February and March Newsletter

Support Group Meetings for End of February and March
All meetings are at our office in the Florence Arts and Business Building, 140 Pine Street, Room 2B, Florence, MA.

Wednesday, February 28th, from 7-9pm our Bereavement Support Group will meet.

Thursday, March 8th, from 7-9pm our Termination for Medical Reasons Support Group will meet. 

Tuesday, March 13th, from 7-9pm our Subsequent Choices Support Group will meet. 

Wednesday, March 14th, from 7-9pm our Miscarriage & Early Pregnancy Loss Support Group will meet. 

Wednesday, March 28th, from 7-9pm our Bereavement Support Group will meet. 

Join us for the first ever Empty Arms 5K! The Syrup Stampede will be held on Sunday, April 8 at 10 AM. Check out our amazing website www.syrupstampede.com for details and REGISTER TODAY!

Also, let us know If you're interested in joining our brilliant team of parent organizers to volunteer with publicity, prizes, pancake breakfast planning/organization, pancake breakfast cooking and serving, kids activities, waiver research, and syrup research!

Join us for a lovely afternoon at Painting With A Twist, to celebrate what would be Josie's fourth birthday. Sunday, April 15th from 4-6pm. Invite your friends to the event on Facebook, and RESERVE YOUR SEATS TODAY! Half of all proceeds will be donated to Empty Arms. 


As always, let us know if you have any questions, or if we can be of help.

Yours,
Carol, Sarah and the EABS Team

Support Empty Arms! Our first FRIENDLY'S Fundraiser!

Our Papa Gino's fundraiser was so INCREDIBLY SUCCESSFUL this year that we're DOING IT AGAIN!

Eat some ice cream. Join the Empty Arms' community for our FIRST EVER Friendly's Fundraiser!

WHEN: Tuesday, April 5th from 5 to 9 pm
WHERE: Friendly's, 54 Main St, Florence, MA 01062
WHAT TO DO: Join us for ice cream! When you're paying, give this certificate at check out, and Friendly's will give 20% of the proceeds from the night to Empty Arms!!

This fundraiser is also one of the beautiful ways we gather together -- share food, meet new friends, and build community.

Please note: Children and family members are welcome. Those who are newly bereaved should come knowing that any little ones who are present are those who are the siblings of those who are not with us. We hope that will make the experience seem manageable. Please drop us a note, if you'd like to talk about the event ahead of time -- or know what to expect.

We hope you can make it!
Carol, Beth, and the Empty Arms Team

Annual Papa Gino's Fundraiser!

Join the Empty Arms' community for our annual Papa Gino's Fundraiser

WHEN: Thursday, February 25th from 4 to 9 pm
WHERE: Papa Gino's, 301 King Street, Northampton, MA
WHAT TO DO: Join us at Papa Gino's, or order delivery. Simply hand the cashier this flyer, or tell them you're with us. Papa Gino's will give 20% of the proceeds from the night to Empty Arms!! 

This fundraiser is also one of the beautiful ways we gather together -- share food, meet new friends, and build community.

Please note: Children and family members are welcome. Those who are newly bereaved should come knowing that any little ones who are present are those who are the siblings of those who are not with us. We hope that will make the experience seem manageable. Please drop us a note, if you'd like to talk about the event ahead of time -- or know what to expect. 

We hope you can make it!
Carol, Beth, and the Empty Arms Team

Fall Newsletter!

Fall can be one of the hardest times. The start of September is always a time of transition, the weather shifts, the smell of wetness on the earth, and the beginning of the seasons changing again. For many of us, September is a constant reminder of the child who is not here with us, not heading to their first day of school, or riding on the big yellow school bus.

If you find yourself faltering, or in need of support, please remember that you are not alone. Our support groups are at the ready to be there for you, and Carol, Lexi and our other companions, are always here.

Support Groups
Here’s a reminder of our regular, monthly support groups.

