Empty Arms' Termination for Medical Reasons Support Group
WHEN: This group meets on the second Thursday of every other month. If you plan on attending, please let us know! You can call or text 413-544-5922, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, most parents who have chosen to terminate for medical reasons also attend our regular monthly bereavement meeting, and have found this setting to be equally supportive.
WHERE: Florence Arts and Business Building, 140 Pine Street, Room 2B (basement level). (There is plenty of free parking behind the building.)
WHAT: This group is free and open to all families who have experienced the agonizing decision to end a pregnancy because of a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis. Each of you know that this type of loss is particularly complicated. In addition to grief for the baby, many people struggle with additional guilt, fear of judgment, and trauma.
ABOUT THE FACILITATORS: Carol McMurrich suffered the loss of her first child in May of 2003, a stillbirth following a cord accident during labor. In the early years she craved the company of others who had experienced losses and still feels nurtured and fulfilled by being part of a community of parents who have experienced the death of their baby. Carol has been to multiple trainings offered by Share, Inc. on compassionate caregiving, and is a trained MotherWoman facilitator.
Marisa Pizii is also a MotherWoman facilitator, and facilitates support groups through the Prison Birth Project.
Bereavement Support Group Principles
At Empty Arms, we know that losing a baby is an isolating and devastating experience. In our meetings we support bereaved parents by naming the incredible challenges they are experiencing, knowing that this group is one of the few places where parents can speak the truth about the depth of their emotions and the details of their experience.
We believe that speaking the truth about the heartbreaking journey of losing a baby is essential. Healing comes through understanding what we have been through and what may lie ahead. By speaking about our experiences they can become integrated into who we are and allow us to move along. We celebrate breaking the silence that bereaved parents have been historically subjected to.
In these meetings we do not compare losses. We respect that each and every person’s experience is uniquely challenging in its own right. Regardless of the gestation or age of our baby when he or she died, we all hoped that we would have a lifetime with the child growing within us. Consequently, we all have the right to grieve our loss, and we support one another in our grief.
We believe that grief takes many forms. Emotions such as deep sadness, anger, confusion, longing, and even a sense of intermittent peace can all be normal parts of grieving. No one person grieves like another. We believe each person has the right to follow the path of grief they are most comfortable with.
We respect that each person has his or her own comfort level for sharing emotions and stories. We believe that the very act of coming to this group demonstrates each person’s commitment to their own growth and healing, whether they share a little or a lot. We believe that this extends into the greater world, where each bereaved parent should be liberated to share the pieces of their story and their child in a way that feels comfortable to them.
We believe that each one of you has the inner wisdom and courage to come out into a brighter place, without ever forgetting the baby that you lost.