Lacombe citizen Jenny Hamborg is no stranger to loss and has now brought it upon herself to help those around her community deal and heal with loss, as she did.
Four years ago, Hamborg and her husband were elated to find out they were expecting a second child and quickly began coming up with ways they could announce it to their families that weekend which was Thanksgiving. On a holiday to be surrounded with happiness and joy, the couple’s excitement soon turned to worry when Hamborg found herself not feeling as well as she had hoped.
The couple wound up at the hospital after the holiday weekend; there they learned they had lost their baby.
After their loss, Hamborg felt that not everyone understood what exactly she was going through, and she wasn’t sure where to start healing.
“I was cast aside and told things, that although were true, didn’t help in the least. ‘You are young, you can have more,’ or ‘Be thankful for the child you do have.’ I couldn’t stop the comments, but I knew I could reach out to others who have been silently suffering alone,” she said. “Thankfully I found an online group and it was there that I began my healing journey. I was blessed to be able to be alongside them through their stages of loss: early, late miscarriage and stillbirth, and help them through their grief. I began to speak up.”
After finding the support group, Hamborg reached out to her church and provided brochures and donated books that listed scripture, local resources and how to support someone going through a miscarriage.
Then, in 2014, Hamborg and her husband experienced another miscarriage and with it, Hamborg decided she wanted to do more to help raise awareness in both her community and other communities as well.
“Pregnancy and infant loss are so close to my heart. I know so many that have gone through this journey, to be left feeling heartbroken, sad, and isolated. It is important to recognize the loss that they go through, and that they know they are not alone. I have been reaching out to the community, raising awareness in any way I know how.”
Hamborg created a facebook page and from there, care packages called Healing Hearts. These packages are given to the hospital when needed and then given to families who have experienced miscarriages or still births.
The care packages include a web site book listing local resources, pamphlets from hospitals, a journal and keepsake items to remember the child.
“I included flower seeds. That is special to include for parents to plant in honour of their little one so every year they can see the flowers sprout and grow and they are reminded. The candle ties into the flower seeds. Every year, October 15th is Infant Loss and Miscarriage Awareness Day, and so every October you can light a candle, not necessarily to light on October 15th but in memory.
“I went with what I thought was a good idea, and what I thought would be healing on my particular journey. Every person is different, and may find some of the items more healing than others, but I wanted to give a variety of things to reach out to provide support and love. Mostly so these women understand that they are not alone through their grief.”
Hamborg explained that a friend of hers works at the hospital, and lets her know when the packages are running low and when they need a new supply. Once Hamborg is notified, then she brings more packages to the hospitals to be used whenever needed. She has donated 11 packages throughout the past year.
“I was talking to one of my friends who works at the Lacombe Hospital and I pitched the idea to her. I know, when you have a stillbirth, there are things that they do for you but if you have a miscarriage, some people treat it as not a big deal. So, after talking with her, I put together a sample of a care package and made up a little booklet with information and what each thing meant. It was well received and it’s not something that gets handed out a lot but they are getting handed out.”
With the families’ privacy, Hamborg is not notified as to who the families are that will receive the packages.
According to Hamborg, her packages have been well received from those who have accepted them at the hospital, and she is hoping to help even more families deal with loss by expanding her packages to more local communities, staying with the theme of smaller towns.
“I’m actually trying to reach out to other communities as well, just smaller communities. I’ve reached out to Camrose, Wetaskiwin, Ponoka. Then I was hoping to reach out to Rimbey and Stettler, just the communities around here. I have not heard back yet from other hospitals but I’m hoping that this can expand and raise awareness with loss. Everyone handles loss differently but I know for me, it still hurts some days like on anniversaries.”
To learn more about Hamborg and her project initiatives, please visit her social media site at Healing Hearts at www.facebook.com/freetogrieve. She adds that for those going through a similar experience, it’s helpful to reach out and take the hands of those around them.
“Allow yourself to grieve, grieving is so important as is reaching out to others. It’s hard to suffer alone and it is so important to get the help that you need. No one should have to suffer alone.”