In December, Paul and I began to attend a support group by the LA MISS Foundation to help parents and family members live on after the loss of an infant or child. The MISS Foundation is a "community of compassion and hope for grieving families." We discovered this amazing community in a pamphlet amidst the paperwork that the social worker gave us before we were discharged from the hospital on the day that Haven was born and passed away.
I remember coming home from the hospital and tossing the thick pile of paperwork aside and dreading the day that I'd one day I'd want to look through or actually read them. Well, months had passed and the holidays had come too and I found myself in a really dark place during the month of December. I finally decided one day during that month to perhaps sit down and really go through that pile of paper I had been pushing aside in my mind. Among the papers, I found one with a list of support groups (both faith based and non-faith based) for parents like myself and Paul to attend to receive continuous support and love from other parents and loved ones that too, unfortunately, understand and are enduring the same or similar kind of journey as we are. I eyed the list and was praying simultaneously for one to be based in either the Los Angeles or Culver City area. The Lord heard my plea and there it was -- "LA MISS Foundation" -- a quick and easy ten minute drive from our West LA home.
It is here within our small and intimate groups that Paul and I find that additional, "special" support and place of "safety." One of the themes that come up quite often is that of 'Family and Friends' and one that strongly strikes a chord with us as Paul and I continue to both receive an overwhelmingly amount of constant prayer and love and then do not from those that we thought would. Having become an angel mom, I have struggled with my faith since June/ July of 2016 and am on a road daily to seek Jesus, his face and to want His will over my life and not my own. I pray fervently to find peace and comfort with my thoughts and fight for joy and life instead of all the other things that can easily claim control over me.
One of those things are the thoughts of the "lack of support" or "visible presence" from certain people that Paul and I thought would be there. With only eight months living in this new reality", I am coming to know and understand that topics of miscarriage, loss/ death of a baby or child do not come easily to others, more so especially if others have not experienced this heartbreak + pain for themselves or through the lives of their other loved ones.
To those that talk about Haven and say her name with myself, Paul and/ or our family -- THANK YOU. To those that still ask me how I am, how Paul is, and how we're doing -- THANK YOU. To those that don't know what to say and instead give me a hug or say an "I love you" -- this is more than enough and THANK YOU for being brave. To those that want to know more about our story and its' details -- please do ask. As painful and heartbreaking as this will always be -- it means everything to me to share our story, Haven and what she continues to teach us despite her no longer physically being here on earth. If you're a mama or soon-to-be mama and your little one(s) have a congenital heart defect or have just been diagnosed with one and/or if you've been diagnosed with Incompetent Cervix and have stumbled upon my tiny corner of the internet, thank you and please reach out to me if you'd like too. I'd love to give any support, love, prayer and/ or just talk with you, and help you in any way that I can. I know I would have loved for this type of forum and/ or support had I/ we caught our conditions sooner than we had.
If you're a family member struggling with how to comfort, talk, and love on another family member, loved one, or friend with the loss of their baby or child, the following is a link written and compiled by our lead facilitator, Sari Edber, at our LA MISS Foundation support group that focuses on Family + Friends. Paul and I have thoroughly went through it and even emailed her file to our closest family members + a few of our closest friends to ease this still very new life. I share this with you (or anyone else you may know) in hopes that you will feel better and a bit more supported when talking/ seeing your loved one(s) and helping to keep their little angel(s) alive.