Hope After Loss, formerly the Hygeia Foundation, is a community of women and men who grieve the loss of a pregnancy or infant. Through peer support, burial assistance, education, and awareness initiatives, we provide connections, comfort, and care to those who have experienced the loss of a baby.
Hope After Loss supports women and men who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. Guided by our values of compassion, acceptance, empathy, respect, and inclusion, we are committed to ensuring that no one who has lost a baby must grieve alone.
Losing a much-wanted baby can feel like being plunged into darkness. Finding your way out of that darkness is no simple task, but it is made easier when others extend their hands to help. As bereaved women and men ourselves, we reach out our hands to all those who grieve the loss of a baby, and we walk out of the darkness together. Honoring and remembering our babies all the while, we can help each other through our grief, and we can find light and hope in our lives once more.
Hope After Loss, formerly the Hygeia Foundation, was founded in 1995 by Michael R. Berman, M.D., then an attending obstetrician at Yale-New Haven Hospital and a clinical professor of obstetrics at Yale University’s School of Medicine. The original mission of the organization was to provide support via the internet to women and families who had experienced pregnancy loss or neonatal death. Over time, our website connected a community of over 24,000 registered users. It was the first support network of its kind led by a physician.
For several years, our support services remained primarily online. In 2007, we made a major leap forward as an organization when we began offering in-person bereavement support through a monthly peer-led support group in New Haven, Connecticut, for women and men who had experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant. This support group, and many other new initiatives, came about after the formation of our Parent Advisory Board, which initially consisted of five women who had each lost a baby. Over the next few years, the members of the Parent Advisory Board – which eventually grew to fifteen members – acted as volunteer staff members of the organization, taking on tasks as varied as setting yearly goals for the organization, recruiting volunteers, and hosting fundraisers.
Following the success of our initial support group, two members of our Parent Advisory Board, who had created a training program for our support group facilitators, began training additional facilitators so that we could launch support groups in the new locations. We were quickly able to expand the reach of our groups within Connecticut, and we were also able to begin to offer widespread one-on-one support via email and phone, a bereavement resource lending library, and many other services. As we expanded our Bereavement Support program, we also established our Burial Assistance program and our Outreach and Educational Programs for Professionals.
Today, our three programs form the core of our organization. Our work is led by two staff members, who oversee a strong volunteer corps. Our Parent Advisory Board has evolved into our board of directors, which now governs our organization. Together, we are committed to helping families who have experienced the terrible loss of a pregnancy or infant.