Tarynn Backman is the best big sister. At just 10 years old, she’s kind, sensitive and protective of her outgoing little sister, 4-year-old Benson.
“Tarynn’s the most giving little person I’ve met in my whole life,” said her mom, Kayla Backman. “She’s the best big sister you could ever have.”
Kayla and her husband, Beau, dreamed of giving their daughter another little brother or sister to watch over.
You could imagine their excitement when in summer 2016, they found out they were expecting another child. With two healthy children, Kayla had no reason to expect she wouldn’t have a third.
Then 12 weeks into her pregnancy, she miscarried. Following the loss, Kayla suffered further complications leading to an emergency hysterectomy at just 30 years old.
She would never give birth to another child. The family was devastated by the news.
Through Sanford Health’s infant bereavement program in Bismarck, North Dakota, Kayla and her family were offered complimentary services to help them mourn their loss, including communal burial at the Garden of Peace in Fairview Cemetery. The opportunity to properly mourn helped Kayla and her family heal.
“That program was a huge deal for me,” Kayla said. “It was really a life-changer.”
Following the experience, Kayla and Beau wanted to give back and ensure the infant bereavement program would be available to help other families for many years to come.
“With everything that went wrong, it was such a traumatic experience,” Kayla said. “I had some amazing doctors and nurses who took such good care of me and my family. As awful of an experience as it was, they were so helpful.
“I’ll never, ever be able to thank them enough.”
Kayla and Beau made a $25,000 gift to the infant bereavement fund and created the Backman Family Endowment in honor of their children, Tarynn and Benson, and in loving memory of Baby Backman.
Kayla also wanted to help expand the infant bereavement program to give families like hers a physical representation of their lost child. She remembered how her grandmother, who was the coordinator of an infant bereavement program in Grand Forks, North Dakota, gave each family a teddy bear.
“There is a need as a mom to snuggle, hug and hold our baby,” Kayla said. “The teddy bear gives us something to hold onto when we need to but can’t.”
With the help of the Sanford Health Foundation, Kayla forged a partnership between Sanford Bismarck and Molly Bears, an organization that creates custom weighted bears for families who have lost a baby. The Backmans made an additional gift to ensure Sanford Bismarck families will have the option to order a Molly Bear at no cost.
“We want to be able to bring a little bit of comfort to a situation that is terrible, awful and already hard enough,” Kayla said. “Molly Bear helps families remember and honor that there was another baby there.”
Infant bereavement services
Donors like the Backmans ensure each family touched by the loss of an infant has the resources available to grieve and memorialize their child. In addition to the annual remembrance service and Molly Bears, this fund helps provide these and many more services:
- Education, support groups and other resources.
- Memory boxes for photos and other mementos.
- CuddleCot: By quietly cooling any size crib, the Flexmort CuddleCot helps parents spend extra time with their deceased baby.
- Bridget’s Cradles: Small knitted and crocheted cradles allow parents to hold a delicate infant born in the second trimester.
- Annual Christmas remembrance service: Held annually on Dec. 6, parents can hang an ornament of remembrance on a white Christmas tree.