Welcome statement

Welcome to OPPALS. There are a few important things to note which we hope will create a safe and comfortable space for everyone.

We set up this group because we wanted to provide the support we found lacking when we needed it. It’s a work in progress and we welcome your feedback and suggestions, at meetings or by email (please use the contact tab on this website).

We recognize that this is a highly emotionally charged topic and we ask you to take care of yourselves and each other during and after meetings.

Our meetings are discussion groups where we welcome honesty and aim to create a safe place to talk about how things really are for people who are experiencing something similar or have some understanding of this. We aim to foster a kind, compassionate and supportive atmosphere and ask for your help in that.

It’s inevitable that at some point, something may hit a nerve or strike the wrong note; different people find different things upsetting, it can take us by surprise, and it would be impossible for us to guarantee this won’t ever happen. We ask everyone to be mindful that what they share may be upsetting or triggering for others. If you feel upset by anything that comes up please let us know, and don’t leave with unresolved feelings, either talk to somebody here or speak to a loved one. It’s ok to leave the meeting before the end, or to take a break and then return.

We ask everyone to introduce themselves briefly at the start of the meeting but there is no pressure to speak during the meeting, it’s ok to just listen or to talk as you prefer.

We ask that you respect others’ experiences and maintain confidentiality, particularly, the personal stories people share in the group.

We welcome group members who have experienced loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy, from the earliest weeks to full term and loss of a child of any age. We value all experiences as equally valid, this doesn’t mean they are all the same. As a group, we do not compare or rank different types of loss and ask that those who attend respect this. Ultimately, our aim is to come together to share our common experiences of pregnancy and parenting after loss.

We will create space in every meeting to remember the babies and children we have lost. You can choose whether and how to participate in these moments. We acknowledge that these moments may be difficult and emotional and we will strive to make this space as safe as possible for everyone. However, the group is mainly intended to support people around pregnancy and parenting after loss. We do not wish to duplicate the work of other groups in the area who provide bereavement support.

Meetings will end at 9.10 pm, with the remaining time until 9.30pm to allow an opportunity for those who want to talk 1:1 or would like to find out where to go for further support, and some informal social time for those who would like this.