Group Helps Mothers Bear with Grief

From the News Archives of the New Brunswick Telegraph-Journal (Canada): first published on October 15, 2004

By David Kelly 

A non-profit pregnancy and infant loss organization in Saint John puts a lot of love into each of its projects.

Founded by Terra-Lynn Coggan, Bears for Bereaved Mommies offers handmade bears to mothers who would otherwise go home empty-handed following a pregnancy or infant loss. The group has also organized it’s first public event, tonight: a candlelight vigil.

"They deserve to be remembered," said Ms. Coggan, a victim of four pregnancy losses.

The idea for such an organization took root after Ms. Coggan's nephew, Riley Joseph, was born still last year.

After presenting Riley's mother, her sister, with a bear, Ms. Coggan thought all mothers who experience such a loss should have a gift to remember their child.

Ms. Coggan has given out about 10 more since that first bear one year ago. Each of the winged-bears is made by a volunteer and wears a pink and blue remembrance ribbon.

"We raise money through remembrance items that we make available to bereaved families," she said. "The money is then turned over to buy the materials necessary to run our organization."

Bears for Bereaved Mommies supplies all materials to volunteers making the bears.

Over the last year, Ms. Coggan has been extending the service to hospitals and local funeral homes with bereavement programs. One day she hopes Bears for Bereaved Mommies can gain national and North American status.

"We certainly would like to be able to have our numbers of bears we give out be a small number," she said, "but we want to make sure everybody who does require a bear after a pregnancy or infant loss is getting a bear."

To find out more, visit their website: click here 

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