Metro Detroit Share helps families grieving pregnancy loss

Darlene A. White

There is no pain like losing a baby, and a local nonprofit is doing its part to provide comfort to grieving families.

Angie Winton, 44, of Taylor, and her husband, Eric, suffered an early pregnancy loss in 2003 and the full-term loss in March 2005 of their daughter, Brooke Marie, who was stillborn at 37.5 weeks.

While heartbroken over the loss of their babies, Winton discovered there was a lack of support and resources for families who experienced a similar loss.

“There were general grief support groups, but nothing related to this type of loss,” Winton said.

In remembrance of their daughter’s birthday, the couple held fundraisers for Brooke’s first and second birthdays and donated that money to the hospital where she was delivered.

While planning for Brooke’s third memorial birthday celebration, Winton decided to explore the idea of starting a support group in the metro Detroit area. She then visited Nation Share, a national nonprofit support group in St. Charles, Missouri, to learn how to organize a group.

Tracy Taylor, left, and Hailey Maddox pack keepsake boxes for Metro Detroit Share. Five hundred keepsake boxes were assembled at Boodles in Madison Heights on Saturday.

By February 2009, Winton launched Metro Detroit Share, a pregnancy and infant loss support group.

“I know what it’s like to experience this devastating loss and not being able to find the right support,” she said. “It is difficult to put into words your feelings after experiencing the loss of a child. I personally felt devastated, alone and without hope.”

The program is geared toward families who experience the loss of a pregnancy at any gestation or as an infant during the first year of life. The group primarily provides support for parents, but often helps grandparents and other family members who need support.

“Although we cannot take the pain away from families, we can help them through it and give them an outlet for support,” Winton said.

The organization offers support meetings for families, caring cradle placement at Michigan hospitals, keepsake support boxes for second trimester pregnancies to infant loss, and early pregnancy loss bags designed to support first-trimester losses.

Bins of stuffed animals from Metro Detroit Share await a new home.

The memory boxes contain support literature, a hand-crocheted baby blanket and hat, a special baby book to document the loss, and comfort items that include chamomile tea, lip balm, tissues, a loss bracelet and a charm, and a teddy bear, journal, votive candle, forget-me-not flower seeds and a small bag to hold a lock of the infant’s hair.

Volunteer board member Melanie Dove said she learned about Metro Detroit Share when she suffered the loss of her daughter Amber at a day old. Amber’s twin brother survived. Dove later lost her second daughter, Juno, at 16 weeks gestation. Dove eventually discovered a blood clotting disorder caused the losses. Of four children, two are living.