Pregnancy loss and miscarriage support groups and events

Resources, miscarriage support groups and memorial events across Canada for those who've suffered a pregnancy loss.

miscarriage support candlelit vigil

NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Carly Marie Project Heal
Dedicated to sharing her experience with others, Carly Marie has created three international days for bereaved families: Bereaved Mothers Day, Bereaved Fathers Day and the Day of Hope (August 19). Host of the “Return to Zero Australia Women’s Retreat”—a journey through grief to healing, to take place at a sustainable healing spa March 5 to 9, 2015.

Center for Loss in Multiple Birth
Based in Anchorage, Alaska, CLIMB consists of parents throughout the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and beyond who have experienced the death of a twin (or higher multiples) at any time from conception to birth, infancy or childhood. The group has contact lists to connect bereaved parents, and also produces a newsletter.

The Centering Corporation
Based in Nebraska, this non-profit organization provides education and resources for the bereaved. Offers a list of suggested resources specific to the death of an infant or child, and publishes the Grief Digest, a quarterly magazine supporting grieving people and caregivers.

The Compassionate Friends
With more than 600 chapters serving all 50 states plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and Guam, the Compassionate Friends offers friendship, understanding and hope to bereaved parents, siblings, grandparents and other family members. On Dec. 14, 2014, the group will hold the 18th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting—uniting family and friends around the globe in lighting candles for one hour—to honour the memories of those who left too soon. Believed to be the largest mass candle lighting, candles are lit at 7 p.m. local time—creating a 24-hour wave of light as it moves from time zone to time zone. The Compassionate Friends will host its 38th annual conference in Dallas, Texas, in July 2015.

The C.O.P.E. Foundation
Based in Long Island, NY, the C.O.P.E. Foundation (Connecting Our Paths Eternally) is a grief and healing organization dedicated to helping parents and families living with the loss of a child. Offers a monthly newsletter and the COPE Hotline: a phone service that connects grieving individuals with a psychologist-trained volunteer who can provide resources, referrals and emotional support.

A Heartbreaking Choice
This website supports women who have made the heartbreaking choice to terminate a much wanted pregnancy due to a poor prenatal diagnosis, problems with their own health or for the health of another fetus (selective reduction). The site also offers a private, membership-only discussion and support group.

HopeXchange
The HopeXchange offers a wealth of information for those who have been impacted by the grief of pregnancy loss. Materials include educational and uplifting articles, books, pamphlets and music—as well as an extensive list of online links and resources. Sign up for a free monthly newsletter, “HOPE.”

International Stillbirth Alliance
Launched by three stillbirth mothers in Chicago, IL, the International Stillbirth Alliance brings together member organizations and individual supports working towards stillbirth prevention and improvement of bereavement care worldwide. Hosts an annual, international conference.

Multiple Births Canada – Loss Support Network
Offers support to parents and families who have lost one, more or all of their multiple birth children, including a suggested reading list, online resources and a “Forever Angels” newsletter.

My Molar Pregnancy
Offers a collection of information, references and interactive web features for women who have lost a pregnancy due to a hydatidiform mole. My Molar Pregnancy also offers two support groups on Facebook, offering chats with others who are experiencing molar pregnancy or trying to conceive after molar pregnancy.

Open to Hope
An online community offering inspirational stories of loss, hope and recovery, Open to Hope offers a wide range of articles and submitted writing from those who have experienced the death of a child. The site also archives podcasts from its radio station, with helpful discussions and interviews.

Still Birthday
Headquartered in Kansas City, MO, Still Birthday connects parents with professionally trained Stillbirthday Birth and Bereavement Doulas, to offer emotional and physical support prior to, during and after the birth of a miscarried or stillborn baby. The site also offers multiple ideas for “farewell celebrations” that help parents to grieve in a healthy way.

Still Standing Magazine
An online magazine devoted to all topics that relate to child loss and infertility. Offers a free handbook of statements from other bereaved mothers, and provides links to a wide range of bloggers—with the chance to connect with others.

