Miscarriage. It is a devastating experience in a woman’s life.
Long time friends and mothers from Connecticut, Laura Racanelli and Sharon Stenger both
trudged through that dark period of emptiness and despair and found a way to bring hope to
I recognized the devastation in Sharon’s voice immediately. The pain. The searching for
answers when there were none. The loss of innocence. The feeling of being alone. It was all
I thought, maybe I could help. Maybe I could make a difference. I confessed to Sharon that I,
too, had a miscarriage and she was not alone.
I’m not sure who cried more that day. Talking about my miscarriage and my feelings with
Sharon was cathartic, a huge release. Even though time had passed and I had two wonderful
children, it surprised me how much pain I felt.
Who knew when we met twenty years ago in college, became sorority sisters and stayed close
that we would share so much. This “miscarriage sisterhood” is a group we did not wish to join,
but life doesn't always turn out like you plan.
SHARON, REACHING OUT
My way of healing was to talk about my miscarriage; that and cry in the shower. I know
everyone has her own way, but that was mine. I think I was searching for something. I didn’t
know what, but I needed something.
Talking worked for me. I told my friend Laura. She always seemed so happy. Laura had a
great husband and two wonderful kids.
But Laura knew what I was feeling because she had had a miscarriage 4 years, 7 months, 2
weeks, 1 day and 10 hours before me. I felt pain for Laura. I also instantly didn’t feel so
A PLACE TO HEAL
Miscarriage is a personal tragedy that can leave a woman full of despair and loneliness. It is
unfortunately all too common. The facts are staggering. Almost 1 in 4 pregnancies end in
miscarriage; there are just about 1 million a year in the United States alone. But where does
one go to get help?
Laura and Sharon found many technical experts and websites, but all the facts didn't offer any
comfort and left them feeling cold and empty. Other sites let them pour out their emotions,
which left them drained. They found very few people knew how to offer comfort, and others
avoided the subject because they were scared they might say the wrong words.
“To us, there seemed to be a need to provide some guidance and tools as how to talk to and
console a friend who has suffered a miscarriage,” said Sharon. “There was a real need for
cope, hope and healing. So we created OurHopePlace.com.”
OurHopePlace.com has been established as a source enabling friends to help friends
overcome the devastation experienced during this personal tragedy. The website offers
support components which reach out to individual sufferers of miscarriage, as well as to
friends, spouses and partners of these women.
THE BRACELET OF HOPE
The corner stone of OurHopePlace.com is the bracelet of hope. The giving of the bracelet is a
ritual of sharing; one friend letting the other know she is not alone. The jade bracelet was
inspired by a gift Laura received from her mother after Laura suffered her miscarriage.
According to Laura, the bracelet changes meaning and function as you heal. “It ranges from a
distraction to a tangible symbol of hope,” she comments.
Laura offered more than understanding and words to Sharon during her crisis. She offered
her hope. “Laura told me about her bracelet and offered to share it with me,” Sharon recounts.
“Through my tears, I eagerly accepted. The bracelet was something tangible I could latch onto.
I could see how happy Laura was with her family and I thought maybe I could hope for that,
And the bracelet works, according to Sharon. “I found myself playing with the bracelet one day
and realized the world had turned back on for me!” recounts Sharon.
Linda Layne, cultural anthropologist and author of Motherhood Lost: A Feminist Account of
Pregnancy Loss in America, believes when a pregnancy is cut short, women are left hanging
betwixt and between. “Gift giving is a powerful way of offering support,” says Layne. “By giving
someone who has had a miscarriage a comfort item like those available through OurHopePlace.
com, one offers concrete acknowledgment of a painful loss which, more often than not, is
ignored or downplayed.”
Visitors to the website are invited to customize the “Cope and Hope Care Packages” --- with
items designed to console and promote healing for women suffering from miscarriage.
For more information, please contact SharonandLaura@OurHopePlace.com.
Photo by Fotoduck Studios
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