2019 Guide to Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Activities around Columbia


tealightsOnce again, Fall has snuck up on me, probably at least in part because of the warmer-than-normal weather we’ve been having. With our neighborhood pool still open and ninety-degree days this past week, if it wasn’t for the fact that my favorite pumpkin patch was unloading a truckload of fall beauties yesterday, I would not have realized the new month was upon us.

October. Which for me means Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, recognized since 1988, with October 15 designated Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

This month honors, remembers, and raises awareness of the more than 20,000 deaths in infancy every year, and the one out of every hundred pregnancies that still end in stillbirth, and the 15% of all pregnancies that still end in miscarriage (the loss of a baby before the 20th week of pregnancy). Put it all together, and the accepted statistic is that one in four women have experienced the loss of a baby in pregnancy, plus those who experience the heartbreak of a child dying in infancy.

I have walked this road five times now — three losses between my two living children, and two more in the years after my son was born. Only with my first, my daughter Naomi lost at nearly 19 weeks, did we have a funeral. With my others, I cried at home . . . and then went on. Nothing to bury, nothing concrete to mourn, although in each case, I was very aware of what exactly I had lost — not my “pregnancy,” not “products of conception,” but my child. And the future I had expected to have.

In spite of how common pregnancy loss is, it is still seldom mentioned in everyday conversation. But when I wear my bird’s nest necklace, with beads for all my children, or wear the bracelets with the names of my little ones in Heaven, and get into conversations with random people in the grocery store – I hear those stories. When parents contact our Naomi’s Circle ministry looking for support, I hear those stories. And especially during the month of October, if you look and listen, you will hear those stories. Because this is our month – our time to say our babies’ names out loud and to remind people that yes, they lived, and yes, they mattered.

One hope for October is that by sharing our stories this month, we can do so more freely in the other eleven months of the year, too. The silence over pregnancy and infant loss has dissipated a lot over the years, but it is still there, and it makes a hard time even harder when you feel like you are going through it alone.

But you’re not. And here in the Midlands are several events this year where you can meet others at different places on the journey called Loss. All are free of charge. If you know of others, PLEASE comment below and let us know!

Monthly Support Groups

Naomi’s Circle

Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019

Time: 6:30–7:45 p.m.

Naomi’s Circle has two support groups meeting at the same time. The Parenting/Pregnancy After Loss Support (PALS) group is for women who have experienced one or more losses, and are either pregnant or have another living child (born before or after loss). Women without living children are welcome, but babies may be present. Conversations focus on the mixed emotions that come with pregnancy or parenting after loss.

The HOPE Group is for parents who have experienced a recent loss, whether or not they have living children. Men and women are welcome. No minors come to HOPE group meetings. Conversations focus on the experience and emotions of loss during pregnancy and infancy.

Both groups meet at Spring Valley Baptist Church in the Platt Educational Building on the 2nd Thursday of the month, from 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. Sometimes the groups meet together and sometimes separately, depending on the needs of those present. This month, both groups will meet together and we will have a special time of remembrance and candle lighting. Free childcare is available without advance registration, but knowing that you are coming helps us plan. For more information, write to [email protected] or call 803-728-1162. If you cannot come but would like a candle lit in memory of your baby, you may email this request.

Memories Support Group

Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019

Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.

A support group for parents who have experienced the loss of a miscarriage, stillbirth or early newborn death. Meets in the North Tower of Lexington Medical Center on the second Thursday of every month at 7 p.m. For more information, contact Corrine Barbian at 803-781-1003.

Art of Coping with Loss

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Time: 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.

This support group meets at Vive Church (2620 Clemson Road, Columbia, SC) on the fourth Tuesday of every month from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. It is sponsored by Dunbar Funerals and Cremations Northeast Chapel and led by Dr. Dee Gulledge, who uses the arts for grief expression. For more information, call 803-788-6310 or 803-730-2220.

Wee Remember Support Group

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Time: 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.

