‘Lost a whole lifetime’: mother of lost newborn offers unity through support group


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Melissa Ippolito gave birth to her son Ryan in 2011.

“I had him and he was perfect. Beautiful, looked like his brothers, I could see the resemblance.”

He was born premature And lived only 55 minutes. Melissa said it was a lifetime lost.

“I remember the first few days after realizing, ‘I don’t know how I’m going to do this every day,’ because it was so raw and so rough and you don’t think you’re ever going to survive it.”

But she did survive it. Melissa said finding people who knew what she was going through helped a lot.

“With this unique kind of grief, we didn’t really fit in any other space. So we started meeting and going out for coffee and realized how beneficial it was in healing for us because we wanted somebody else to say, ‘me too.’”

Melissa and a couple of friends formed Face2Face, a support group specifically for families grieving a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss.

“I get to be Ryan’s mom in that meeting. I don’t really get to be that on a day to day basis. Thankfully I have two living children and I get to be their mom all the time. Everybody sees that and knows that. But I don’t often get to feel like Ryan’s mom.”

She said the group is there to listen or just to provide support. Her advice to parents dealing with this heavy grief:

“Here I am sitting here eight years later, I promise you it’s not always going to feel like this. It’s going to be hard but you know what, you’re gonna be okay. You’re gonna get to a place where you’re going to get to live your life again and not always feel this enormous weight.”

She encourages anyone dealing with this to come to a meeting. They’re held on the fourth Tuesday of each month.

For more information, you can email the group at F2FRochester@gmail.com or call (585) 454-9299.

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