At the close of this article is the Mentorship Agreement that all mentors and mentees will need to read prior to establishing a mentorship relationship.
The Mentorship Program
The mentorship program is designed to create a one-on-one relationship between a newly bereaved parent and a parent of the same gender who has had a little more experience in this path from grief to healing.
The relationship will last 3 months, from the first contact, and will consist of one email exchange a week, for the period of 3 months. Both the mentee and the mentor will be aware of the timeframe of their relationship, and both will know that they are expected to participate in exchanging a weekly email for no shorter and no longer than the three month timeframe.
To Find a Mentor
You choose the right mentor for you.
To find a mentor, first read through our guidelines here, then visit our list of mentors. You can contact mentors who you feel are a great match for your needs, and if any are not already in a mentorship relationship, they will email you to begin one with you. He or she will first make sure that you have read this article, as it contains the outline and expectations of the program. After that, he or she will contact you weekly via email, for a period of 3 months, to listen to you, encourage you, and learn about other aspects of your life, particularly things that you find enjoyable. He or she will help you identify tangible barriors in your process of healing, identify support systems and techniques for you to lean on, and help you identify your own inner strength as you find your way through healing. The goal at the end of the 3 months is to affirm to you that you are not alone, and that other parents have come before you on this journey from grief to healing.
Boundaries/Expectations/Exceptions (Mentorship Agreement)
Grief can bring with it a whole host of unexpected reactions, which can potentially serve to abuse the mentorship relationship and/or the mentor. For this reason, boundaries are important for this program to be successful. Basic expectations of this program include:
- respect for the once a week contact, and not to over-use this resource or the mentor.
- respect for privacy and space, and not to demand any more information from the mentor/mentee than he or she is willing to share.
- respect for time, and not to contact in a way that is disruptive to the other person’s life/lifestyle.
- respect for the duration of the mentorship program, and not to demand, beg, insist or pressure for additional time.
- respect for the mentor/mentee, and limit use of explitives or anything else that could be deemed inappropriate whenever possible.
- respect for the emotional limitations of the mentor, and understanding that he or she is not a licensed therapist and that more intensive support may be needed for your grief process. The mentor is not liable to perform or behave as a psychological professional, and he or she may suggest that you seek additional support if they believe it could prove useful.
- respect for differences between the mentor and mentee. Your mentor/mentee may have different beliefs than you, including but not limited to religion, faith, family, death, life after death, reasons for death. It is not a program requirement that you both align in every way, but both the mentor and the mentee reserve the right to terminate the relationship if these values/beliefs differences serve to be unproductive.
- respect for your self, and understanding that any threats to harm yourself or others is reason for the mentor to terminate the relationship, referring you to crisis hotlines and your local mental professionals for support.
- the mentor will check in with the Site Creator and their Mentorship Advocate(s) at least once a month for updates on the progress of the relationship, and together will determine the status of the mentorship relationship and in particular circumstances, will reserve the right to suggest supplemental resources and/or terminate the relationship if it is becoming toxic, harmful, or unproductive.
- both the mentee and the mentor should have access to their Mentorship Advocate(s) and to the Site Creator, and all extreme differences that prove to make the relationship unproductive should be shared with either the Site Creator or the Mentorship Advocate(s). The best way to do this, is to submit your reply at the end of the Mentorship tab.
- Mentors take their role very seriously. If there is a delay of 3 weeks in your communications, the mentor may be matched with another mentee, and you may need to re-enter your information to be possibly matched with another mentor. You can enter the mentoring program in this way a maximum of 2 times.
- If you complete your full mentoring relationship and would like to be mentored further, you can re-enter your information to be possibly matched with another mentor.
To Become a Mentor
Becoming a mentor is a great way to relate to another grieving parent, and to help you to see how far you have come in your own journey. It is a way to have a positive impact, get involved, and to allow your tragic experience to be used for good. No official training is necessary, it is free, fairly simple, and can be very fun.
- You must be a loss mom or dad, with at least one year of time from your most recent loss.
- You do not need to have had a “perfectly pretty” journey in your own grief experience, but a willingness to see that the difficulties and frustrations you faced can help provide insight, awareness and even prevention for another bereaved parent who may fall into similar steps.
- Engaging in “continuing education” through activities that are relevant to birth and bereavement mentoring is recommended. You can use our resource for guidance with this. The stillbirthday doula training is highly recommended but not required. The Psychological First Aid online resource is invaluable and strongly recommended. If you obtain certification through any of their programs (many are free), this will be highlighted in your bio section.
- The site creator reserves the right to request a letter of recommendation from a pastor, counselor, or leader in the pregnancy loss community.
- It is not required that you have had a pregnancy or infant loss, but that you have lost a child under the age of 21 years of age.
- After you submit your information, you will be added to the stillbirthday mentor list. It is up to you to check your email regularly to see if a newly bereaved parent wishes to begin a mentorship relationship with you.
