Washington, Mo. – In the earliest stages of pregnancy, happy couples are often making plans for the birth and life of their babies. Sometimes, though, tragedy strikes and their happiness is replaced by grief.
“It’s hard to know how many parents lose children to stillbirth and miscarriage, and that loss is just as great as losing a child by any other way. It’s tragic and contrary to our dreams and expectations of having a happy, healthy family,” said Jessica Steffens, RN.
At this time of the year, grief from the loss of a baby is often multiplied. “With the holiday season, we’re especially mindful of family and children, memories of our loss and what could have been, and the grief can be overwhelming,” said Steffens.
Steffens coordinates Mercy’s HeartPrints program and support group. The program provides one-to-one help to parents who have experienced the loss of a baby by neonatal death, stillbirth, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy or shortly after birth. The team offers support and comfort during and after hospitalization and as long as it’s needed to provide ongoing support through the grief process.
The HeartPrints support group meets every other month and is open to the community at no cost, no matter where families are in their grief and no matter how long it has been since their loss of a baby by neonatal death, stillbirth, miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy.
“Families who experience the loss of a baby during pregnancy or shortly after birth tend to feel isolated and pressured through the grieving process. This support group gives them a place to grieve in their own way, in their own time, and in a supportive environment with other families who have experienced the loss of a baby,” said Steffens.
Families who have experienced this loss and are feeling particular sadness as the holidays approach are encouraged to attend. The next support group meets at 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21, in the private dining room at Mercy Hospital Washington, 901 E. Fifth St. in Washington. For more information, call 636-239-8500.