Cradled Hearts' mission is to support mothers and families experiencing stillbirth or early infant loss through validation of grief, memory-making rituals, connection to resources, and education of the community.
We envision trauma-informed support and validation for all East Alabama families facing stillbirth
or early infant death.
Cradled Hearts' work emphasizes four main principles for families experiencing stillbirth and early infant death*:
Slow things down and hold the space around mothers and families as they process their loss and plan for their baby's welcoming and farewell
Validate their experience by reflecting back their feelings, whatever they may be
Provide options for welcoming, making memories with, and memorializing their baby
Follow up those options with resources available to them in East Alabama
When families receive this type of care, they are less likely to experience symptoms of trauma and complicated grief.
* Principles outlined at Stillbirthday by Heidi Faith
PRINCIPLES THAT GUIDE OUR WORK
WHO WE ARE
Cradled Hearts is incorporated in the state of Alabama as a 501c(3) non-profit charity. Originally a part of the East Alabama Birth Village in 2015-16, Cradled Hearts was incorporated in 2017 with the intention of focusing solely on serving local families of perinatal loss. Cradled Hearts' board and staff are committed to growing the non-profit to benefit the bereaved mothers and families of East Alabama.
"The loss of a pregnancy or death of an infant causes profound grief, yet society has long minimized or ignored this grief, which is among the most painful of bereavement experiences. Throughout the last century, research on grief and the special needs of bereaved parents has changed the context of professional intervention from protective to supportive. The central focus of bereavement interventions is to assist families in healing by helping them make meaning of their losses. The use of symbols, spirituality, and rituals has been shown to help bring meaning. Research has shown that memories are key to healing, and that gender, age, and relationships bring different grief expressions and experiences. While children's understanding of loss and grief differs with developmental age, they should also be given the opportunity to participate in grief rituals and practices. Professionals who care for bereaved parents have a unique opportunity to offer support by validating their grief, facilitating rituals, providing mementos, and letting the bereaved tell their stories. While no intervention can bring back their beloved children, appropriate intervention can promote healing."
Capitulo KL. Evidence for healing interventions with perinatal bereavement. MCN Am J Matern Child Nurs. 2005 Nov-Dec;30(6) 389-396. doi:10.1097/00005721-200511000-00007. PMID: 16260944.