Pregnancy Loss Group Facilitator Training


Join Melissa Ming Foynes, PhD, and Amy Wright Glenn, founder of the Institute for the launch of a 4-part training structured to support, strengthen, and nourish current and future Pregnancy Loss Group Facilitators.

This training is open to the following:

*Those currently leading pregnancy loss support groups
*Graduates from the Holding Space for Pregnancy Loss training
*Mental health professionals familiar with supporting individuals through perinatal loss
*Graduates of the SBD (Still Birth Day) doula training program
* Graduates of Doula Training Canada’s IPLS Program

**If you do not meet any of the above prerequisites but believe you have equivalent experience and/or training that will serve as a foundation for our study, please reach out to Amy to describe your experience. Determinations about alternative ways to fulfill these prerequisites will be made on a case-by-case basis.

No interest payment plans and scholarships are also available. Contact Amy for more information.



We welcome you.

We welcome you as you hold space for bereaved parents. We bow to your courage and your commitment to this important and difficult work. Whether you are a seasoned bereavement group facilitator or you have yet to lead your first group, we welcome you to this training.

We gather live for four 2-hour modules powerfully and thoughtfully designed to support you in your journey to hold space for pregnancy loss bereavement groups ~ whether online or in-person.

This training is co-taught by Melissa Ming Foynes, Ph.D. and Amy Wright Glenn, founder of the Institute.

Participants gather live on the following Mondays:

September 7, 14, 21, 28

5-7pm EST

*All modules will be recorded and one need not attend live to participate in this training. 

Module One ~ Holding Space in a Group Setting ~ What does it mean to hold space? What is your intention when inviting bereaved parents to gather? Whether in person or online, the tenets of nonjudgemental listening, companioning, and presence, are fundamental to the creation of a safe container within which very difficult emotions, stories, and meaning making can be explored. Amy and Melissa will offer supportive best practices, hands-on practical tools, and wisdom drawn from their experience of working with groups to support you in learning how to more deeply hold space for grief in a group setting. A special emphasis will be placed upon the healing power of encouraging personal rituals and integrating appropriate rituals into a multi-faith and multi-culture group setting. Also, participants will be supported as they consider best practices in crafting the beginnings and endings of support group meetings ~ whether these are conducted on-line or in person.

Module Two ~ Equity and Justice Awareness ~ What does an examination of health care procedures/policies/practices reveal about systemic injustice in America today? Why do women of color have significantly higher rates of maternal and infant mortality, obstetric violence, and traumatic birth experiences? What about issues of economics, sexual orientation, and gender identity? How can facilitators learn to hold safe space in a culture that has not been safe for marginalized people? Melissa and Amy will explore various models of anti-racism/anti-oppression work that help facilitators navigate more mindfully their own inner landscape of pre-judgments. By coming to a deeper understanding of the complexities of discrimination, injustice and oppression, facilitators can work toward creating as safe and inclusive of as space as possible in their groups without perpetuating the kinds of harmful dynamics and experiences to which many have been exposed.

*For this module, Divya Kumar ~ psychotherapist specializing in perinatal mental health, trauma, and anti-oppression work will join us.*

Module Three ~ Confidentiality and Ethics ~ What does it mean to hold stories in confidence? What are the legal and ethical limits of confidentiality? How can group members participate in the creation of mutual agreements that hold stories, emotions expressed, and meaning making as sacred? Amy and Melissa will guide facilitators to understand their own legal and ethical boundaries and feel confident in setting the tone for a group wherein what is shared is held in supportive confidentiality. Furthermore, Melissa and Amy will explore the ethical obligations that facilitators have in terms of operating within their scope of practice and maintaining supportive, therapeutic interpersonal boundaries with those who gather.

Module Four ~ Facilitator Self-Care ~ Central to the work of providing supportive space for others is the work of nourishing authentic self-care. Those drawn to the task of holding space for grief tend to be highly empathetic and sensitive individuals who frequently give freely of their time, energy, and talent. But where does empathy and co-dependent behavior merge? Where does one cross the line between compassion and compassion fatigue? How do we attend to our own loss histories and process intense emotions that may arise in the context of this work? What self-care rituals can support facilitator longevity in this work? Melissa and Amy conclude this 4-part training with the central reminder that we must not overlook ourselves in the honorable task of holding space for others. Engaging in a self care assessment and developing a process for discerning changes in self-care needs over time will be an important component of this module.  Facilitators will be guided to prioritize their own well-being as a primary and ethical act in order to nourish longevity, effectiveness, and sustainability in the work of facilitating perinatal loss bereavement support groups.

