Sentara Martha Jefferson HealthWise: Infant Loss Awareness Month
ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- Losing a pregnancy or a new baby can be heartbreaking and leave parents feeling lost and confused, but Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital has resources available to help.
October is Infant Loss Awareness Month, and during it, the hospital wants parents who have experienced loss to know they are not alone.
It has resources to help them with their grief.
"So many parents suffer in silence," said Tammy James, a chaplain at Sentara MJH. "Some parents don't talk about their miscarriage because they don't know who to talk to about it, or they feel like well this was so early on I shouldn't be so sad, but grief is grief."
Empty Arms, Full Hearts meets on the third Wednesday of each month at 7 p.m.
The group started seven years ago as a support group for parents who have either lost a pregnancy or have lost a child during the baby's first month of life.
"People can come as often as they want or as infrequently as they want, and find support from other parents who understand their grief," said James. "It impacts parents when you have anticipated a baby and you're so excited about being pregnant, and then you lose that pregnancy, it's devastating."
Statistics show that one in four pregnancies end in loss, so James says it's important for those experiencing it to recognize that they are not alone.
"Many of the parents talk about how much courage it took for them to walk through the doors, or as it is now, to sign onto Zoom, for a group meeting," she said. "It takes a lot of courage to be that vulnerable and to share your grief with strangers, but they all leave saying I am so glad that I came to this group because it helped me understand, it helped me normalize my grief and to get support through it."
James also wants parents to know support is out there and such groups will welcome them with open arms and no judgment.
"I would want people to know that they're not alone, that they don't have to hold this grief inside, that there are people to talk to that understand exactly what they've been through," she said.
The group hopes to return to in-person meetings sometime in the next six months or so.
Anyone looking for more information about Empty Arms, Full Hearts can contact James by sending a message to [email protected].