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Butterfly Boxes: Official launch and lessons learned

Posted by Mom Friends on

After a lot of hard work and with strong support from local community organizations and the birth and parenting community, we proudly share today that Butterfly Boxes have launched in our region to support families experiencing pregnancy and infant loss.

Where did this idea come from?

We always knew as Mom Friends that we would develop a special resource for families experiencing these devastating losses. By the time we launched the Mom Friends postpartum care kits in April, we had seen many close loved ones experience miscarriage and stillbirth.  We felt helpless to offer support beyond a hug and saying "I'm sorry, this sucks". Miscarriage has also hit close to home for the Mom Friends team with Aviva miscarrying in her first pregnancy, and Lisa losing her pregnancy in May - just one month after we launched our business.

We began talking to our friends in grief to ask, ‘what would you include in a resource box for bereaved parents?’ We took notes. A lot of notes. And we cried. And we still cry. And that’s ok.

Then we met Rachel and immediately we knew that collaboration was a must. Rachel and her partner have experienced two tragic losses. Much like Mom Friends, Rachel doesn’t shy away from stigmatised issue - she leans in. Along with her team of volunteers Rachel recently organized Ottawa’s first Butterfly Run, engaging over 400 community members to walk or run in memory of their losses and to grow awareness of pregnancy and infant loss in our city.

Rachel sat down with us one night over ice cream to scheme together a JustChange grant proposal. It turns out, it made the cut and we received funds from this awesome community group to get started!

What have we learned so far?

We have learned that pregnancy and infant loss is very common, and often the causes are unknown. We have learned that the experience is painful and unfortunately it remains largely stigmatised. Many people don’t know what to say or do to offer comfort to bereaved families. We have also learned to walk beside families who have arrived to our doors for the first Butterfly Boxes. It is nothing like when we gift a happy, empowering postpartum care kit. It’s raw, bittersweet and an honour to hand a Butterfly Box to a grieving parent.

We have also learned that the conversation is changing. There is a momentum, energy and enthusiasm for this project which has harnessed the efforts of birth practitioners, grieving parents writing sympathy cards, and a willingness of many to share the story of Butterfly Boxes to help spread the word. Basically, it’s going really well so far!

How do I get a box?

We are partnered with generous distributors who are in the local birth and parenting community. Visit the Butterfly Box page to learn more.

How can I support the Ottawa-Gatineau Butterfly Box Initiative?

The community support for Butterfly Boxes has been phenomenal and has kept our spirits up up up! Beyond the generous startup grant from JustChange Ottawa, this initiative relies entirely on volunteer time and community donations to ensure families have access to this resource in their time of grief. Donations are gratefully accepted.
Butterfly Box Miscarriage PAIL Stillbirth Supporting Friends

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