Remembering Our Babies
This site provides historical background on the origins of October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and offers a listing of walks and activities (many in the United States).

BRITISH COLUMBIA

BC Place Stadium and Telus World of Science Lighting
On October 15, BC Place Stadium and Telus World of Science—located in False Creek, BC—will be illuminated in pink and blue, in honour of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day.

Chetwynd Wave of Light
On Oct. 15 at 5 p.m., there will be a release of sky lanterns and a candle-lighting ceremony held at Box 1163, Chetwynd, BC. Contact Shannon Anderson at 250-788-9603 for full details.

Fort St. John Walk to Remember
Walk to Remember is a day to remember little ones lost through miscarriage, stillbirth, early infant death and SIDS. It is a day to speak their names, celebrate their lives, share our stories and raise awareness within the community. On Oct. 18 (from 10 a.m. to noon), a Walk to Remember will take place at the Pomeroy Sports Centre in Fort St. John, BC.

Okanagan Walk to Remember
A family-oriented event, the Okanagan Walk to Remember provides an opportunity for those affected by the loss of a baby to openly share, celebrate and honour those tiny lives that left us too soon. The third annual walk was held on Sept. 27, 2014.

The Unforgotten Ones
Based in Vancouver, The Unforgotten Ones is a healing space for people who have lost a child. A “Healing Circle”—specific to those who have had an abortion, miscarriage or stillborn—will be held every three weeks till the end of the year.

Walk to Remember Little Lives
The third Walk to Remember Little Lives will be held in Dawson Creek, BC, on Oct. 18, 2014. The walk will be followed by refreshments and a balloon release. Please bring a donation for the Dawson Creek Hospital Foundation; the money raised buys paediatric or neonatal machines to help save little lives.

ALBERTA

Alberta Hospice Palliative Care Association 
Based in Calgary, Alberta Health Services offers a Grief Support Program that provides a safe, supportive and healing environment for bereaved individuals to process their grief in meaningful ways. The program offers individual and group services, and also provides grief education to healthcare professionals.

Angel Whispers 
Created by three moms in the Edmonton area, Angel Whispers is a support group for families who have lost a baby. The group hosts two meeting groups: one to support baby loss and another to support families who are joyfully (yet anxiously) pregnant after experiencing the loss of a baby. Angel Whispers also hosts “Healing Hands” sessions, devoted to creative healing through projects such as scrapbooking, memory books and stepping stones.

Calgary Walk to Remember
This annual event (last held on Sept. 6, 2014) remembers babies lost to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or neonatal death. Calgary Walk to Remember hopes to give parents and families what they want most—an occasion to remember and celebrate, openly and without judgement, amongst other families who share the experience and feelings of losing a child.

H.E.A.R.T.S. Baby Loss Support Program
HEARTS stands for Helping Empty Arms Recover Through Sharing. This support group offers regular meetings in the Edmonton area, and also has chapters in Red Deer, Alta., and Saskatoon. Counselling sessions are also available, to help individuals and families navigate their grief journey and plan for future pregnancies. The Edmonton-area group hosts the Baby Steps Memorial Walk each October; the event last took place on Oct. 4, 2014.

ParentCare
This support group—made up of parents helping parents—is open to anyone who has been touched by the loss of a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or early infant death up to 28 days. The group meets at the Mother Rosalie Health Services Centre in Edmonton on the third Thursday of each month, to share experiences, exchange information and provide support. An annual Candlelight Service is held in Edmonton on the third Thursday in December.

Tiny Hands of Hope
Based in Grande Prairie, Alta., this non-profit organization helps families touched by all types of infant loss—including pregnancy loss, neonatal loss, stillbirth, SIDS and infant death to the age of 24 months. The group also hosts a “Walk to Remember” each fall, to remember and celebrate those babies who have been lost; the most recent event took place on Sept. 28, 2014.

Yoga for Grief Support
In the Edmonton area, Yoga for Grief support combines the ancient practice of yoga with a model of bereavement support. Students are taught empowering techniques to cope with their grief, find compassion for their journey and honour their loss.