  • Miscarriage Support Group meets the second Wednesday of the month from 7-9 pm at Owl and Raven in Northampton, MA.
  • Bereavement Support Group meets the fourth Wednesday of the month from 7-9 pm at the Baystate Outpatient Center Community Room in Northampton, MA.
  • Subsequent Choices Support Group is on hiatus at the moment. Carol and Lexi will facilitate a new group starting in November.

    * Please stay tuned to scheduling changes in November and December due to the winter holidays. Changes will be posted on our Facebook page, and blog.

Events and Fundraising
Alexandria's Ice Cream Social
In July, Krystal and Larry Barnes hosted an ice cream social in honor of their daughter, Alexandria. The event was a huge success, and raised over $500 to support Empty Arms’ program and services. Thank you, Krystal and Larry -- and thank you to our community!

Empty Arms is hosting two fundraising events in October. Please mark your calendars!

1. Trivia Night 2015!
We’ll be having our first ever Trivia Night at the Holyoke Canoe Club on Saturday, October 10th starting at 6:30 pm. 

How it works: You rally your friends and family, and sign up for a table for ten. (Or, you can sign up individually, and we can find a fabulous table for you). Each table brings its own lavish feast (including adult beverages) to enjoy. Your table attempts to answer as many questions as possible. You win more honor and glory than you can possibly imagine (if you win, that is).

If you’re local, please join us! We promise it will be a wonderful evening of fun. For more information, email our event coordinator and Charlotte Amelia’s dad, Greg Reynolds at gregreynolds99@gmail.com.

2. Family Portrait Fundraiser
We’ll be hosting our THIRD annual Family Photo Day on Saturday, October 17th. This is always a favorite event, and we’re incredibly grateful to the talented and amazing, Erin Long (mama of baby Birdie) of Erin Long Photography.  Erin will be offering 10 minute mini-shoots, and will donate a significant portion of her discounted price to Empty Arms. If you are interested, please email Beth at bethpellettieri@gmail.com, and she will send you more information.

New Blog Posts
Over the summer, we started two monthly blog series, and the response has been incredible. We’re continually grateful that Sara Barry (Henry’s mama; writing about early infant loss) and Charlotte Capogna-Amias (Mummy to her dear child, due August 24, 2015; writing about miscarriage, and challenges conceiving) share their stories, reflections and inner thoughts with us each month.

We are also opening up our blog to our community through our “Meet the Family” blog series. If you are interested in participating, or just simply find yourself wanting to share a poem, a story, a moment, please reach out. We want the blog to be an open space for our community. If you’d like to share a post or just have more questions, please email Beth at bethpellettieri@gmail.com.

Upcoming Fall Training
We’re hosting our two fall trainings for health care providers on November 17th and 18th.  Please save the dates!

When         
November 17th from 4 pm - 8 pm (light supper will be served) 
November 18th from 8 am - 12 pm (breakfast snacks will be served)

Where
Holyoke Medical Center, 575 Beech Street, Holyoke,  MA 01040 (Auxiliary Conference Room)

To register, or for any questions, email Carol at emptyarmsbereavement@gmail.com.

About the Training
As healthcare providers, we often struggle with the “right” way to interact with families when their babies have died or are expected to die. Our apprehension can be our greatest stumbling block entering into situations of loss.           

In this training, we will look closely at the grief journey a family walks after the death of a baby and the ways in which the birth experience and the time a family spends with their baby shapes the road that will follow.

In this presentation, our speaker will look to spin our perspective on working with the bereaved to see that we hold a unique power to turn a very negative event into what can ultimately be a cherished memory. We will discuss the ways in which we present information and options to families at the time of loss and learn a myriad of strategies for helping families make the choices that are best for them at that time.      

The presentation will offer space for audience participation and will feature a panel of bereaved parents to offer their own unique perspectives.        

About our Speaker
Carol McMurrich, BA, EdM, founded Empty Arms Bereavement Support in 2007, nearly four years after the death during labor of her daughter Charlotte. A sociologist and educator by training, after her loss Ms McMurrich became passionate about the creation of community surrounding pregnancy and infant loss in a society that marginalizes death to an astounding degree. Empty Arms Bereavement Support was founded on the principles of first and foremost serving the families of the Pioneer Valley whose babies have died during pregnancy or after birth, and secondly providing the support to caregivers who will be instrumental in those families experiences of loss.

