Empty Arms' Subsequent Choices Support Group
WHEN: The Subsequent Choices meeting is scheduled monthly, and meets by request depending on who is interested in attending. We ask that if you're interested in attending, you email firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm that you'd like to attend on the scheduled date.
WHO: Any person who wants to participate in a conversation about pregnancy, adoption or surrogacy following a loss at any gestation. We try not to cover this topic extensively in our bereavement meetings out of respect to those who may not be ready to discuss another baby. If you are contemplating pregnancy, trying to conceive, beginning the adoption process, or pregnant and craving support, we welcome you to participate.
WHAT: Subsequent Choices meetings address the ways in which grief affects the journey towards another baby. Fear and hope coexist daily. One feels “different” from other parents anticipating a little one. In these meetings we explore where we stand: on pregnancy, on hope, on grief, on fear, on anticipation.
ABOUT THE FACILITATORS: Carol McMurrich, who lost her first daughter to a cord accident in 2003, went on to deliver four healthy babies in the next seven years. Each pregnancy was fraught with worry and drama, real and imagined, yet lit from behind with the most sincere and lifesaving hope. Walking this journey with families is one of her greatest privileges.
Lexi Walters experienced two miscarriages within a year's time, Lexi muddled her way through a beautifully healthy but emotionally complicated pregnancy with her son Arlo in 2010-11. Her wisdom and experience bring wonderful layers to the conversation.
Our principles, below, are the best way to communicate the shared values that are upheld at group meetings, as well as to give you a sense of what to expect from participants during the course of a given evening. Strict confidentiality is expected from all group members, and participation in the discussion is optional.
Subsequent Choices Support Group Principles
We believe in speaking the truth about the healing process when a baby has died, and this extends into the emotionally difficult process of welcoming the next baby into the family. We have all been through a tremendously difficult loss, and there may be few places where we can speak openly and honestly about what we are experiencing. We hope that you will speak honestly so that we can support each other as best we can.
We know that a subsequent pregnancy or adoption is both a blessing and a challenging experience. We explore these paradoxes: hope and fear, pain and joy, anxiety and hopeful anticipation.
Rather than avoid the fears that may come with a subsequent baby, we face them head on. We know that it is unrealistic to expect only hope and optimism after suffering such a substantial loss. We look for ways to separate our emotions from the facts and to find ways to find safety even in the face of such high stakes.
Feeling hopeful can feel difficult sometimes. Therefore, we hold onto hope for each other. We will have confidence that each of us has the ability to bring a new baby safely into the world. Know that you are not alone.
We believe that each of you has the ability to be a caring, loving, thoughtful parent; and that your loss will have changed you for the better as you re-enter the parenting journey.
We know that all parents need support, and especially the bereaved. We stand together in our pain, and moving towards hope.
Families who are involved with the Subsequent Choices group for an extended time may elect to continue to attend meetings with a small, quiet newborn. While we recognize that the presence of a new baby can be difficult for some bereaved participants, in the past we have found that many bereaved parents feel true hope and joy in seeing their bereaved peers moving into this next stage. Parents of a newly born baby who has followed a loss can also offer useful tips about the intense emotions of the birth and postpartum period, as well as offering a general perspective on parenting after loss. As the meeting is an RSVP meeting, participants would always be made aware in advance if a baby were to be present.
There are currently no babies in attendance.