Host an Unspoken Conversation

Coming together to share stories of parenthood, pregnancy and loss.

Mural of women and children

Unspoken Conversations brings #UnspokenStories to life. At an Unspoken Conversation, participants come together in a small group to share stories of parenthood, pregnancy and loss. At these personal events, participants can share experiences, have honest conversations and meaningfully connect with one another.

Want to get involved? This toolkit has everything you need to know about hosting your own Unspoken Conversation.

HOSTING YOUR OWN UNSPOKEN CONVERSATION

Thanks for hosting an Unspoken Conversation! It takes people like you, stepping up, using your voice, sharing your story and being willing to listen to others to help tell real stories about pregnancy, parenting and loss.

An Unspoken Conversation can be an intimate gathering with your closest friends or with groups you’re active in (PTA, work groups, mom groups)–or it can be a larger community event. It’s up to you!

The first step is to think about who you want to bring together. Who in your life has a story to share? Then, invite those people to join you for a conversation!

PLANNING YOUR EVENT

Start with your guest list—the number of people you expect will help determine how big of a space you’ll need. A home, office or community space may work. Consider things like: access to public transportation; comfortable seats; space to talk freely and without interruption; and whether there will be food and drinks available or you want to ask people to bring some. Then invite your guests by email, text or even with an event on Facebook.

Location

Unspoken Conversations can take place at your home over a meal, at a local park for a playdate, or out at a restaurant or coffee shop. Be mindful that guests will be sharing personal stories, so consider how public or private you want it to be.

Provisions

Food brings people together, so consider providing food and drinks, or asking friends to bring something with them.

Date

When deciding on the date, be mindful of religious holidays and potential guest commitments. In order to maximize the number of “yes” responses you receive, you could ask your guests to confirm availability for two potential dates.

Invite

To make things easier, consider creating a Facebook Event to invite your guests to—this will help you manage RSVP’s and people can share ideas and plans around the event in advance!

HOSTING CHECKLIST

  • Create your Facebook invite and invite your guests!
  • Confirm your time and location.
  • Confirm food and refreshments.
  • Download and print the conversation starters provided below.
  • Send a reminder note through your Facebook event page (or via text or email) to your RSVPs.

DURING THE CONVERSATION

Everyone should have a chance to talk, eat and drink, and a chance to make new connections. What else should you remember to do?

Set some guidelines

Set some gentle guidelines for the conversation—this is a space to share personal and intimate stories, so discuss that as a group to make sure It’s a safe and inclusive space.

  • Ask people to step up and share and also to listen.
  • Acknowledge people’s experiences by responding directly to their story and be sure to thank people for sharing.
  • Use an icebreaker to get the conversation started.

Start the conversation

Use the downloadable conversation starters below or come up with topics of your own to get things going. Consider sharing the prompts with your guests in advance or printing up a copy for each person who attends.

Share on social

If people are comfortable with it, take pictures to post on social media. Discuss what attendees feel comfortable with regarding social media from the start. If you’re on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, be sure to tag @MarchofDimes and #UnspokenStories. By spreading the word about your Unspoken Conversation, you can show others that they are not alone and encourage more people to share their stories.

Download

CONVERSATION STARTERS

AFTER THE CONVERSATION

Everyone should have a chance to talk, eat and drink, and a chance to make new connections. What else should you remember to do?

Share your story on UnspokenStories.org.

Share your photos from your Unspoken Conversation. You can post them on your own social media channels and tag @MarchofDimes #UnspokenStories. Or feel free to email them directly to us at UnspokenStories@MarchofDimes.org and we’ll share them for you!

Encourage your guests to host Unspoken Conversations of their own–every group makes the community stronger. In addition to sharing this toolkit, you can offer to give advice or tips to people who are interested in hosting their own but don’t know where to start.

Encourage your attendees to take action. Consider downloading a postcard or emailing your elected officials with your #UnspokenStories as a group, asking them to put the health of all moms and babies at the top of their legislative agendas. Visit our Action Center to learn more.

Thank your guests! They came with open hearts and minds. So send around an email or a note, and make sure they know that you’re all part of something big.

Join the Unspoken Stories Facebook group and be sure to invite all of your guests as well!

Download

POSTCARDS

SHARE

Here are some sample social posts. Feel free to copy and paste directly from here or make them your own!

It only takes one story to know you are not alone. Join us for an honest conversation about our #UnspokenStories of pregnancy, parenting, and loss. 7pm this Thursday! #UnspokenStories

Silence shouldn’t be part of our journey into parenthood. Share your story with a community of people who understand what you’ve been through – join our Unspoken Conversation this Friday.

There’s power in our #UnspokenStories – it only takes one story like your own to know you’re not alone. Join me to talk about the challenges we faced during pregnancy at our next Unspoken Conversation.

Sample social graphics