Fundraiser for new moms who’ve lost pregnancies support group

Forget me Not Pregnancy Loss Support Program Art Exhibit and Sale Aug. 17

A fundraising event is coming up for an important new support group for moms who’ve lost pregnancies.

The Forget Me Not Pregnancy Loss Support Program Art Exhibit and Sale will be coming to Wetaskiwin in August, said program spokesperson Dr. Stiaan van der Walt July 19.

Van der Walt said the support group has wide support amongst Wetaskiwin clinics and providers, as Wetaskiwin Family Medical Practice, the Associate Clinic, Tower Clinic, Primary Care Network and Wetaskiwin Health Foundation are all collaborating.

The physician said health providers in the Wetaskiwin area have noticed a lack of services available for moms who’ve lost a pregnancy; van der Walt noted there are many resources for moms who deliver babies. “There’s a gap in our treatment of these patients,” said van der Walt at the Wetaskiwin Family Medical Practice.

Van der Walt said miscarriages and stillbirths are common; one in four to six pregnancies end in stillbirth or miscarriage and the physician noted some people don’t feel comfortable talking about the issue and added many moms who lose a pregnancy feel isolated and alone.

Van der Walt said a colleague’s wife, Mariette van der Werthuizen, lost a pregnancy and felt this way. She wanted to use her skills as an artist, which the artist had been using to explore her feelings, to help other women who felt isolated and alone. In addition, Dr. van der Walt’s mom, Chrismie Kirsten, also an accomplished artist, is coming to Canada from South Africa to exhibit her work as well.

The new program has two parts: a medical component through the PCN for women who’ve lost a pregnancy and have been referred, including self-referral. A nurse will follow up to gauge physical and mental health. The second part is a support group that meets once a month and will give moms who’ve lost a pregnancy to talk and explore art. ‘They’ll actually be doing painting,” said the doctor. The group will meet at the Parent Link building, so childcare will be available.

The art show and sale will be held Aug. 17 at the Old Train Station beginning at 6 p.m. There is a $20 cover charge that includes a glass of wine and appetizers, plus a silent auction. Photographers Hannes Brand and Dr. Colum Surgenor will also be exhibiting.

Proceeds will be donated to the health foundation for the program. Those interested in donating can contact the Wetaskiwin Health Foundation for further information.

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