New peer-led support group helps women with miscarriages and infertility

Summit County resident Gillian Keiner said she had been through a lot of grief regarding pregnancy loss and infertility, but she was fortunate enough to have an extensive support system of friends and family. family while dealing with this trauma.

In an effort to help those who may not have a support system like her, Keiner has partnered with the nonprofit Building Hope Summit County to start a Pregnancy Loss Support Group. and infertility called The Club That No One Wants To Be In. Keiner said the name comes from a common statement shared by women going through these struggles.

“I’ve been fortunate to have incredible support from my friends and family, but… through my experience, I’ve learned that a lot of women don’t have this,” Keiner said. “I have wanted to help other women in this area for years.

The support group began in early November and its third meeting is scheduled for Thursday, December 2 at 5:30 p.m. at Highside Brewing in Frisco. Although the meetings were held in person, Keiner said she wanted to expand to a virtual option so more people can be involved.

“Honestly, I’m baffled this group hasn’t existed here yet, because everyone else you talk to unfortunately has a pretty sad story about trying to start or grow their families,” Keiner said. . “But it’s exciting because I’ve dropped off some of my postcards at the (OB-GYN) offices, and they’re excited about it and telling me how necessary it is. … I just hope this helps people.

Building Hope Executive Director Jen McAtamney said the nonprofit is keen to do everything possible to meet the needs of the community. . She encouraged anyone in the community who has an idea for a support group to connect with Building Hope to make it happen.

“It’s really our role to make sure the supports are in place,” said McAtamney. “… We really hope people will contact us and talk to us, and we will do everything we can to provide these additional supports. “

Keiner said Kellyn Glynn, director of the Building Hope mental health program, was key in helping her set up and market the group. The two connected through a community therapist who works with many local parents.

“Summit County can be, as we all know, a really isolated place and difficult to live in in general,” said Glynn. “And when you’re going through issues of pregnancy loss or infertility, it can also be a very isolated and lonely time for people, and it’s a lot more common than we realize. The more things you talk about and the more you do, it reduces that stigma and makes people feel like they can talk about it. “

Keiner agreed that there is always strength in numbers and coming together to support other women can help them get through tough times.

“Although you don’t want someone to go through this, the point is, other women go through this, and it is very painful and helpful to talk with other people in the same or similar situation,” Keiner said.

McAtamney had a similar sentiment, noting that support groups provide an opportunity for many people to find out that they are not alone.

“Finding out that you are not alone in your fight has a palliative effect on people,” McAtamney said. “It’s just easier when you’re not alone walking this road.”

Anyone interested in participating in the peer-led support group is encouraged to contact Keiner at [email protected].

Virginia S. Braud