One in four women experiences miscarriage, but few have the chance to share their stories. Sadly, the emotional pain of pregnancy loss is something women often bear alone and in silence. And when partners, friends, and relatives cope differently, that can also have lasting effects on a marriage or family.
On May 9, 2016, Sara Britton became one of four. At 9 weeks pregnant, she had already chosen the name Olie for the child she and her husband, Brian, were eagerly anticipating. Britton describes the grief and loneliness they felt as “all-consuming.”
“Nothing can prepare you for what child loss actually looks like,” Britton explains. She didn’t want another family to feel the loneliness her family and she had felt. Because she wanted Olie’s existence to have purpose, Britton decided to create a “beacon of hope” to help other families. Together with her husband, she launched Olie’s Footprints.
Since it began, Olie’s Footprints has helped 1,307 families cope with miscarriage or the loss of a child. In addition to supporting families via social media, phone calls, emails, and other forms of communication, Olie’s Footprints offers “Keepsake” services. The organization assembles a unique package of remembrance items based on the information provided by the family that has experienced a loss. In addition, they offer remembrance packages such as sibling keepsakes, rainbow loss packages, and infertility packages.
After the keepsakes are sent, someone from the organization reaches out to the families about twice a year to check-in and offer support.
Olie’s Footprints’ theme for 2020 is “The Year of Giving.” Each month, the organization chooses a cause as a way for those who have received help to give back. In January, the nonprofit collected newborn and preemie clothing to donate to families who have lost a baby and are now expecting “rainbow” or “pot of gold” babies – babies born after a miscarriage. In February, the families that Olie’s Footprints has helped will be sending out Valentines to local children in honor of their angels.
Visit the website for other causes to which the organization is contributing throughout the year, to learn how you can help, or to make a donation.
Britton says that she remembers her loss every day but adds that the “tenacity, determination, and strength” of families whom they have met have been inspiring: ”We can do incredibly hard things together and offer hope to others.”