“Journey Through Grief” Lending Library

The Cause

The Pregnancy, Infant & Child Loss Support Centre is a registered charity in Calgary whose mission is to connect people who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss to comprehensive and inclusive support offerings through each phase of the journey. The journey through loss is complex and we know that not everyone heals in the same way. For this reason, our Centre connects bereaved families to community, peer support groups, traditional and alternative healing supports, and educational opportunities.

Pregnancy and infant loss has a substantial impact on a family’s mental health. Our programming supports people at all stages of loss (initial grief, trying to conceive, pregnant again, and parenting post loss) addressing the lifelong impacts. When families are grieving the death of their child and have limited access to financial assistance they are left with restricted financial resources to obtain items that are imperative to the grief journey.

We are seeking funding to create an online and in person “Journey through Grief '' lending library for bereaved parents in Calgary and Area. The “Journey through Grief'' lending library would serve as an accessible space for books and equipment specifically around baby loss that help reduce anxiety throughout the journey. The lending library would carry items such as: adult and children bereavement books, pregnancy after loss journals and books, breast pumps for individuals wanting to donate their breast milk after loss, Doppler for pregnant after loss, Smart Monitor (baby movement and oxygen tracking monitor).

These specialized items are hard to find and are costly but are an important part in providing comfort to families during a very challenging time.

Who Will it Benefit?

The mental health impacts of pregnancy and infant loss are profound. Researchers at Imperial College London and KU Leuven in Belgium found that 29% of birthing people who experienced a pregnancy loss, had PTSD symptoms one month after that loss. Additionally, 24% of these individuals had anxiety, and 11% had moderate to severe depression one month after pregnancy loss.

The mental health impacts of miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death last longer than society believes. The study also found the individuals who had PTSD, depression, or anxiety after pregnancy loss said their symptoms continued for long periods of time, ranging from three months to nine months after the loss. The study’s finding also showed that of the people who delivered healthy babies after previous loss, 13% reported having moderate to severe anxiety months after giving birth. Research has also show that compared with couples who had successful pregnancies, those who had a miscarriage were 22 percent more likely to break up, and those who experienced a stillbirth were 40 percent more likely to do so.

The above statistics demonstrate the long term impacts that pregnancy and infant loss has. The “Journey through Grief” Lending Library would benefit bereaved families who have experienced pregnancy loss (miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, chemical pregnancy, blighted ovum), and infant loss (stillbirth and neonatal loss). Items in the library will support those that are trying again, pregnant again and parenting after previous loss.

The lending library is committed to diversity. The library will include items created by, and for marginalized individuals moving through pregnancy and infant loss. Having books and items from diversified members is vital to normalizing the grief experience for our Black, Indigenous, People of Colour (BIPOC) and LGBTQ+ members.
The Lending library items will benefit all people (such as the birthing person, partners, grandparents and siblings) who have been impacted by loss.