Empty Arms Bereavement


What birthing professionals say about our presentations:

"My labor and delivery unit (at MGH) recently had a professional training seminar with Carol McMurrich of Empty Arms. It was an absolutely invaluable learning experience. I’ve been a labor and delivery nurse for 18 years and this was by the far the most detailed and all-encompassing program related to perinatal loss and bereaved families. Although the program was moved from a classroom atmosphere to a zoom call, it was as equally impactful. The parent panel was fabulous and very moving. Carol was incredibly knowledgeable and really guided us to improve the language we use with patients and their families during such a difficult time. We all agreed it could have been a 2-day course and truly hope this can become an annual conference for our unit!”
— Juliet Pollander, Massachusetts General Hospital

“Carol McMurrich from Empty Arms Bereavement Support presented a program for our L&D staff nurses here at Massachusetts General hospital. Our audience...spanned a lifetime of experience as staff nurses, from 3 months to 34 years. We needed a personalized program that would fit the needs of our staff, within our education budget, and could capture and hold the attention of staff over 4-5 hours.

Carol over-delivered on all three fronts. From the outset of planning the program, Carol was accommodating and informative and helped us to understand her process. She helped us understand what we needed and wanted to provide for our staff. When we first met Carol, we were not sure where to focus our educational energies. She guided us, talked about programs she had presented in the past, and encouraged us to complete a needs assessment with our staff.

Over the course of many weeks, during which Carol was generous with her time, we discussed and planned our program. Then, after all our advertising, with every seat full and only 5 days before the event, we had to switch to an online platform. I was so disappointed and worried the program just wouldn’t be successful. Carol was the consummate professional, calmed our concerns, and pulled off what was one of the most engaging education days I have ever been involved in. What we planned to last 4 hours (abbreviated because we thought an online platform would dictate this) stretched to five hours with all the active participation and questions.

We could see staff leaning into their screens, raising their virtual hands, and using the chat to ask many questions. Staff rated the offering with high marks and are asking for Carol to come back to provide more education which we are planning on doing.”
— Elizabeth P. West, RNC MSN, Massachusetts General Hospital, Nursing Practice Specialist

Testimonials from staff, nurses, and directors from hospitals and birthing centers across Massachusetts

“Hearing the parent panel was beyond meaningful. Hearing their positives and negatives was so helpful. I now understand the value of letting them have their babies as long as they want and encouraging them to do things they may have otherwise declined. I learned better language to use with parents. Also it was nice to know how valuable it is for parents to bring blankets/clothing home. I felt like there is so much info it could be a two-day conference!!”

“The dialect used when dealing with a loss was extremely helpful. Helpful tips on what not to say, body language, and tone of voice are all important roles during this time of mourning. It was a great presentation and very helpful to have this knowledge prior to dealing with a loss. I believe this course should be mandated as part of birthing centers’ orientation instead of optional!”

“It was helpful to hear examples of specific wording to use to help guide grieving parents though options available to them. The importance of modeling how to hold/handle/talk to/about their baby. Take photos!”

“I was engaged at every moment of the presentation. I cannot express just how helpful the information was. Some things that stood out were how meaningful the mementos/blankets/photos are, especially regarding outfits/blankets the baby was photographed in, and to leave them dressed in a new outfit. I also found it extremely helpful how to word to families the importance and options regarding holding their baby and being more specific about how long they can be with their baby.”

“Learning ways to use supportive language that helps parents feel supported. Hearing some specific phrases that may help guide them through their grief makes me feel more confident in giving them care. The entire parent panel was amazing in hearing from their perspective.”

“I really enjoyed the presentation. Carol was a great speaker. She gave us things to say to families experiencing anything. I would love to take another class with Carol.”

"Thank you Carol for a truly wonderful presentation. You are a gifted speaker and you helped me view the loss through the eyes of the bereaved family. I read over your attached outline and will use it to help educate others – although I have encouraged everyone to attend one of your classes.”

“The patient panel was incredibly powerful and complemented the insight and info and tips that Carol shared during the first portion of the panel. This truly was an incredible presentation. Moving, powerful, informative, and so important. Thank you all!!”

“The panel was amazing. I really think we will use a lot of the information to improve our practice. There is always room for improvement in our nursing care and always more to learn. I honestly cannot give any suggestions for Carol and future presentations; even with the presentation being over Zoom. The whole day was excellent.”

Testimonials from doulas

“It was wonderful. Especially appreciate your story, the language you use,  the language to not use. I am sorry this happens to you. Thank you for helping us be more appropriate supporters for others.”

“These two hours flew by! So great. Thank you so so much.”

“This was fantastic. Thank you so much, for all you do. My own loss is what led me here, what you do is amazing.”

“This was so powerful, Carol. Thank you for your wisdom and support. Would love more of this!!”

"Thank you so much. This was so important and not talked about enough."

“Thank you!  I appreciate that you shared your own experience as well.  Such critical information!”