For the People: Crown Heights organization With Love provides practical help and emotional support to women who are going through pregnancy loss.
by Anash.org writer
“I want to create an organization in Crown Heights that supports women who are experiencing a miscarriage.”
Those were the words Mrs. Chaviva Tarlow, a singer and mother of two, posted on a Facebook group with over 30,000 Jewish women in February 2019. The response was immense and immediate; suggestions and offers of help came pouring in. Women began sharing their own experiences of pregnancy loss, and what helped them heal.
It was clear that Chaviva was onto something, and there was work to be done. She started a gofundme and raised the seed money she would need to realize her vision.
Mrs. Shaina Wilmovsky is an accomplished teacher and mother who values her ability to make a difference. Her WhatsApp broadcast with letters from the Rebbe on emunah, bitachon and simcha reaches over 1000 people each day. When she heard about the initiative, she knew she wanted in.
Over the next few months, Chaviva and Shaina began meeting with a team of kallah teachers, doulas, and heads of various organizations to develop their idea. Less than a year later, in January 2020, they launched With Love, an organization that connects women suffering miscarriages with resources, practical help, and emotional support.
Chaviva knows firsthand the pain of pregnancy loss, and the healing power of loving and helpful gestures. Two years before her Facebook post, she had experienced a miscarriage. During that time, she received meals from friends and a care package, providing practical help and comfort. She felt fortunate for that support and wanted to pay it forward.
Following her recovery, she was surprised to learn that there were many resources available that she hadn’t known about.
“I didn’t think there was anything out there,” Chaviva told Anash.org. “I wanted to find a way to let women know what resources they could tap into. I also wanted them to receive meals, as I had. I was looking for a team of people who could help make it happen, and that’s when Shaina hopped on board.”
The two women work fast. In less than two years, the organization has expanded to provide far more than just meals. Every woman they help receives a beautifully put together care package. One generous donor sponsors a toy package for other children at home, and another sponsors a manicure, or some other form of pampering. All of this is done with utmost respect for privacy; a recipient can get help without even telling organizers her name.
They’ve also built a website with information about the organizations and resources that are available. A question and answer forum allows women to ask any question they have of a rav or kallah teacher, and receive an email response.
In addition to the practical help, the women behind With Love want others to know that they are not alone.
“We’ve had people we helped reach out to us later and offer to speak to others who might find a phone call comforting,” Shaina said. “We once connected two women who had suffered a miscarriage; they needed the chizuk and we suspected they knew each other. One of them later told us that this had been the best thing for her, to be able to speak to someone she knew who had experienced a similar loss.”
From time to time, various organizations organize support groups in Crown Heights, and they share that information with those they’ve been in touch with.
“I wish I had known how common it is, and that I was normal,” Chaviva said. “At the time, I didn’t know anyone who had experienced a miscarriage, and I felt like there was something wrong with me. I kept running through everything that happened the day before in my head, and I thought that it was my fault, that I had lost my baby because of something I might have done. Keeping it close to my chest didn’t help me heal.”
With Love’s latest project is a halachic guide on pregnancy loss which will soon be launched in collaboration with Mikvah.org. There are many questions that come up in relation to pregnancy loss, and this guide seeks to offer some guidelines and answers. It will also include a list of resources in the back.
They would also like to see similar organizations set up in other cities. “Anyone who wants to start a chapter in their community can reach out to us and we will send them resources and suggestions based on our experiences,” Shaina said.
Every detail of the With Love experience is carefully thought out. The website’s design is comforting and serene; the care packages are created with a personal touch. Freshly baked goods and flowers indicate to the recipient that this hasn’t been sitting in a box for months – it was prepared just for them. Even their logo is designed to give over this feeling.
“Our goal is not to take away the pain,” Chaviva said. “No one can do that. But we can help people feel a little bit better; we can offer a little bit of comfort.”