Additional resources for families
We’ve collected a breadth of resources to further help families who’ve experienced loss, along with resources for those who may have not experienced the loss of a child directly but want to provide support for their friends or family who have.
- Local Events for Bereaved Parents
- General Baby Loss
- First Trimester Pregnancy Loss
- Later Pregnancy Loss / Infant Loss
- Pregnancy After Loss
- Family and Friends - NICU
- Family and Friends - Baby Loss
Local Events for Bereaved Parents
The Forever In Our Hearts Remembrance Day, October. This Remembrance Day is to honor families who have lost babies through pregnancy, stillbirth, or in early infancy. This event was started in 2011 and is planned by local bereaved parents and Mikayla’s Grace. October is the nationally recognized month of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness as proclaimed by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. October 15th was then envisioned as a day for families and friends to come together to remember and honor babies who left this world too soon. You can see details of the event here.
December Memorial: Planned by the Bereaved Parents of Madison for members of this support group each December. Contact email@example.com for details.
The Compassionate Friends Memorial Day Service at Vilas Park, Memorial Day: The Madison Area Chapter of TCF has memory benches in Madison’s Vilas Park children’s playground. Since 1994, they have added almost 900 names of beloved children to these memory benches. You can have your child’s name placed on a bench during the Memorial Day Ceremony and they have a special program in memory of all the children who are a part of the Vilas Park Memory Bench playground. You can contact The Compassionate Friends to have your child’s name placed on a bench, deadline is usually May 1st.
The Compassionate Friends Memorial Walk, September.
Babies Gone Too Soon Memorial Walk, May. Held at Harris Park in Dodgeville, WI.
Madison Area Support Groups
Bereaved Parents of Madison: This is a peer lead support network of parents that is specifically for losses in pregnancy or the first year of life. They meet on the third Thursday of each month at 7:30 pm, in Bay 4 of St. Mary’s hospital. They have a website or you can contact the leader of the group, firstname.lastname@example.org or 920-643-0217.
Bereaved Parents of Madison Facebook Page: This is a closed, private group that you have to request to join. Email Molly (email@example.com) your story and she can add you. This can be a great place to connect with other parents who have experienced the loss of a child.
The Compassionate Friends, Madison Chapter: Meets the third Thursday of every month 7:00 – 8:30 pm at the Monona Evangelical Lutheran Church, 4411 Monona Dr, Monona, WI 53716. They also send out a newsletter, which you can sign up for by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Babies Gone Too Soon Support Group (Dodgeville, WI): monthly meetings held to support those affects by pregnancy loss. See facebook page for details.
Madison Area Pregnancy After Loss
The Rainbow Sisters: Alli Ryan, a local doula and baby loss momma, specializes in the support of women and families during bereavement or in subsequent pregnancies.
Rainbow Pregnancies of Madison: A support group for women pregnant again after a loss. Becoming pregnant after losing your precious baby can be another emotional journey. There are often conflicting emotions – joy and excitement mixed with grief and fear. Expecting moms often need additional support and find more comfort with other moms who are also pregnant again after loss. Rainbow Pregnancies of Madison is a supportive and safe place for mothers during their rainbow pregnancies. There is a private Facebook support page and monthly support group meetings. The group is facilitated by Rebecca Markert. For further information, please contact email@example.com.
Madison Area Grandparent Support
Grandparent Support Group Meetings – If you are a grandparent who has lost a grandchild during pregnancy or infant loss and would like to connect with others who have been through this experience, please contact Maureen Berghoefer. There is a local group of grandparents who plan to meet every few months. They will meet on Wednesday, Aug 6 at 6:30-8:30 PM at St. Mary’s Hospital in Bistro Room B. Those who have experienced the loss of a grandchild are warmly invited to join our circle of support. For more information, please contact Maureen at 798-4820. You can email Maureen (firstname.lastname@example.org) to be added to their mailing list.
Financial Assistance for Bereaved Parents
The Angel Fund: Supported by the non-profit, Babies Gone Too Soon, this fund helps with memorial and funeral expenses after such an unexpected loss of a child. See their website to determine eligibility for a grant from the Angel Fund.
