You never know just how many resources there are or how much information there is out there for bereaved parents until you become one. It’s like this silent community materializes out of the ashes of the life you thought you’d have. It’s hard trying to navigate it all when you’re feeling crushed by grief. It’s hard to stay afloat.
I created Amos’ Anchors to be a place where grieving individuals and their families and friends can come to find resources to hold fast to during their storm of grief: to find their anchor.
I hope that you will find a resource that brings you the kind of support, healing, and hope you need right now, and I’m so, so sorry for your loss and that this resource has needed to materialize for you.
My name is Kristen Biehl. I’ve been pregnant 8 times, and I have three living children. I began my journey into motherhood with the birth of my first son, Lucas, in 2013. After struggling with secondary infertility and two early losses, we conceived our second son, Everett, in 2015 via IUI and he was born safely in 2016 after a very stressful pregnancy. The summer after he was born, I had another early loss, and that winter miraculously conceived naturally with another rainbow baby.
May 4, 2018, our third son, Amos Atlee, was delivered from my body via D & E at 18 weeks gestation. Amos means, “brave, strong, carried.” Atlee means, “refuge: a condition of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or trouble.” Amos had passed away two and a half weeks prior, unbeknownst to me, in what is called a missed miscarriage. His body was so fragile they had to take him in pieces. For this reason, I never got the chance to hold him or see him, which was heartbreaking. Thankfully, the bereavement coordinator and nurses on staff were still able to get hand and foot prints for me. I treasure them more than anything else I have for him. They remind me often that he was real.
Three months after Amos’ death, I had another early miscarriage. Without answers or reasons for our losses, we continued on our path of trying to grow our family, bracing ourselves for what may be next, trying to be hopeful after such a difficult journey.
We successfully conceived in July 2019, and we met our daughter earth-side safely just after lock-down began for the COVID-19 pandemic on April 6, 2020. We named her Juniper Lee; Juniper means “lively and fresh” and Lee means “sheltered”. We chose her middle name in honor of her brother, Amos Atlee, whom we know helps to protect/shelter her from the other side of the veil.
You can read more about my personal journey through secondary infertility and my experiences with loss and grief on my personal blog: Mommy Sincerest and can also follow me on Instagram @MommySincerest and on Facebook. You can follow Amos’ Anchors on our Facebook page @AmosAnchors and also on Instagram @AmosAnchors as well.
Just as we have no answers as to why we struggle to conceive or maintain our pregnancies, we have no answers as to why we have miscarried so many times, and we never will. Not having answers has been one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn to carry. When we began to grieve Amos, I felt lost, yet again, at not knowing how to move forward, how to continue to exist, how to parent the child we’d left behind in the morgue.
When I walked out of the hospital on May 4, 2018, I knew I wanted to somehow make the experience of loss more bearable for other families. I didn’t know how, but I knew there had to be more I could do. After Amos’ death, the loss community really materialized from the shadows and held me up. I kept thinking to myself, “How did I not know any of these organizations existed? How can I make sure more people will know that they CAN get support and WHERE to get it?”
Four months after his death, I was driving to a support group at a local hospital when I realized I didn’t know where exactly I was supposed to be going inside the hospital once I got there. The handout my hospital had given me after I delivered that listed all that information had been left at home. So, I called the hospital I was driving to and spoke to the operator to figure out where to go. The operator had no idea. I almost turned around and went home. Thankfully, I called my husband, and he was able to locate the paper and give me the information. After hanging up with him, I thought to myself, “Sure wish this information was online somewhere…”
I wanted to make sure that anyone seeking help and support could find it easily, and I wanted to throw them a lifeline before they left the hospital and returned home to empty rooms with aching wombs, empty arms, and shattered hearts. A year after Amos died, AmosAnchors.org was born.
I have completed RTS (Resolve Through Sharing) Bereavement Training in Perinatal Death as well as Perinatal Bereavement Training through Beats for Bristol, and Perinatal Bereavement Photography training through Star Legacy Foundation and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. I am a Caring Companion at Franciscan Health Hospital, Indianapolis, an official affiliate photographer for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and the virtual support group lead for the pregnancy after a loss support group, Over the Rainbow, through Hannah’s Wish. I am also a board member of the Indianapolis area nonprofit Shades of Becoming A Mom, an organization focused on providing “resources, guidance, and support primarily to Black women grieving the loss of a baby in pregnancy or infancy. [They] serve to alleviate cultural barriers experienced by Black women during pregnancy, after delivery, and throughout the grief process. [Their] active presence in the local community and partnerships with medical professionals helps to improve maternal health outcomes for women and babies.”
This is a continuous project. Bereavement coordinators change often, as not only is it a heavy job, but healthcare workers tend to have a lot of internal movement within their employment. As their jobs shift, so do their titles. There are also new resources being born of other’s grief every year. I do my best to keep the information up to date, but if you know of any changes or additions, please be sure to email me using the contact us form in the website and let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.