“Did I cause this?” “What’s wrong with me?”
You have said it and experienced it, or you know someone who has. Many don’t know how to respond, move forward and feel failure, depression, anxiety and alone.
Stillborns and miscarriages are commonplace everyday. In the Jewish community, among more religious who get pregnant more often, it is more frequent.
Nechama in Hebrew means comfort. Meet the first organization of its kind to address comfort and miscarriage.
Nechama Comfort supports families of all Jewish backgrounds who have suffered pregnancy loss – from early miscarriage through infants up to age one.
They help wherever and whenever they are needed – the immediate family, extended family, and friends. The organization works with medical staff, hospital staff, clergy, and funeral homes to get families what they need, and educate professionals and communities on how to be supportive. Whether the loss was recent or a long time ago, they are there.
Meet Kiley Hanish
Kiley Hanish is an occupational therapist. She is also the mother of Norbert. Hanish is the co-creator is the film “Return to Zero,” starring Minnie Driver. Return to Zero is based her true story in which a successful, happy couple named Aaron and Maggie are expecting their first child, only to have their lives devastated when they learn that the child has died in the womb. It premiered in 2014 on Lifetime and won multiple awards.
Kiley talks openly of her experiences of watching her stillborn son carried in a cardboard box, being alone during the procedure, and her fears of completing a successful pregnancy afterwards. Luckily, she has a beautiful daughter. But, even to this day, she feels a loss of Norbert.
The organization also honored Elizabeth Savetsky, who I previously featured in a recent article:
The organization’s key goals:
Support families – Immediately at the time of loss, we help with making decisions and choices, and, as time goes on, coping with the loss and moving through it.
Educate communities – We run awareness programs that help remove the silence and isolation that surrounds infant pregnancy loss as well as providing community members with practical tools so they are better equipped to provide families the needed support.
Educate and train professionals – Clergy, medical professionals, mental health professionals, and funeral directors may not be trained to help most effectively. We work directly with them to help clients, as well as offering professional development training courses.
Guidance for medical personnel
Guidance for clergy
Jewish burial support
Individual and group counseling (phone and in-person)
Monthly support groups
Ongoing support including assistance during subsequent pregnancies
Assistance for families to find meaningful ways to move beyond their loss
Nechama Comfort was the brainchild of Reva Judas. Reva began counseling families informally after her first son, Pesach, passed away in 1987 just 12 hours after being born and after suffering 6 miscarriages. Fielding phone calls from distressed families around the world, Reva saw the unmet need for support and education. She soon recognized the need for a specific network to help deal with the unique challenges of the bereaved in the Jewish community.
Nechama Comfort’s services are not limited to religious Jews, and provides help to non-Jewish women and their families as well. They even provide general public information on how to address miscarriages and stillborn pregnancies for a conversation and community awareness. They provide professional training for anyone involved in the fields of medicine, safety and pregnancy, something overlooked in many educational programs.
For more information:
Cindy Grosz is a Jewish activist who promotes projects, products and awareness to everything Israel and of international Jewish concern. She represents celebrity spokespeople who speak up for and about Israel. She is also a contributor and Co-host on The Jersey Joe Show 710AM WOR, Sunday nights at 7 EST, or available anytime, anywhere through iHeart Radio.