What Does HAND Offer?
Other parents who have 'been there' are an invaluable support. HAND tries to bring you together. Some parents have just lost their baby. Others are there, years after their losses, to listen. They come to share their experiences as well as the promise of healing.
Primarily, we have two support groups. One is for parents who have had a recent loss. The other is for parents who are considering or going through a subsequent pregnancy, and all the joys, fears and tears that go with it.
We also offer telephone support through our volunteers for the times when a wave of despair surges out of nowhere and you need to talk to someone, right away. For the parent who finds it easier to share his feelings with one person who seems to be on his wavelength, rather than with a group. For the times when it is impossible to pick up the phone, though you long to talk about your baby. Sorrows need to be repeated so often before they ease their hold and a fresh set of ears can be such a blessing.
We provide hospital visitation at the time of the loss. The short time that you have with your baby can create such precious memories. There are so many decisions to be made, at a time when you are numb, scared and confused. Sometimes, it helps to think things through with someone who has faced some of them and can share with you the choices that other parents have made.
We have a lending library that is available to you when you don't particularly care about Business Week or watching TV. Books, films and pamphlets on infant loss and several related subjects. Advice from experts and the voices of hundreds of other parents as they struggled to cope.
We try to provide the information and referrals that parents and professionals need. We conduct inservice programs for healthcare providers, to help them understand how to support grieving parents. We also have a training program for our volunteers.
Our quarterly newsletter is another medium for sharing. Our Memorial Quilt and annual Service of Remembrance acknowledges our children in an environment that affirms our celebration and mourning of the shortest of these precious lives.
Dear Parent, you are grieving the death of a part of yourself. It is a long, hard journey and, ultimately, one that you make alone. Nobody else has experienced the same loss. Nobody else can truly feel your loss the way you do. Or tell you how to deal with it. Or exactly what to expect. Nobody can make you promises as to when the pain will let up. But we at HAND would like to make the path a little easier, when we can. To inform. To affirm. To share. To encourage.
You Are Not Entirely Alone.
We would like to help, if we can. Please contact us. We wish you well and hope that some day you will be better able to remember your child with joy because you have faced the sorrow.
Please also note that grief and subsequent pregnancy meetings are also held regularly in the San Francisco Peninsula, Santa Cruz and Contra Costa Counties. HAND of the Peninsula is another organization of dedicated volunteers committed in helping those who've endured the loss of a child before, during or after birth. Details are available at HANDsupport.org or by calling (650) 367-6993.