Meets at Palmetto Baptist Hospital at 6:30 p.m. on the fourth Tuesday of every month for parents who have experienced infant or pregnancy loss. For more information, call 803-296-5636.

Ongoing – see the Naomi’s Circle Support Groups page for additional information.

Special Events

Candlelighting Service

Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019

Time: 6:30 – 7:45 p.m. (during the regular Naomi’s Circle Support Group meeting)

Meets at Spring Valley Baptist Church (91 Polo Road) in Northeast Columbia in the Platt Education Building (which is accessible from the lower parking lot). This event is free and no preregistration is required, but it helps us plan when people register via our Eventbrite link. Free childcare (provided by trustworthy, screened workers) is available, but please let us know you need this if you are not a regular attender so we can have sufficient coverage. For more information, contact Kristi Bothur at [email protected].

Heart and Hands Forever Memorial Walk

Date: Sunday, October 13, 2019

Time: 3 p.m.

This memorial walk, sponsored by Palmetto Health Richland and Palmetto Health Baptist, is for all parents, families and friends who have been touched by the loss of a pregnancy or death of an infant. No preregistration is necessary, and there is no charge to participate. Meet at the Laurel Street entrance to Riverfront Park. In case of rain, the service will be held at the Palmetto Health Baptist Auditorium at 1501 Sumter Street in downtown Columbia. If you would like to meet up with the Naomi’s Circle group, contact [email protected] for details on where to meet. For more information, call Rosalie Blair at Palmetto Health Baptist at 803-296-5636, or Leitha Morgan at Palmetto Health Richland at 803-434-8454.

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Sunday

Date: Sunday, October 13, 2019 (although can be held any Sunday in October; feel free to adapt this to your religious tradition)

Time: Varies

Recognized by various churches around the Midlands and the nation as a time to stand alongside families impacted by pregnancy loss and early infant death by doing three simple things:

  1. Place a bouquet of yellow roses on the church altar.  If you would like, consider including a label on each one with the Naomi’s Circle website to provide more information for bereaved parents, or add this information to your bulletin.
  2. Announce in the bulletin, “The bouquet of yellow roses on the altar is in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and in prayerful support of all families touched by such a loss.”
  3. From the pulpit, at an appropriate time in the service, invite anyone touched by this kind of loss to come to the altar after the service and take a rose home. If this is announced earlier in the service, remind them again before dismissal.

To invite your house of worship to participate, see Naomi’s Circle for additional information.

If there is another special event for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month that you would like to share with others, please tell us about it in the comments. If you have said goodbye to a child, and would like to share his or her name, or just “Baby ____”, on our Forever Loved Wall, please feel email us at [email protected].

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Kristi is a pastor’s wife, mother, writer, and former public school teacher for English for Speakers of Other Languages. She grew up all over the United States as an Air Force brat, but moved to Columbia in the 1990s to attend Columbia International University, and has called the Midlands “home” ever since. Her days are kept full with the antics and activities of her children - homeschooling, church activities, American Heritage Girls, and Trail Life - as well as writing and leading her Columbia-based pregnancy loss ministry, Naomi’s Circle. Kristi is a contributing editor for “Rainbows and Redemption: Encouragement for the Journey of Pregnancy After Loss” (www.rainbowsandredemption.weebly.com) and a co-author of “Sunshine After the Storm: A Survival Guide for the Grieving Mother“ (sunshineafterstorm.us). She shares her thoughts about faith, family, and femininity on her blog, This Side of Heaven (www.thissideofheavenblog.com).


  1. Right Direction Church International formed Expecting Miracles in 2012 for the purpose of serving as a spiritual support group for women and families who desire children. Our participants desire prayer as well as biblical and practical teaching in areas related to overcoming infertility, high risk pregnancies, supernatural childbirth, and maneuvering through adoption.
    This small group meets the first Monday of each month at 6:30pm. The location is 3506 Broad River Road, Columbia, SC. Upon arriving to the church campus, park and enter the RDCI Social Center on the right. For more information, contact the church office at 803-798-1230.


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