It’s a path no parent wants to walk. Down the hallway at Meritus Medical Center, beyond the chapel and through the doors leading to a beautiful garden with butterfly bushes bursting with purple flowers.
It’s the path that parents take to leave the hospital when they should have been leaving through the front doors with a newborn, but instead, their arms are empty.
“It’s a heart-wrenching thought, but it’s more common than people may think. In fact, 1 in 4 women experiences pregnancy or infant loss,” said Evelyn Kloos, of Meritus Medical Center’s women and children services team.
The grieving process for parents and families is a difficult journey that is often frightening, painful, overwhelming and very lonely. Families long for others to acknowledge and remember their baby, regardless of when the loss occurs.
Each fall, those who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or of an infant to stillbirth, miscarriage or other circumstances join to raise awareness of this tragedy, as October marks Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
At Meritus Health, the nursing and medical staff provide excellent medical care as well as compassionate emotional support to grieving families. Through the generosity of donors many programs and support networks are not only available but envelop Meritus Health families.
“One request so many families shared was for a dedicated space for reflection and remembrance, and out of that desire came the garden,” Kloos said.
“It offers a place of peace and solace for grieving families and as a beautiful tribute to the memory of their baby,” she said.
As families leave the garden, they are invited to place a small pink or blue stone to represent their child.
For those who are the lucky ones, and haven’t experienced a loss, but know someone who is dealing with that tragedy, there are some things you should (and shouldn’t) do.
Meritus Health offers the Labor of Love group to support and comfort parents who have lost their baby. The group meets at 7 p.m., the first Wednesday of each month in Robinwood Professional Center, Suite 122.