There are few challenges in life that affect the emotion and dynamic of a family than the loss of a child. For expectant mothers, the potential loss of their baby in the womb is something that can be a source of concern and anxiety well past the first trimester. For Blue Mound, Mo.-area resident Emma Brown and her husband, Clint, the tragedy hit home as they lost their son Charlie 17 weeks into the pregnancy. But the couple has decided to turn the tragedy into an opportunity to be a blessing to others through their newly established not-for-profit organization called Charlie’s Light.
“We went to the doctor at 17 weeks to confirm whether his sex was male,” said Brown. “During that appointment in Liberty, the nurse explained that Charlie did not have a heartbeat. It was very tough, because he had been growing fine up until that point.”
Brown said she had experienced a headache in the week before but knew she had an upcoming appointment. Ultimately, it was discovered that Charlie died of heart failure in the womb. According to the March of Dimes, 1 in 5 pregnancies will end in miscarriage between 13 and 19 weeks. While many find themselves paralyzed by such a loss, the Browns decided to turn that loss into an opportunity help others.
“I really didn’t have a lot of support around me at that time. But I remember receiving a small and simple box with some notes and materials that helped me through that time,” said Brown. “Then some months later I learned that the company that provided this box was no longer doing it. We thought it would be a great opportunity to be a support for others when they face this kind of loss.”
Brown delivered 10 such boxes recently for families who experience a miscarriage or still birth at Fitzgibbon Hospital. She delivered the first set of 10 boxes to Hedrick Medical Center in Chillicothe in November 2022. She plans to continue to make and distribute the boxes to local hospitals to be help families facing such a difficult event. Brown also plans to make this project an ongoing donation as hospitals have the need.
While content in the boxes may change depending on the season and availability of the supplies, the boxes generally include:
“Charlie's Light is about bringing as much comfort as we can to parents who have lost a child. Our main mission is to help grieving parents who don't know where to turn,” said Brown.
To learn more about Charlie’s Light or to find out how you can help, visit the organization’s Facebook page at facebook.com/charlieslight2022.