Lactation and Breastmilk Donation After Loss
Second trimester miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death brings with it an added trigger of milk production. Typically, 2-7 days after birth, milk production starts and it can not only be a big trigger, but physically painful as well. There are ways to ease the engorgement and transition to drying your milk, or other options that may be a help to your grief. You can read some ways to ease the discomfort tip here. There is an excellent pamphlet with more details about Lactation After Loss here. More Post Loss Lactation Resources here. For some mothers, it can be very healing to pump their breast milk and donate it to another baby in need. Breastmilk donated to milk banks is provided to premature babies in NICUs and very ill infants. It can be lifesaving. While the idea of pumping can seem too difficult for many mothers, those who feel drawn to the idea usually take great comfort in their ability to put their baby’s milk to use. If you have been pumping for your baby, it can be extremely difficult to think of discarding your milk. There are several articles about how donating your breastmilk can be a healing experience here.
Mother’s Milk Alliance: created by Madison area women to keep milk donation at the local level. Mother’s Milk Bank of the Western Great Lakes: Local drop offs in Madison, processed in Ohio and milk donated in multiple states. Human Milk for Babies –Wisconsin Facebook group
Human Milk Banking Association of North America
Wisconsin Area Retreat
Faith’s Lodge: A retreat in Northern Wisconsin, near the town of Webster, that provides a place where parents and families facing the serious illness or death of a child can retreat to reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future. They have weekly retreats, some of which are specifically geared towards families who have experienced the loss of an infant. Camp Hope: Camp HOPE is a wonderful place in central Wisconsin where children and teenagers gather to work through the grieving process after a loved one dies. The camp gently guides the children and teenagers through the complex emotions by showing them that they are not alone. Fun is the top priority at Camp HOPE. The children and teenagers learn that it is okay to laugh and play and that to do so is not disrespectful to the memory of the person who died. Through playing, sharing, and being together with peers and staff who know the pain, the children and teenagers realize that the emotions they are feeling are a normal part of grief. What is happening to them happens to others everywhere, and at Camp HOPE, their pain is understood and shared.
Infant Loss and Grief Books you can check out at local Madison Public library system
Sudden infant death: enduring the loss (DeFrain, John D) Parenthood Lost: healing the pain after miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death (Berman, Michael R) Coming to term: a father’s story of birth, loss, and survival (Woodwell, William H) A piece of my heart: living through the grief of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death (Fumia, Molly) An empty cradle, a full heart: reflections for mothers and fathers after miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death (Lafser, Christine O’Keeffe) Empty arms: coping after miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death (Ilse, Sherokee) A group I never wanted to join : practical advice and stories of hope and recovery for grieving people (McNunn, Marty) Miscarriage, a woman doctor’s guide: the support and facts you need to get through pregnancy loss (Friedman, Lynn) Surviving pregnancy loss: a complete sourcebook for women and their families (Friedman, Rochelle) A silent sorrow: pregnancy loss : guidance and support for you and your family (Kohn, Ingrid) Unspeakable losses: healing from miscarriage, abortion, and other pregnancy loss (Kluger-Bell, Kim) Something happened: a book for children and parents who have experienced pregnancy loss (Blanford, Cathy) An exact replica of a figment of my imagination: a memoir (McCracken, Elizabeth) Naming the Child: Hope filled reflections on Miscarriage, Stillbirth, and Infant death (Jenny Schroedel) Life Touches Life(Lorraine Ash) Still (Stephanie Page Cole) Chicken soup for the grieving Soul (Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen) How to Survive the Loss of a Child (Catherine Sanders) A Gift of Time: Continuing your Pregnancy When Your Baby’s Life is Expected to be Brief (Amy Kuebelbeck and Deborah Davis) An Empty Cradle, A Full Heart (Christine O’Keefe Lafser) Empty Cradle, Broken Heart (Deborah Davis)
Other local organizations giving back to the Baby Loss Community
Gabriel’s Gift: is a non-profit dedicated to supporting the hospitals in and around Sauk County with infant loss and bereavement that provides Memory boxes and education to area hospitals. Babies Gone Too Soon: Non-profit based in Montfort, Wisconsin that helps support local families who have experienced pregnancy/infant loss. They have monthly support groups and other events. Touched by An Angel: Donate wedding gowns that get made into burial gowns for babies.
