Pregnancy and infant loss are traumatic experiences made worse when people don’t get the support they need. And a local charity is now helping to recognize the unique challenges faced by members of the BIPOC community who are suffering the same losses.
When Aditi Loveridge was expecting for the first time 10 years ago, she never thought pregnancy loss would happen to her. She said the mental health impacts were profound.
“It impacted me drastically. It affected everything about me. I became very very anxious, very fearful,” Loveridge said.
“People don’t how to broach the topic, so they don’t say anything and it leaves bereaved families — myself included — feeling completely isolated and alone.”
Feeling like she didn’t fit in to some support groups compounded Loveridge’s struggle to heal, “when we as people who don’t fit that typical picture.”
“I know for me, when I was seeking help or was looking for support, I didn’t think those spaces really understood the complexity of the journey for me,” she said. “With different ethnic backgrounds, absolutely I think there’s a lot of different cultural components. Depending on what ethnicity one might belong to, it could be even more stigmatized and even less talked about and less supported in the communities.”
Loveridge is the founder of The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Centre (PILSC).
The group has created a first of its kind “bereavement box,” specially curated by local BIPOC business owners.
The project is way to create awareness of the unique challenges faced by some in the community as they grieve pregnancy loss. Local female identifying entrepreneurs contributed products designed to give comfort.
T’oria Skincare was founded by Calgarian Sarah Akinfenwa. She chose to contribute a soothing shea body butter to the boxes.
“I hope it brings them some sort of warmth and love, and hope to know other people are thinking of them and things will get better,” Akinfenwa said.
Loveridge’s mother Rekha Chugh is contributing mala bracelets to the boxes.
“Each one is made with a lot of love and my thought was that whoever wears this gets a bit of healing, and part of the affirmation to see them through the journey,” Chugh said.
Like her daughter, Chugh knows how isolating pregnancy loss can be.
“I have had two losses. I was in India and I had no support at all,” Chugh said. “So when I see what my daughter is doing here I really wish I had that support.”
Volunteers have assembled 70 comfort boxes with funding from a grant from Field Law. A crowd funding campaign has been launched to provide more free boxes which come with information on how to access help on during grief.
PILSC is participating in the crowdfunding campaign with the government of Alberta, where donations made to the centre between March 1-29 will be matched. These funds will go directly towards curating more bereavement boxes.
Applications for the free bereavement boxes start April 1st and can be found at the centre’s website.