The volunteers at Empty Arms Healthcare Charities know how difficult it can be for a family struggling with a pregnancy or infant loss to take the first steps toward healing.
That’s why they’re hosting the Remembrance Walk, a one-mile walk at Mount Hope Cemetery on Oct. 13 at 9 a.m.
Empty Arms volunteer and walk organizer Tara Smith, understands first-hand how important support is when a baby is lost.
In 2009, Smith’s family of three became a family of five when she delivered her son Nathan at 20 weeks. “I was in my fifth month and had complications,” Smith said. I was induced and delivered silently. We held him in our arms and kept him in the room with us all night until the funeral home arrived. That’s how I first found out about Empty Arms and how important that support is especially in the first few weeks when you feel so empty and so alone.”
The support Empty Arms provides comes in the form of a support group held on the third Thursday of every month from 6:30-8 p.m. at Husson University’s Commons Building, Room 325. In addition, the group provides information and advocacy to support families coping with loss, monthly night out events for members, and online support.
According to Smith, people suffering with a pregnancy loss or infant loss need to talk about their lost child.
“It might be painful or bring tears to our eyes,” she said. “But nothing makes us happier thank talking about our child. It’s important to acknowledge that we have another baby, it’s just that they’re in heaven. It brings joy to us to talk and know that we’ll keep them always in our heart. It’s OK if it brings tears to our eyes. It helps us heal.”
That’s what the walk is designed to do, Smith said.
“Mount Hope is where the first walk [in 2009] was held,” Smith said. “Mount Hope Cemetery is a beautiful place and a lot of us feel closer to our babies in that setting. And it’s a peaceful and comfortable place to walk. We hope the event also provides an opportunity for people haven’t had a loss to share support for those who have. We know that it can be hard to help, so come out and support [all the families].”
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, a main impetus for holding the walk in Oct. Two days later, is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
To register for the walk call Pam at Empty Arms at (207) 973-9045 or register through Facebook by searching “Remembrance Walk” under events. For more information on Empty Arms Healthcare Charities, visit www.empty-arms.org.