Pregnancy is a time of great expectation for most families—expectation for life, love and the expansion of family.
When those expectations are not met, the joyful prospects of new life can change to despair and grief. For the Rose family, starting a support group was a way to cope with their sorrow over losing their baby Maggie—who died seven years ago shortly after her birth from trisomy 13, a catastrophic chromosomal abnormality.
They founded the Maggie Rose Perinatal Bereavement Program after suffering their loss.
"The program's mission is to support families who suffer an adverse prenatal diagnosis, neonatal death, or pregnancy loss at any stage," Alessandra Rose explained.
Perinatal loss can refer to a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, having a stillborn child, the experience of neonatal death, the death of a twin during pregnancy, labor, birth, or following birth, giving a child up for adoption or terminating a pregnancy for medical reasons.
Maggie's brothers, Harry, now 14, and Charlie, now 12, and a group of their friends have planned a party and fundraiser to benefit the Maggie Rose Bereavement program, which is administered by The Bereavement Center of Westchester, which also coordinates The Tree House program providing bereavement support to children.
"The program operates exclusively on donations, so fundraising is essential," said Rose. "My husband Clayton and I are beyond touched that Harry, Charlie and their kind and talented friends have put this together."
The event is at at 333 North Bedford Road in Mount Kisco on Tuesday June 19 from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. The tickets are $20 and include a light dinner and a free t-shirt while supplies last. There will also be raffle prizes awarded. Advance registration is not required.
Many families throughout the region have benefitted from receiving support, according to Rose.
Sheryl Scalzo started attending the group one week after losing a baby girl, Reilly, while still carrying her twin sister, Kaitlyn. She said she experienced an array of emotions—including sadness, anger and fear.
"Many people in my life were afraid to mention anything about Reilly, and didn't really know how to respond to my emotional state," she said. "The group gave me a place where I could express myself and receive support."
While it can be difficult for people to understand the pain of a perinatal or infant loss, the group can help families in a range of situations cope with their emotions through the immediate loss and for years afterward.
"I am four years into my journey, and I still grieve," said Scalzo. "As a volunteer for the program, I have the opportunity to help and support other families, and honor my daughter Reilly while doing so."