The Early Pregnancy Loss Association continues to grow as it aids local healthcare providers in caring for women who have miscarried. Recently granted $7,200 from the Hillsdale County Community Foundation, the association is able to fund the distribution of informational folders, a miscarriage kit program, an updated website, as well as administration and marketing.
Describing the grant as a startup fund, EPLA Founder Emily Carrington said, “We’re really getting into a huge place of growth and stabilizing. It’s been a lot of ideas and planning up to this point, and with this grant, we will be able to take these ideas and plans, and start to implement them.”
Susan Stout, who works for the foundation, said that the grants must serve Hillsdale County residents.
EPLA seeks not only to aid, but to also help residents heal. Carrington founded the association in 2014 after her second miscarriage. Paying medical bills in the wake of the experience, she said that she wished women in her position never had to do the same, according to a past Collegian article. The idea for EPLA then began to form.
“We started with a couple meetings of 10 to 15 women gathered talking about their experiences, with many voices jumping in,” she said.
Since then, nearly 100 people have contributed in some way to the organization. They began by creating informational folders so women were not in the dark about miscarriage.
Maria Servold, who serves on the executive committee, said the folders include a “facts and myths” page. This helps women not to experience guilt because of mistaken beliefs such as, wearing pants that are too tight can cause miscarriage.
Now the EPLA has launched a drive for care kits, which will include basic care items such as feminine hygiene products — things that someone suffering a miscarriage wouldn’t want to have to make a Walgreens trip for, Servold explained. The kits will also include a small box so that families can bury the baby, which is often delivered even in early stages, and tiny 6” by 6” crocheted blankets to include with the boxes. Those who wish to donate can access an Amazon wish list, with all items sent to Carrington to then be put into the kits.
Next year, a memorial garden will blossom with purple tulips, a flower that symbolizes hope for Carrington, and is featured on EPLA’s logo.
“After I lost my first little one to miscarriage, I started buying a purple rose on due dates to take time to remember and honor my little one,” she said. “As we were developing a logo, we liked the imagery of the flower and the vase. Purple is a color that combines pink and blue, as often the gender is unknown. It’s symbolism of hope and spring and new life after a long winter, not necessarily hope for another child, but hope in something — weathering through a rough time.”
The tulip bulb fundraiser will end Sept. 28. Seven varieties of purple tulips are offered and will be sold 10 bulbs for $10. Buyers may also choose to donate their purchased tulips to be planted in the memorial garden.
While Carrington and the board members do not get to see EPLA’s impact first hand, nurses have told them that their resources are being used.
Carrington said, “It’s our hope they receive our information and heal and grow and move on. A lot of our volunteers have expressed thankfulness that this is happening, giving an opportunity and outlet to heal from their past grief.”