M.E.N.D. is a Christian, non-profit organization that reaches out to families who have suffered the death of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant death. M.E.N.D. was founded in 1996 by Rebekah Mitchell, one year following the stillbirth of her son, Jonathan Daniel. M.E.N.D. is headquartered in Dallas/Fort Worth and has additional support chapters across Texas and several other states. M.E.N.D. offers a variety of monthly support groups, including an online support group, publishes bi-monthly magazines which are distributed all over the world, has very active Facebook groups for families to connect with each other, hosts annual remembrance ceremonies, and regularly gives presentations to healthcare providers on how to care for families when a baby dies. Everyone involved with M.E.N.D. has personally endured the death of a baby, and everyone is a volunteer. Every service, publication, and ceremony provided by M.E.N.D. is free of charge.
The first year following Jonathan's death proved to be very difficult. Although I had wonderful support from my family and friends, I thought no one knew what I was going through. I could not imagine that anyone knew the loneliness and emptiness that I was feeling.
There were times that the crook in my right arm literally ached for my baby's little head. At night, I experienced horrible nightmares that my baby was really alive and the hospital had made a terrible mistake. A couple of times I even thought I heard a baby crying the middle of the night.
Surely no one else had endured such heartache. I longed to talk to another mother who had lost a baby, but I knew of no one. During those dark days of grief, I decided that when I was able, I would seek out other bereaved mommies and try to help them. However, I had no idea where to begin. As the months continued, the desire to reach out became greater.
Just prior to Jonathan's first birthday, I was gathering the newspaper to throw it away when I felt compelled to browse the obituary section. There was a notice of a baby girl, Cailey Elizabeth Ottinger, who was stillborn two days before. I then felt led to contact Cailey's mother, Laurie. Hesitantly, I contacted her and within a few days we became friends.
We then found Lynne Boer through the obituaries who had just buried her stillborn son, Michael Joseph. Before long, there were several of us bereaved moms who met on a regular basis and shared our feelings, loneliness, and heartaches. I quickly realized that we had indeed developed our own support group that I eventually named M.E.N.D. (Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death).
Although all of us come from different backgrounds and have different stories to tell, we all went through the same initiation which made us members of this "club." My desire for this ministry is as those of us know the suffering of losing a precious baby to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death, we join together to uplift and support one another. And I pray "...that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God". (2 Corinthians 1:4)
If you have suffered the loss of a baby, I encourage you to contact us. We publish free bi-monthly newsletters that I invite you to subscribe to. We began in the Dallas | Fort Worth metroplex where we host a variety of support groups each month. Additionally, we have now expanded and opened chapters across Texas and a few other states. Click Chapters and Support at the top of the page to learn more about our various chapters.
It is my prayer that as you travel down the road of grief and mourning, you will find solace in this group of Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death.