- If you receive a mentoring request at a time you feel a match is not appropriate, you should help the mentee locate a stillbirthday mentor who is a better match for them. Reason for this referral should be clearly articulated that you believe the third party to be a better match to better serve the mentee – you should never imply an issue with the mentee, whatsoever.
- You must be willing to commit to exchanging an email with a newly bereaved mother/father weekly for a duration of 3 months. You should utilize our SBD Mentoring Activities as a guide.
- After a 3 month mentorship relationship, it is recommended that you take 3 months “off” before beginning a new mentorship relationship with another newly bereaved parent.
- You must be the same gender as your mentee.
- You should harness and promote positive relationships, resolutions, behaviors, and perspectives to the mentee.
- You should advocate hope and peace and overcoming negative effects of grief or loss.
- You should not foster or encourage violence, attacks (physical, verbal, or writing) or harboring feelings of bitterness, retaliation, aggression, depression or passive aggression.
- You should maintain the highest level of maturity, discretion, and discernment at all times in all communication with your mentee.
- You should uphold confidentiality and not share any information about the mentee with anyone, at any time, unless it is with the mentor advocates in regard to seeking additional insight into a concern.
- Physical location (state, province, country) will not be a barrior in matching mentors and mentees.
- You should not mentor more than one parent at a time.
- You do not need to give out your phone number to the mentee, and should not give out your address. Offering more to the mentee than a weekly email is at your own discretion but is not required nor expected.
- You are expected to update the Site Creator and your Mentorship Advocate(s) at least monthly through the course of each mentorship relationship, so that we can assess the progress and determine additional or alternative support as necessary.
- It is optional for you to join our Pregnancy Loss Mentors Facebook group to get updates on fun and exciting ways to engage your mentee in conversation in various topics both related and not related to loss and grief.
- Stillbirthday is not liable to any damages, whatsoever, to either party, in the mentorship relationship.
- What happens during the course of pregnancy loss, at any gestation, is in fact, the birth of a child. It is important to validate this experience for what it is.
- If we have additional skills, talents or services related to pregnancy in any way, that is run as a business, we do not use stillbirthday as an advertising front to pressure mentees to purchase goods or services.
- We understand that the form of contact made by stillbirthday mentees is through email. Therefore, we strive to visit our email regularly, and the group regularly. Willingness to serve is crucial to our role.
- When participating in our online group or in other communications, we will respond to each other in a manner that brings the most consideration to feelings (we are loss parents, too), while still cultivating an environment of exploration of ideas. Our mentor advocate leadership team decide individually and/or collectively on ways to navigate conflict resolution, including offering alternative perspectives or approaches and private consultation/mediation.
- The site creator reserves the right to request to be forwarded any or all email exchanges in a mentoring relationship or be CC’d in any email exchanges.
- All stillbirthday content is copyright protected. Ideas, conversations, and information learned through email updates, phone calls, any form of social media including our private online group, anything learned or derived through the website, or in-person contact between any members of stillbirthday (doulas or mentors) should maintain creative copyright protection; we will properly credit sources of content. Additionally, we will maintain confidentiality through each of these avenues as appropriate.
- We aim to connect the family with as many applicable resources as possible; therefore, we refer families back to stillbirthday for ideas, resources, and information.
- We strive to continue learning more about pregnancy loss through our online group and through self-study, so that we may provide optimum care to families.
- All services, including mentor services, are listed through stillbirthday voluntarily. There are no paid employees and the site creator and each mentor has the right to remove her listing at any time.
If you would like to become a mentor, simply click on the List Your Services tab, and follow the prompt at the end of the article.
Role of the Mentorship Advocate
The mentorship program is the longest support program offered by stillbirthday. As such, additional strong leaders are important to running a smooth program. Two mentorship advocates for mothers, and two mentorship advocates for fathers, help to run the Facebook mentorship group (Pregnancy Loss Mentors), including: helping to work through various obstacles to healthy mentoring relationships, giving tips, suggestions and resources to the mentors participating in the program, and offering counsel and advice in specific situations. Having two for each parent/gender helps to ensure that there is someone in a leadership role who is available and who can understand best the specifics that may be involved in a particular situation. You can email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our main mentoring page with any issues with the mentoring program.
Breaches of This Contract (by either the mentor or the mentee) and How to Share Concerns
Breaches of the mentoring agreement contract will be handled either by the site creator directly or by the mentorship advocates as a team, but resolutions to breaches are not limited to: referral to additional, professional support for the mentee, interjection/mediation by the site creator and/or mentorship advocates, termination of the mentoring relationship, mentor removal from the program. It is extremely important for mentees to know that you have a vital line directly to the site creator, to submit any complaints, concerns, compliments and feedback you have about the program and your mentor. Conflicts or concerns about a mentee or a mentor should be made confidentially with the site creator through the link given, and not made in a public, condemning, shaming or judgemental way.