The Empty Arms Group meets at Cooley Dickinson Hospital on the fourth Wednesday of each month from 7-9 PM. We meet in Conference Room D, unless there is a post indicating a change in meeting location. (To get to this room, go in the main entrance with the revolving door, down the big hall, and to the right of the big stairs. Follow the hall back, and follow signs to the cafeteria or cafe. You will start to actually enter the cafeteria and will see Conference Room D on the left.) Groups are free and open to all families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss at any stage.
Below, you will read the principles for the Empty Arms Bereavement Meeting. Our principles are the best way to communicate the shared values that are upheld at group meetings, as well as to give you a sense of what to expect from participants during the course of a given evening. Strict confidentiality is expected from all group members, and participation in the discussion is optional. We welcome phone calls before you attend a meeting to talk about what to expect, which might make coming to that first meeting a little less intimidating.
At Empty Arms, we know that losing a baby is an isolating and devastating experience. In our meetings we support bereaved parents by naming the incredible challenges they are experiencing, knowing that this group is one of the few places where parents can speak the truth about the depth of their emotions and the details of their experience.
We believe that speaking the truth about the heartbreaking journey of losing a baby is essential. Healing comes through understanding what we have been through and what may lie ahead. By speaking about our experiences they can become integrated into who we are and allow us to move along. We celebrate breaking the silence that bereaved parents have been historically subjected to.
In these meetings we do not compare losses. We respect that each and every person’s experience is uniquely challenging in its own right. Regardless of the gestation or age of our baby when he or she died, we all hoped that we would have a lifetime with the child growing within us. Consequently, we all have the right to grieve our loss, and we support one another in our grief.
We believe that grief takes many forms. Emotions such as deep sadness, anger, confusion, longing, and even a sense of intermittent peace can all be normal parts of grieving. No one person grieves like another. We believe each person has the right to follow the path of grief they are most comfortable with.
We respect that each person has his or her own comfort level for sharing emotions and stories. We believe that the very act of coming to this group demonstrates each person’s commitment to their own growth and healing, whether they share a little or a lot. We believe that this extends into the greater world, where each bereaved parent should be liberated to share the pieces of their story and their child in a way that feels comfortable to them.
We believe that each one of you has the inner wisdom and courage to come out into a brighter place, without ever forgetting the baby that you lost.
Please feel free to call Carol at 413-529-1610 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions.