Empty Arms' Termination for Medical Reasons Support Group
WHEN: This group meets on the second Thursday of the month. If you plan on attending, please let us know! Occasionally meeting dates change (especially around holidays), so you can always take a look at our calendar for the next meeting dates, call/ text 413-570-0811, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Additionally, most parents who have chosen to terminate for medical reasons also attend our regular monthly bereavement meeting, and have found this setting to be equally supportive.
WHERE: Florence Arts and Business Building, 140 Pine Street, Room 2B (basement level). There is plenty of free parking behind the building. If you come in through the door that faces the church next door, we’re a half flight down on the right.
WHAT: This group is free and open to all families who have experienced the agonizing decision to end a pregnancy because of a life-limiting prenatal diagnosis. If you’re reading this, you know that this type of loss is particularly complicated. In addition to grief for the baby, many people struggle with additional guilt, fear of judgment, and trauma. This space is ultra safe, ultra accepting, and ultra compassionate. You and your story and your baby belong here. Please come.
ABOUT THE FACILITATORS:
Lindsey Rothschild: I had to say goodbye to my twin daughters, Flora and Bea, both of whom received catastrophic diagnoses. The devastating grief compounded with the trauma of trying to make sense of everything in a short period of time and having to make the most heart breaking of decisions of my life are experiences that have forever changed me. Learning to find a new normal has been a difficult journey and one that I can't even imagine without the support network of Empty Arms. The gift my twins have given me is the ability to walk this road with others. I’m so honored to be a co-facilitator of the TFMR group. It is a great privilege to make space for families facing this devastating loss and to be able to connect from a place of understanding.
Marisa Pizii: I have lived in the Pioneer Valley for 11 years, and I first met Carol in a MotherWomen training in 2009. In 2010, I ended my pregnancy with my son, Josiah, due to a difficult prenatal diagnosis. I'm thrilled to join the Empty Arms facilitator team and support families, especially those who have Terminated for Medical Reasons. I believe strongly in the supportive nature of community, and the power of this work in building support and healing. Community is at the heart of healing, and it was at the heart of my own healing journey.
Carol McMurrich: suffered the loss of her first child in May of 2003, a stillbirth following a cord accident during labor. In the early years she craved the company of others who had experienced losses and still feels nurtured and fulfilled by being part of a community of parents who have experienced the death of their baby. Carol has been to multiple trainings offered by Share, Inc. on compassionate caregiving, and is a trained MotherWoman facilitator. Though Carol has never had to endure the trauma of terminating for medical reasons, she holds special compassion for those who are faced with a heartbreaking prognosis and must go down this road.
TFMR Support Group Principles
At Empty Arms, we know that losing a baby is an isolating and devastating experience. When that loss is compounded by the difficult decision to end a pregnancy out of compassion for our child, support is crucial. 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. You and your story are safe here.
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 accept you all as you are, where you are. We know that people come to our groups with different backgrounds, belief systems, family makeup--and as facilitators and as an organization, we welcome those distinct differences. Similarly, we honor all losses, and we never compare one loss to the next. 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. We respect that each and every person’s experience is uniquely challenging in its own right. We ask that you hold all life experiences, as well as loss experiences, with respect.
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.