Thank You for Sharing your Stories through #IAmPALS

Photo of “Stitch” taken by Margaret Belanger

I have the incredible honor of working with loss mamas from all over the world. They entrust me with their stories, and I consider it one of the greatest privileges of my life to hold those stories and their babies (living and not) with them.

Last week, Pregnancy After Loss Support held its first major fundraising campaign as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, #IAmPALS.

One of my tasks was to update our totals throughout the campaign, reading each email notification of donations made through our website. Many who donated gave in memory of their baby who died or in honor of their baby born after a loss. I was incredibly moved as I entered each name into our spreadsheet.

As the campaign came to a close at 8:00 PM on Thursday, I tallied our unofficial total. At 7:59 PM I decided to check my email one last time to see if any more donations were made before I shared the update with our team and social media community. Sure enough, another donation had come through. I clicked to read and gather the information needed to update the spreadsheet, and my eyes scanned to the bottom where the mama had added this note:

“I’m so grateful for the incredible resource y’all have been to me as I’ve walked this third pregnancy. And, ironically, I’m actually in labor right now, hopefully just a couple hours away from delivering our first living child, our surprise gender ‘double rainbow’.”

After all of the preparation and anticipation of this campaign, this note and its timing hit me with all the feels. I sobbed.

This Courageous Mama, Liza, took the time while she was in labor to make a donation to PALS. She wanted to make sure it was received before the close of the campaign. And, even more than that, she added a note to let us know just how much PALS has affected her–all while in labor, which was incredibly moving.

The PALS team has been absolutely overwhelmed by the response to the #IAmPALS campaign. We have tripled our initial goal of $4,000, which is incredible. Our community owned this campaign and resoundingly told the world, “#IAmPALS and these are the ways PALS have affected me.”

Now it’s my turn.

You all affect me, each and every day. Your courage, resilience, and fierce love of ALL of your children inspire me to love deeper, fight stronger, and work harder in every aspect of my life. It’s deeply validating to hear how PALS has helped you through your journey, but I feel it’s also important to let you know how you help me continue on my own journey, both personally and professionally.

Thank you.

Thank you, Courageous Mamas and Dads, for allowing us the great privilege of walking alongside you during your journeys. Thank you for sharing your stories with us. Thank you for sharing all of your babies with us. Thank you for supporting each other. Thank you for validating the work that we do here. Thank you for continuing to spread awareness about the pregnancy/infant/child loss, as well as the unique experience of pregnancy after a loss.

Oh, and I heard back from Liza. Her sweet princess has arrived. I look forward to hearing more about her birth and seeing some photos.

Keep sharing your journeys, Courageous Mamas. They mean more to us than you can possibly know.

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About the Author:

Valerie Meek is the Operations Director for Pregnancy After Loss Support. She lives in a Boston suburb with her husband, daughter, and Sato puppy, Didi Darling. She became a mama when her son Patrick was born still at 20 weeks in April of 2014. She has been honored to share her TTC and pregnancy after loss journey at PALS. She gave birth to her baby born after loss, her daughter, "Stitch," born in February 2016. Valerie writes about her family life and crafty endeavors (quilting, embroidery, crochet, knitting, cooking, canning, and scrapbooking) at her blog Meek Manor. You can also find her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram, as well as by email.

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