The short answer is yes, we’d love to have you, but there is more we want you to know.
At one level, the loss is a loss, and it is a comfort to find companionship with others who hurt as we hurt. And there is so much you share with the other grieving parents who come to Respite Retreat—the sense of emptiness, the loss of dreams, and the difficult questions about why this has happened. But, there are other aspects of losing a child who has lived in your home and been an active part of your family and history that are just different from the loss of a child through stillbirth—not more or less difficult, just different.
During the Respite Retreat we spend a great deal of time focusing on practical aspects of loss such as dealing with photographs, your child's friends and belongings, regrets in interactions with your child or in accidents that led to the child's death, helping siblings with the loss, etc. We are always concerned that couples who have lost a child who died before birth may feel additional hurt by the fact that they don't have the memories and experiences that many of the other couples have with their children. We display pictures of the children, and sometimes couples who've experienced a stillbirth do not have a photo or feel uncomfortable sharing one they have, and that may make them feel left out.
With these concerns for your comfort expressed, please know that you are welcome to come. At every retreat, we have one or two couples attend whose children have been stillborn or died at birth, and they have all been really blessed to be at the retreat. These couples often express that they felt their loss was greatly respected by the rest of the group, and they were able to share in their sorrow with others.
So we leave the decision with you. If both of you are convinced that the weekend will be helpful to you as a couple as you seek after healing in the grief you are experiencing in your loss, we welcome you to come.
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