Empty arms: The complicated grief of perinatal loss and how Beaumont can help

 Lots of lit tealight candles

Today, October 15, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

For many parents, the moment they learn they’re expecting, they begin to attach to their baby. They begin planning. Dreaming. Thinking about all they want and hope for their yet-to-be born child.

The greatest heartbreak is when there is a pregnancy loss. This loss is often devastating because it’s not only the loss of a child, but the loss of all the hopes and dreams parents had for their child. Intense grieving often follows.

Many parents who’ve suffered the loss of their baby find much comfort and support in Beaumont’s Looking Ahead Bereaved Parents Support Group, a group specifically designed to meet the needs of parents who’ve lost a baby.

How our group can help

Our support group focuses on the very specific loss involved in pregnancy, stillbirth or death of an infant. Our members find the group particularly helpful because they’re with others who’ve experienced a similar loss. Parents can really express the intensity of their loss openly.

Tips for your support system

Often family, friends and co-workers may mean well with their comments and reactions, but sometimes these are hurtful as well. Comments like “Your baby’s an angel in heaven now,” “It’s for the best,” “You’ll get pregnant again soon,” “Why are you still so sad?” are upsetting.

Instead, it’s best for family members and friends to just listen and be non-judgmental. The best response is often as simple as “I’m so sorry for your loss.”

It’s also helpful to recall and remember the baby who died. Refer to the baby by name. One of the greatest concerns that grieving parents have is that their child will be forgotten. Grieving parents want and need acknowledgment that their baby existed. That they are parents and their baby mattered and is remembered.

Join us

Our Looking Ahead Bereaved Parents Support Group is a drop-in group, so pre-registration isn’t necessary. Parents can come to just one group, or attend monthly. The group is facilitated by Judy Kotzen, LMSW, a medical social worker at Beaumont Health.

  • When: The second Tuesday of every month from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m.
  • Where: Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak in the Administration Building West (AB-West) at 3601 W 13 Mile Rd, Royal Oak, Michigan 48073. Enter in the Administration Building’s main entrance, then follow the signs to the private dining room on the first floor.
  • Parking: Park in the South Deck (green)

For additional information

Please contact Judy Kotzen at (248) 898-7219.

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