Local Projects in Memory of other Babies
Scrap From My Heart, February: Annual scrapbooking crop in February that is organized by Susan Heckel. All proceeds go in to the Jackson Paul Heckel scholarship fund for Child Life Ministries Preschool. See more information on the Facebook page. Sawyer Crossen Memorial Triathlon, June: A children’s triathlon for ages 4-17 dedicated to the memory of Sawyer Crossen, the son of Molly and PJ Crossen. This is a fun event promoting physical fitness, family, and community and raises money for a scholarship named for Sawyer that will follow his school years from 4K to 12th grade. See more information on the website or Facebook Page. Noel’s Angel Walk, June: This radiothon in Beaver Dam, WI is to raise money for non-profits benefitting Dodge County to to raise awareness of childhood illness. Noel is the daughter of Scott and Lori Smith.
If you have found this page it likely means that someone close to you has experienced the loss of their baby. You want to help, but you’re afraid of doing something wrong or overstepping your bounds. We hope that the resources on this page will help guide you through supporting this person.
- Understanding Miscarriage and Infant Loss
- What the Bereaved parent is Feeling: for friends and family
- The Bereaved Parent’s Wishlist
- Free Amazon Kindle book, When your Friend’s Baby dies
- Someone You May Know handout
- Friends & Family Advice
What to Say
- For Those Who Lost a Baby – A letter written by a babyloss mom about words she would have liked to hear those first few days after the loss of her daughter.
- The Complete List of Do’s and Don’ts When Supporting the Bereaved
- 10 Ways to Support the Person in Your Life Who Just Lost a Baby
- What to Say and Not to Say
- But You Can Have Another Baby: What to say and what NOT to say to grieving parents
- What Do You Say To Someone Who Has Lost A Child?
- Offering Condolence
- Samples for expressing words of sympathy
- What to Say in Your Condolence Messages
- 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Miscarriage Survivor
- 36 Things to Do For Those In Grief
How to Help
- How Friends and Family Can Help
- Take Them a Meal.com
- Words from Bereaved Parents on How to Help
- Video on How to Help the Bereaved
- What to Say and How to Help
- 10 Ways to Support the Person in Your Life Who Just Lost a Baby
- Helping a Grieving Friend in the Workplace
- Angel Babies How to Help (the Family & Friends tab)
Gifts for Bereaved parents
- Tender Tears – comfort boxes with specially selected items that show compassion, support and love for those who are grieving. A percentage of each sale for the BabyLoss Comfort Boxes goes to Mikayla’s Grace.
- Gift ideas
- A Loss Remembered – bereavement cards acknowledging the anniversary of a child’s death
- Lost for Words Card Line – unique card line founded by artists and photographers Carly Marie Dudley and Franchesca Cox
- Pregnancy Loss Cards
Support Resources for Grandparents
- NOTE: There is a local group of Bereaved Grandparents that meets in Madison, Wisconsin to support each other. If you are interested in getting together with them please contact Maureen Berghoefer email@example.com or Mary Sweeney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Grieving Grandparents
- Grandchild Loss
Support Resources for Siblings
- 101 Rainbow Ribbons: A book to help children understand basic concepts of dying and death, written by Linda Colletti (local grief counselor and bereaved mother)
- Explaining Death to Children
- Amazon.com (Book: We Were Gonna Have a Baby, We Had An Angel Instead)
- Amazon.com (Book: Something Happened)
- Amazon.com (Book: Someone Came Before You)
- Books for children
- Helping Children Cope with Grief
- Helping Teenagers Cope with Grief
- Helping Infants and Toddlers When Someone They Love Dies
- Helping Children with Funerals
- Helping Children Understand Cremation
- Helping Grieving Children at School
- Helping Bereaved Siblings Heal