April 11—A local woman wants to use her personal experience dealing with the loss of a child to miscarriage to help other women who may be having their own struggles in the grieving process.
Rebekah Beresford organized the Miscarriage, Stillbirth and Infant Loss Support Group, which will meet for the first time this Thursday (April 14) at 6 p.m. at the First Choice Clinic on Church Street.
Beresford was motivated to start the support group after receiving overwhelming support when she shared her own experience on Facebook. This message described the horrific circumstances surrounding the loss of his own daughter, Eliana.
“I just want there to be an awareness of the need for this type of grief education,” Beresford said. “Since I spoke about it publicly, I’ve had a lot of women reach out to me about having similar experiences. I think there’s just this comfort in feeling like you’re not alone. “
In her case, Beresford said much of her painful experience stems from the choices that were made by a few select staff members at the out-of-state hospital where she sought care.
Beresford said she was past what is considered the “safe mark” for normal pregnancies. She was in her second trimester and that morning she had an ultrasound which showed a healthy heartbeat and no signs of trouble.
However, two hours after that ultrasound, she was rushed back to hospital because her waters had broken.
She said the nurse on duty “avoided all bereavement protocols” set out by the hospital and because of this she was not given full information about what could have been done after the loss of his baby. She wasn’t allowed to hold her daughter (and was actually told the baby was a boy before finding out the truth three months later), she wasn’t given any sort of memorial items or certificates and, even worse, In all, she had not been told that she had the option of sending her daughter’s body to a funeral home or that she could have her daughter’s remains disposed of in a way respectful. Instead, Eliana’s body was treated as medical waste and sent to a landfill.
Beresford said after her loss she decided to return home to Somerset. “I was diagnosed with PTSD and all that surrounding that loss, it just got too hard to live there…When I was told where his remains were taken and the company that took him kidnapped [her] called her “garbage”, it was really hurtful. It would just trigger this PTSD, and I would have panic attacks, and I’ve never been someone who struggled with things like that,” she said.
“Coming home and being with my family and where I grew up, it was very comforting to get out of that environment.”
Still, it was difficult to share his grief with others, especially those who had never had such an experience.
“Everyone I tried to talk to, either they were really uncomfortable with the details and didn’t want to talk about it, or I was pushing people away because they didn’t know what to say, so I just felt so more alone,” she says.
It was all the more reason to find a way to help others through what she did, she said.
“Instead of leaning into depression, anxiety and PTSD, I really chose hope,” she said.
She also works with an organization called Rachel’s Gift, a nonprofit that works with hospitals to provide specialist care for patients who lose a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or death. infant.
They also provide educational training to hospital staff, teaching them how to use available resources and follow proper bereavement protocols.
Beresford is currently fundraising to create a patient impact video to document her experience.
“Their education really bridges that gap between the lack of bereavement care and teaching these nurses everything parents need, especially around ‘disposition,’” Beresford said.
“The majority of them have no idea that ‘hospital provision’ means ‘discharge’.”
Those interested can learn more at rachelsgift.org.