New peer-led support group helps women with pregnancy loss and infertility
Summit County resident Gillian Keiner said she’s gone through a lot of heartbreak when it comes to pregnancy loss and infertility, but she was lucky enough to have an extensive support system of friends and family while dealing with this trauma.
In an effort to help those who might not have a support system like she had, Keiner connected with mental health nonprofit Building Hope Summit County to start a pregnancy loss and infertility support group called The Club That No One Wants To Be In. Keiner said the name comes from a common statement shared among women going through these struggles.
“I was lucky enough to have amazing support from friends and family, but … through my experience, I learned that a lot of women don’t have that,” Keiner said. “I’ve been wanting for years to help other women in that area.”
The support group kicked off at the start of November and has its third meeting planned for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 2, at Highside Brewing in Frisco. While the meetings have been held in person, Keiner said she is interested in expanding to a virtual option so more folks can be engaged.
“I honestly am baffled that this group hasn’t existed up here yet, because every other person you talk to unfortunately has a pretty sad story about trying to start or expand their family,” Keiner said. “But it’s exciting because I’ve dropped some of my postcards off at the (OB-GYN) offices, and they’re thrilled about it and tell me how needed it is. … I’m just hoping it helps people.”
Building Hope Executive Director Jen McAtamney said the nonprofit wants to do what it can to support the community’s needs, and while it already had several support groups for parents, Keiner took the lead in getting this one up and running because she saw the need for it. She encouraged anyone in the community who has an idea for a support group to connect with Building Hope to bring it to fruition.
“It really is our role to help make sure that supports are in place,” McAtamney said. “… We really hope that people will reach out and talk to us, and we’ll do what we can to provide those additional supports.”
Keiner said Building Hope Mental Health Program Manager Kellyn Glynn has been essential in helping her set up and spread the word about the group. The two connected through a therapist in the community who works with many local parents.
“Summit County can be, as we all know, a really isolating and hard place to be in general,” Glynn said. “And when you’re going through pregnancy loss or infertility struggles, that can also be a really isolating and lonely time for people, and it’s way more common than we think. The more that you talk about stuff and the more that you bring it about, it reduces that stigma and makes people feel like they can talk about it.”
Keiner agreed there is always strength in numbers and that coming together to support fellow women can help them get through hard times.
“While you don’t want anybody to be going through this, the fact is other women are going through it, and it’s very painful and helpful to speak with other people in the same or similar situations,” Keiner said.
McAtamney had a similar sentiment, noting that support groups provide opportunities for many folks to discover that they aren’t alone.
“Finding out that you’re not alone in your struggle has a palliative effect for people,” McAtamney said. “It’s just easier when you’re not alone walking that road.”
Anyone interested in participating in the peer-led support group is invited to reach out to Keiner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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