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PORTLAND -- The news this week that a Washington Congresswoman is carrying a baby with an often fatal syndrome raises the question of what kind of support is available to couples.

In the Portland/Vancouver area there are two groups, Brief Encounters and Compassionate Friends, that provide support for parents.

We teach how to parent a child who has died because we are still parents, explained Caroline Falcone, who leads support groups for Brief Encounters. Falcone lost a son six years ago, eight days after his birth.

It comes up every day, she said. At the grocery store you ll be asked how many children you have and that can be a complicated question when you ve lost a baby.

Falcone answers with the number three.

A year after losing son her Cyrus to a rare condition, she gave birth to her son Valor. Her daughter Serena is 8.

You don t get over it. You get through it, said Bev Waterworth, who leads a support group for Compassionate Friends.

Waterworth s support group brings comfort to parents, grandparents and siblings effected by the death of a child at any age.

If you can help someone else it can also help you to heal and grow, said Waterworth. She lost an adult son more than five years ago and is helped by memories of him.

Parents who lose a child at birth don t have that. They re robbed of that future, she said.

For those who don t know the pain of losing a child, the women offer this advice.

As a parent I know I never want my child to be forgotten so people shouldn t be afraid to bring up his name, said Waterworth. When you have a healthy baby, you want to share the child s story and talk about him. When you

lose a child the feeling is the same. We want to share the story of Cyrus and have people be okay with it, added Falcone.

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