My First Meeting

My first meeting gave me all sorts of anxiety. I was holding onto (or should I say, traveling through) a lot of guilt from my miscarriage. There were a lot of things I wish I had done or known to do when we found out she didn’t have a heartbeat. But neither my OB or the hospital were helpful with providing me with options. The whole process felt rushed and it was like travelling at warp speed. So I went to my first meeting wondering if it was really the right place for me. What would people think that I didn’t hold my baby? What would they think when I told them she didn’t have a name? What would they think when I would say we didn’t bury her? I kept to myself for most of the meeting. I just took it all in. I knew once I started talking I would start to cry, so I stayed as quiet as I could. There was nothing but love in the room. We were surrounded by love, peace, and comfort. We were bonded the moment we stepped in that room... a quiet blessing from devastation. At the closing of the meeting, we were all asked to share one thing that we were thankful for during this time. Of course, I didn’t want to say anything and I honestly couldn’t come up with anything really. My mind went blank. But when it came to my turn, I knew exactly what to say, “I am thankful that she made me a mom.”
— Meredith McNeil, Mommy of baby girl McNeil

M.E.N.D has been a safe place where I can celebrate the life of our son without people feeling shocked about my story. No one feels bad for me or gives me “that” look. I don’t get to talk about our son who is waiting for us in Heaven very often. When I am with other people in this group, there is a sense of relief knowing I am surrounded with other people who have a similar story. It is a time to honor our babies who are not present in our daily life, but always present in our heart and mind.
— Janet Divin, Mom to Grace, Mary Elizabeth, John, and Adam

When I first heard about M.E.N.D. support groups, I felt like I wouldn’t belong. I felt like my loss was going to be so much less than others’ and that I didn’t have the right to be there or be grieving. After attending my first meeting, I was surprised and overwhelmed with relief to learn just how wrong I was. After leaving my first meeting, I knew I had found a new tribe; one that gave no judgement on my thoughts and ideas, made me feel like I was no longer alone in my grief and experiences, gave me a place to discuss my feelings without any of the awkward and unknowing responses, and helped me to learn about how to grow through my loss.
— JaeCee Crawford - Mommy to Ladybug