Says McMurrich, “Grief is a constant evolution for all people, but for parents whose babies have died their grief rests on a foundation which is the brief window of opportunity they have to experience their pregnancy, their birth, and their baby. Care providers are often the only knowledgeable people present who are able to carefully help families shape this foundation, at a time when families are often deeply in shock and unaware of the lasting effects of the decisions they will make.”

McMurrich’s professional trainings are based upon her own extensive training with Share, Pregnancy and Infant Loss, Inc, her own research, and her eight years of work with hundreds of bereaved families across Western Massachusetts and beyond.

As always, check our Facebook page for current updates and support group information.

 

Trivia Night 2015!

Question #1: Which of the following do you associate with Empty Arms?

  1. Invaluable support groups that help bereaved families
  2. Amazing parents helping other parents
  3. A far reaching network of families that understand each other
  4. A really fun trivia night
  5. All of the above

Though it may surprise you, the answer is “5”. That’s right, Empty Arms is putting on its first annual trivia night fundraiser this Saturday, October 10th at the Holyoke Canoe Club. This event, which falls in the middle of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, will be an opportunity to gather our wider community together for an evening of fun, companionship, and fierce competition that will ultimately benefit Empty Arms and the families we serve.

Here’s how it works:

  1. People rally their friends and families and sign up for a table for 10 (or sign up individually and we can find a table for you).

  2. Each table brings its own lavish feast (including adult beverages) to enjoy before we test your knowledge. Potluck and BYOB means low cost, great food, and super fun!

  3. Your table attempts to answer as many questions as it can in different rounds. Most questions are read aloud with your table discussing and recording answers on paper (to be graded and scored after each round).

  4. You win more honor and glory than you can possibly imagine (if you win, that is)

  5. Empty Arms wins and is able to help families even more.

In addition to the trivia, there will be a raffle for some wonderful donated items on display. Also, if you don’t succeed at trivia, you could always win a prize for the most scrumptious dish, meal, or beverage.  

Information on Registration

Tables for up to 10 can be purchased for $150. You can then sell your seats to friends and family for $15/head. We will be selling tables on a first come, first serve basis, and we are limited to 15 tables so please make your reservations ASAP! If you have extra seats at your table, please let us know as soon as you can (for example, if you only have 8 people at your table) and we will fill your spots with “extra people”. On the flip side if you’d like to participate but don’t feel you have the ability to pull together a table please let us know and we’ll try to find you a spot at someone else’s table.  

Who do I contact?  

Email Greg Reynolds at gregreynolds99@gmail.com with your table reservation. Within a week of your reservation, we’ll need a check made out to EMPTY ARMS BEREAVEMENT SUPPORT to hold your table. If you want to sign up as an individual, please email Greg and we’ll put your name on a wait list to fill openings at other tables.

What are some other ways I can help?

We need lots of help with our raffle. We're asking our community to donate items, and for volunteers to help set up and host the raffle tables on the evening of the event. If you have items you can donate, things you can make, or want to try to solicit donations of gift certificates or items to raffle off, please contact raffle coordinator Haley Tyree at haleyrtyree@gmail.com 

We also need help in the following areas:

  • A creative volunteer to coordinate the tables-- we’ll need tablecloths and centerpieces for each table
  • A few non-trivia team members to help with the scoring
  • An enthusiastic people-person to walk around and sell arms-lengths of raffle tickets to all in attendance

Please think about a way that you can engage yourself in our community by helping out! This is sure to be a super fun evening, and we are really looking forward to having you there to share in the fun and friendship.

Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions you may have.

 Best,
Greg Reynolds
Event Coordinator
Charlotte Amelia’s dad, Empty Arms Board member

gregreynolds99@gmail.com
413-529-1610
413-687-1111 (cell)