Woman helps families cope with stillbirth, neonatal loss through 'Footprints On My Heart'

Raynna Hammon knows the heartbreak of losing a child at birth. Her son was stillborn in 2019. After facing the loss of her son, she started a group to help families cope with the tragic loss. 

Hammon doesn't get to spend much time alone meditating. 

"I have nine kids at home." said Hammon. "I'm a foster parent as well. So, no I don't get to away without children often."

When she does, she often thinks about her son Jaxon. He died during birth in 2019. 

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"It's every emotion. You have anger, you have sadness, your hope, your loss, you test your faith. There's a lot of different things," Hammon explained. 

To help herself and families cope with the loss of a newborn, Hammon started "Footprints On My Heart." They provide free services for parents and their families coping with the loss of a stillborn or neonatal baby. 

"One in four women go through a pregnancy or infant loss," said Hammon. "It's not something that is talked about openly, and it's in order to help people grieve with their loss. It's important for us to be there to help with them through that." 

Hammon said talking about the loss is important in the healing process. 

"I went through not understanding why God did this to me and my family, so it tested my faith a lot," Hammon said. "It helps with making my family bonded better, though, because we're more open now with each other about our emotions than we were before." 

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The group works closely with hospitals to help families in crisis. 

"We have something called a cuddle cot, which is a bassinet with a cooling pad in it. So baby stays in the room with the family as long as they're in the hospital, so they don't have to be brought to the nursery and have that separation," added Hammon. 

The organization has girls night out, date nights and classes for the children to help bring families together. 

"We have our weighted bears that we do, which is we donate a weighted bear to each family that we help. That's the birth weight of baby," Hammon said.

Helping families navigate through their heartbreaking journey. The non-profit has helped 125 families in more than 20 states. If you need more information or would like to help visit, www.footprintsonmyheart.org.