NOTE: A One-on-one Holding Space Consultation experience is a required component to this training. The cost of this consultation is embedded in the tuition. All participants are responsible for setting up their confidential, individual session with a Holding Space Consultant during the course of the training and/or during the course of completing the training.

There are three required books for this training:


Holding Space ~ On Loving, Dying, and Letting Go
by Amy Wright Glenn

The Understanding Your Grief Support Group Guide: Starting and Leading a Bereavement Support Group
by Alan Wolfelt, PhD

Unspoken: Writers on Infertility, Miscarriage and Stillbirth
an anthology to-be-released in October 2020, advanced digital copies will be made available for this training



Suggested articles to read on pregnancy loss:

Holding space for pregnancy loss ~ 3 components for doulas to consider

Poems that honor the postpartum body following loss

When the baby dies: Advice for birth doulas who companion the bereaved

Unconditional Support: A day in the life of an abortion doula

On gratitude and grief: Mother donates 92 gallons of breast milk following pregnancy loss 

Miscarriage matters: In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month 

Giving birth to life and death 

Doula for the dying: Connecting birth and death 

Note on CEUs: Documentation of completion will be provided to all participants who have completed the course in full for CEU purposes. Please note that while these CEUs are not accredited, they may still be accepted by your state licensure board for licensure renewal, and we encourage you to check with your local board for more details. Attendees must attend 100% of all meetings and complete all requirements in order to receive a certificate for CEU purposes.



“Amy Wright Glenn knows what it means to hold space in both sorrow and joy. This is essential reading for those choosing to follow their vocation to be with the dying and the dead with compassion, mindfulness, and presence.”
—Lee Webster, President, National Home Funeral Alliance

“Amy Wright Glenn offers a deeply personal account of her journey as a daughter, mother, chaplain and doula. It should be required reading for those involved in end-of-life care, grieving, and healing.”
—Alexandre Rotta, Division Chief of Pediatric Critical Care Medicine at University Hospitals Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

“Holding Space does just that for each of us. In a clear, intimate voice, Amy Wright Glenn shares her own experience and wisdom and by doing so makes a space for her reader to develop the same. For anyone going through loss, this book will feel like a treasure.”
—Sharon Salzberg, Lovingkindness and Real Love



Melissa Ming Foynes holds a Ph.D from from the University of Oregon and she has completed fellowships at Yale University School of Medicine and the National Center for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder. Melissa is a clinical psychologist, national educator, and co-founder of a therapy practice specializing in complex trauma, grief, and loss. She has held academic appointments at Harvard University and Boston University. She has expertise in traumatic losses (e.g., loss of children, loss of loved ones to suicide, murder, illness, accidents, natural disasters) as well as grief and loss related to the perinatal period (e.g., birth trauma, obstetric violence, miscarriage, stillbirth) and pediatric medical complexities (e.g., cancer, autoimmune disorders). She also frequently consults with professionals who have experienced trauma, grief, and loss in the course of their work. She is deeply committed to working with people who have experienced discrimination, trauma and/or loss due to some aspect of identity like gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and religion. She has authored over 60 peer-reviewed publications, book chapters, and educational products, and has trained thousands of professionals. To learn more, visit:


Divya Kumar is a South Asian-American psychotherapist with a public health background and who specializes in perinatal mental health, trauma, and anti-oppression work. Her work connects clinical services with public health by addressing unmet needs in direct perinatal mental healthcare and the structure and delivery of perinatal support services. She is one of the Co-Founders of the Perinatal Mental Health Alliance for Women of Color, a program within Postpartum Support International that builds capacity within the perinatal professional community to better support individuals, families, and communities of color during the perinatal period. She is a Commissioner on the Ellen Story Commission on Postpartum Depression in Massachusetts and has also written several articles on the intersections of race, trauma, and perinatal mental health.