SASKATCHEWAN

H.E.A.R.T.S. Baby Loss Support Program
HEARTS stands for “Helping Empty Arms Recover Through Sharing.” This support group offers regular meetings in Saskatoon. Counselling sessions are also available, to help individuals and families navigate their grief journey and plan for future pregnancies.

Silent Hearts Perinatal Loss Awareness Walk & Run
This annual walk/run in Regina—held on October 4, 2014—aims to bring awareness and information of infant loss to the community. Proceeds raised from the run are donated to local bereavement programs. Follow the group on Twitter: @SilentHeartsSK

A Walk to Remember – Weyburn
As a tribute to their little girl—and to all other babies that have left their families too soon—the Loustel family in Weyburn, Sask., organized a five-kilometre walk on Sept. 28, 2014. A barbeque and balloon release followed the event, with proceeds donated to The Family Place, a non-profit organization in Weyburn.

MANITOBA

Empty Arms Foundation
A non-profit organization based in Winnipeg, the Empty Arms Foundation is dedicated to the advancement of SIDS research and uncovering its yet-to-be-identified biological component. The organization aims to raise research funds, provide education and awareness, offer support to parents grieving the loss of a child and to host regular charity events.

Winnipeg Walk to Remember
An informal annual walk, this event last took place on Oct. 4, 2014 at the St. Vital Park in Winnipeg.

ONTARIO

Bereaved Families of Ontario
It hosts “Share & Support” meetings at various locations in the Peel and Halton regions, to facilitate a further understanding of grief. The organization also offers memorial events, workshops, phone support and creative-expression workshops that facilitate mourning and memorialization. A “Healing Through the Holidays” workshop will be held on Nov. 13, 2014 at 635 Willowbank Trail, Mississauga, Ont. The annual “Loving Memory Ceremony” will take place on Dec. 1, 2014 at 4141 Living Arts Drive, Mississauga, Ont.

International Wave of Light
Hosted by the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Network, two simultaneous candle lighting events—at Niagara Falls and the CN Tower in Toronto—will be held on October 15 from 7 to 9 p.m.

PAIL Network Butterfly Release & Picnic
The Butterfly Release is a celebration of the brief but significant lives of our babies—a time to reflect and honour these lives in a beautiful park setting. This annual event is PAIL Network’s primary fundraising event; funds raised provide trained peer-led support in communities across Ontario. The 2015 event has not yet been scheduled, but typically takes place on the second Sunday in June.

Peace Bridge Lighting
The Peace Bridge, located in Fort Erie, Ont., will support October 15 in 2014 by illuminating in pink and blue at 7 p.m. Organized by the PAIL Network.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Network
This network offers a number of support groups throughout Ontario, including Newmarket, Bloor West, Peterborough, Leaside, Markam, Stouffville, Oakville and Burlington.

Toronto Walk to Remember
This annual awareness event—hosted by the Pregnancy & Infant Loss Network—will be held on October 18 at the Mount Pleasant Cemetery in Toronto. Registration begins at 1 p.m., the walk is held at 1:30 and a dove release takes place at 2 p.m.

QUEBEC

Centre for Reproductive Loss
Based in Montreal, the centre offers counselling services, support groups, information and resources for the emotional, spiritual and psychological distress of individuals and families affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, abortion, adoption, SIDS, infertility and sterility.

Nos petits anges au paradis
An online, French-language discussion forum for the saddened parents who have lost a child. Offers access to a number of additional French-language resources.

The Quebec Association for Parents Living with Perinatal Mourning
A French-language web site offering support and resources to parents who are mourning the loss of a child.

ATLANTIC CANADA

Halifax Walk to Remember
This annual walk—first held in 2009—honours little lives lost through the pain of miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal loss. This year’s event takes place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 19 at the IWK Health Centre, and will be followed by a reception.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Grand Falls Walk
On Oct. 18 at 1 p.m., an awareness walk will take place on Broadway Boulevard in Grand-Sault/Grand Falls, NB. For more information, contact Jeannine Castonguay at 506-553-6605.

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