.mission68.org/event/304295-2013-03-14-grieving-the-child-i-never-knew/.