A guest post by Tara Shafer

After my son was stillborn, I remember a sea of flowers. I remember my mailbox full of cards. This support meant such a great deal to me.

But I, like others, felt alone. Looking back, the isolation I felt was something similar to the isolation those who loved me felt. It was the flip side of the same coin. After my son died, there was this yawning chasm. It swallowed up so much of me – so much of those who wanted to love me and love my husband. Each beautiful bouquet expressed a wish to connect. Each card was a signpost in the desert.

Enter Give InKind, a crowd-caring site designed to educate, assist, and empower.

Helping after loss is so difficult. It is so hard to know what to say. Loss stops so many more conversations than it starts.

As PALS families know, a longed for pregnancy after loss can be terrifying. Those who rush in to offer congratulations don’t always understand the degree of complexity associated with a pregnancy after loss. Women continue to gestate grief as much as a subsequent pregnancy. They continue to mourn for their lost baby. They train themselves to trust again, as their longed-for babies grow.

When I was offered the chance to work for Give InKind founder Laura Malcolm, I immediately said yes. Laura and her husband James Kocsis are loss parents and Give InKind is inspired by their daughter Layla, who was stillborn in 2013.

Give InKind is a site by loss parents for loss parents. It was recently listed in Forbes Magazine as one of the top ten early stage female-founded startups of 2016.

Give InKind offers a custom calendar designed to offer assistance – meals, home care, childcare (if there are living siblings) and more. This calendar can be shared with support systems both near and far. Meals can be signed up for and then food sent. There are curated giving guides for families in need. Wishlists of items suggested by those who have been there can be built. So too are there articles so that those who may not know what to do or say can learn more about loss and how to help. Parenting topics range from loss at any gestational stage to pregnancy and parenting after loss.

The site touches on many topics. But the beating heart at the center of it all is beautiful Layla who lived for only a short time, but whose legacy is changing lives.

Please consider building a page for a bereaved or a bereaved/expectant family. Give InKind welcomes content and product suggestions. Please reach out if we can help in any way.

Tara Shafer is Editor-in-Chief of Give InKind. She is a contributing blogger for Psychology Today, BabyCenter, and the Huffington Post. Her work has appeared in the New York Times and on National Public Radio.

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