Florence mothers learning to cope with loss of their babies
Florence, S.C. (WPDE) —
Kim Lowery and Rebekah Strickland of Florence are good friends who share a common bond in the deaths of their babies.
Lowery's baby was stillborn at 20 weeks. She delivered him following 28 hours of labor in July of 2007.
"He had, like, an umbilical cord accident, basically. He just tied it into a knot and it just cut off his circulation. There wasn't anything they could have done or I could have done," said Lowery.
Strickland's five month old daughter, Miya, a twin, died due to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
"I've never been to a funeral. The first funeral I ever went to was my daughter's. The first deceased person I saw was my daughter. With her daughter, it being a shock to me," said Strickland.
October is a special month for both women. October is proclaimed as as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
The goal is "meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS and other causes.”
Both women gain strength from each other and through the support group, Hello Again.
It was founded by a woman out of Darlington County who lost her sons, ages 12 and 17 years old, due to a drowning in 2016 in Myrtle Beach.
The organization's website says , "Hello Again is a grief support group for parents who have lost children to accidents, illness, adoption, abortion or miscarriage. It is our mission to help one another heal through meetings, outreach and communication and offering a system and strategy to help heal and cope from day to day, month to month and year by year. It is our purpose and mission for you and your family to eventually say Hello Again to life and mean it!"
Strickland and Lowery said they're now able to talk about their grief, even though it still hurts them.
"It's painful. I say it's painful because people don't understand. And besides family and close friends that have been through it, like my parents, you know, they're there for me. Other people think , Rebekah's crazy. She just won't let go. She has to. I decorate her grave every chance I get . Mostly birthdays, her death anniversary, Christmas. I try to make it where it's a friendly thing and we decorate. And I think a lot of people think, she's never going to get over it. But even fives years later, it still hurts. It still stings," said Strickland.
Lowery said she initially didn't deal with her pain.
"I was devastated. But I didn't want to tell people how devastated I was, because they were looking at me like I was crazy. That's why this month is very important to me. It's also his birth month. When somebody passes normally, you still have, like, happy memories you can look back. But we don't have that. So, it's just very traumatic. The whole experience is very traumatic and being so traumatic, it's just a hard thing," said Lowery.
Both women have other children, but said they'll never forget their babies who died.
Lowery said, "Even though, my child didn't have a long enough life to impact other people's lives, he's still impacted mine. And it still is a child loss."
You can find out more about the support group Hello Again by clicking here.