Pregnancy, infant loss support group formed in Fulton County

By David J. Coehrs -

Sarah Lane had suffered two miscarriages, and wanted to connect with others who had experienced a similar tragedy.

The Wauseon resident found such a group in Blissfield, Mich., but thought it was unfortunate an identical service wasn’t available closer to home. So Lane and her husband Jonathon, her mother-in-law Alice Gamber, and another family member created Healing Hearts for Precious Angels to fill the local void.

The fledgling group devoted specifically to helping those grieving over a miscarriage or stillborn or infant death now meets the first and third Thursdays of each month at 7 p.m. at Gamber’s home at 8044 County Road 12-1 in Wauseon while it tries to find a permanent location.

“There are so many families and mothers that go through it,” Lane said. “Everybody grieves their own way, and it takes time. But everyone has to know that there are people that have gone through it that they can relate to.”

After suffering a miscarriage three years ago and four weeks into her pregnancy, she became pregnant again almost immediately. At nine weeks, her obstetrician couldn’t find a fetal heartbeat, and ordered an ultrasound. That’s when Lane learned she had lost twins.

She fell into a deep depression which lingered even after she later gave birth to two sons, Evan and Jayden. She reluctantly sought comfort through a local, more general grief support group. “I didn’t feel I could relate to anybody because they had lost older children,” she said.

Lane and a couple of family members then attended Tiny Purpose in Blissfield, the nearest support group held specifically for those who have lost infants during pregnancy or after birth. It filled her need, and offered extended consolation through an annual “Walk to Remember,” which featured speakers and a symbolic balloon release.

“It really helped me,” she said. “There were other people and families going through the exact same thing, and I wasn’t alone.”

Lane finally shook off the depression following the birth last year of her son, Ryder. She decided with her relatives to found Healing Hearts for Precious Angels so that anyone in northwest Ohio sharing her experience could find comfort locally.

“It’s definitely the most excruciating pain I think any parent could feel. Basically, we’re letting people know they’re not alone,” she said.

The meetings consist of a prayer and the opportunity to share stories of loss and grief. “We’ve had multiple people reach out and say what a good idea it is,” Lane said.

As a grandmother who has lost six grandchildren to miscarriage or infant death, Gamber said the ensuing sadness and depression are profound. She was astonished at being asked how she could become attached to a child she never knew.

“They don’t understand that as soon as they say they’re going to have a baby, you start having hopes and dreams,” she said. The second you hear they’re having a baby you start loving them.”

Family members who attended Tiny Purpose emotionally connected to the group, but were frustrated with the drive to Blissfield, Gamber said. That’s when they decided to form a local support system.

“There are so many people that this affects,” she said.

The group has had a slow start in its first two months as Lane and Gamber try to spread the word through flyers and a Facebook page. The founders are currently attempting to gain non-profit status and establish a permanent meeting place at an area church.

Lane said the group in Blissfield helped her immensely, and a local group can do the same for people in and around Fulton County.

“We can’t do anything without the community’s support,” Lane said.

For more information, contact Sara Lane at 419-388-4423 or Alice Gamber at 419-533-9239.

By David J. Coehrs

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.

David J. Coehrs can be reached at 419-335-2010.