Madeline’s Mission makes special delivery for grieving families

BRUNSWICK — A new Maine nonprofit that takes aim at helping those facing something no one wants to think about — the loss of a child — recently made a big delivery to Midcoast Hospital’s Materinity unit.
Launched at the beginning of 2019, Madeline’s Mission seeks to provide a path toward wellness, healing and hope for families surviving child loss.

Madeline Marzen
Madeline’s Mission delivered a Cuddle Cot Bassinet to the ward. The cot is a specialized crib that resembles a bassinet or “Moses basket” but has a cooled mattress pad that allows families to spend more time with their infant after a loss, allowing time for more pictures, bonding and saying goodbye.
“When the time is already cut so short with the loss of an infant who had not yet gotten a chance to experience the world, the extra time together as a family is truly priceless,” the organization said in a news release. Without the cot, families have a quicker goodbye because of body deterioration. Studies have shown that the extra time together is beneficial for the mental health of the parents and surviving loved ones. It provides a chance for grandparents, brothers and sisters to meet the new baby, and truly have a moment to say hello before saying goodbye.
“It’s hard to find the right words to express what having a Cuddle Cot would have meant to us after Michael was delivered,” said Kendray Rodriguez, whose son Michael was stillborn. “We were lucky, in that we were allowed to spend a few hours with him after delivery. We took turns holding him, took a few pictures of the three of us together. I even got to take a nap with him in my arms. And then they took him away… It was like losing him all over again. Losing a child to stillbirth takes so many things away from you, but the cruelest of those things is time. We had so little TIME with him.
“Cuddle Cots give families that time, and while time won’t bring a child back, it does give their family the chance to bond, grieve, and just BE with their child. That time has been shown — both anecdotally and in research — to be hugely important in the mental health and wellbeing of bereaved parents.”
Money for the Cuddle Cot was raised online and through social media. Many donated in memory of babies or young children gone too soon — including babies Quinn, Michael, Carter, Julian and Ella, and the organization’s namesake, Madeline.
Midcoast Hospital Midwife Suzanne Zimmerman helped coordinate with Madeline’s Mission to make sure the Cuddle Cot met hospital guidelines and needs.
“I am grateful to Madeline’s Mission for providing local, personal support to our grieving families,” said Zimmerman. “A Cuddle Cot is an invaluable tool that will allow parents and families the gift of unrestricted time to spend with their babies who have passed.”
Madeline’s Mission believes that no one should have to go through the grief journey alone and strives to provide compassionate, individualized services and connection to local resources enabling people to get the healing supports that they may desire following a loss. No matter in what way a child has been lost or is anticipated to be lost, Madeline’s Mission stands alongside to support families through that process from the time they identify the need; regardless of the circumstances of the loss. Madeline’s Mission is a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit.
“It’s a somewhat taboo topic in that no one wants to talk about surviving the unthinkable loss of a child,” said Amie Marzen, president of Madeline’s Mission and mother of the nonprofit’s namesake, Madeline. Madeline died at the age of 4 from a brain tumor. “However whether it is discussed or not, child loss does happen- and there needs to be supports in place to lift families during their darkest hours, especially after life returns to an unsettling ‘new normal’. We hope to be able to provide some hope and comfort to these families and let them know they’re not alone — and are always loved.”
The organization plans to continue to fundraise for additional Cuddle Cots for area hospitals that do not have them and have already targeted two more hospitals at need. For more infofmation, visit