Today we had a guest speaker in our Health, Safety, and Nutrition class. Diana Sundwall from Infants Remembered in Silence (Faribault, MN) came to discuss her organization and the services that they provide to local families.
IRIS is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization that is dedicated to offering support, education and resources to parents, families, friends and professionals on the death of a child in early pregnancy (miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, etc) or from stillbirth, premature birth, neo-natal death, birth defects, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), illness, accidents, and all other types of infant & early childhood death. IRIS is funded 100% by donations and memorials.
IRIS ADVOCATE PROGRAM- This unique program is designed to assist parents from the time that they have found out that their child has died, through delivery, in the hours following delivery, and through the funeral. Advocates assist parents with a variety of services, including explaining delivery options, acting as a doula (labor coach), assisting with creating precious keepsakes and memories. This includes bathing and dressing the baby, to taking a variety of pictures, taking hand and foot prints, castings and much more. On an average an IRIS Advocate will spend 8 – 12 hours working with a family in the hospital setting and/or 4 – 6 hours working with a child in the funeral home setting. (Currently available only in Dodge, Goodhue, LeSueur, Steele, Rice and Waseca counties in southern Minnesota).
BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT PACKETS- The type of Packet that parents would receive is based on the type of death. Packet types are designed for early pregnancy loss (ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage etc.), stillbirth / neo-natal death / early childhood death. Each packet contains information on the type of death, poems, information for fathers, a book for grandparents, a pamphlet for family/friends, booklet on how to plan a funeral or memorial service, a journal, a listing of characteristics of bereavement, understanding grief, grieving as a couple, suggestion on creating loving memories, how to protect photos, a bibliography, newsletters and information on other services provided by IRIS.
CLOTHING SETS- Designed for infants 2 – 24″ in length. Each boxed set includes a hooded outfit (boy or girl), afghan/blanket/quilt, cap, a shell for baptism/blessing, baby bath, baby lotion, tape measure, a zippered bag for a lock of hair.
Our Early Childhood program has partnered with IRIS for ten years. As a community based learning project, the students in our Health, Safety, and Nutrition class sew memory folder sets to be donated to IRIS families in need. This has proven to be a meaningful project for our students, as well as for IRIS.