Empty Arms Bereavement

Fall Newsletter!

Fall can be one of the hardest times. The start of September is always a time of transition, the weather shifts, the smell of wetness on the earth, and the beginning of the seasons changing again. For many of us, September is a constant reminder of the child who is not here with us, not heading to their first day of school, or riding on the big yellow school bus.

If you find yourself faltering, or in need of support, please remember that you are not alone. Our support groups are at the ready to be there for you, and Carol, Lexi and our other companions, are always here.

Support Groups
Here’s a reminder of our regular, monthly support groups.

  • Miscarriage Support Group meets the second Wednesday of the month from 7-9 pm at Owl and Raven in Northampton, MA.
  • Bereavement Support Group meets the fourth Wednesday of the month from 7-9 pm at the Baystate Outpatient Center Community Room in Northampton, MA.
  • Subsequent Choices Support Group is on hiatus at the moment. Carol and Lexi will facilitate a new group starting in November.

    * Please stay tuned to scheduling changes in November and December due to the winter holidays. Changes will be posted on our Facebook page, and blog.

Events and Fundraising
Alexandria’s Ice Cream Social
In July, Krystal and Larry Barnes hosted an ice cream social in honor of their daughter, Alexandria. The event was a huge success, and raised over $500 to support Empty Arms’ program and services. Thank you, Krystal and Larry — and thank you to our community!

Empty Arms is hosting two fundraising events in October. Please mark your calendars!

1. Trivia Night 2015!
We’ll be having our first ever Trivia Night at the Holyoke Canoe Club on Saturday, October 10th starting at 6:30 pm. 

How it works: You rally your friends and family, and sign up for a table for ten. (Or, you can sign up individually, and we can find a fabulous table for you). Each table brings its own lavish feast (including adult beverages) to enjoy. Your table attempts to answer as many questions as possible. You win more honor and glory than you can possibly imagine (if you win, that is).

If you’re local, please join us! We promise it will be a wonderful evening of fun. For more information, email our event coordinator and Charlotte Amelia’s dad, Greg Reynolds at gregreynolds99@gmail.com.

2. Family Portrait Fundraiser
We’ll be hosting our THIRD annual Family Photo Day on Saturday, October 17th. This is always a favorite event, and we’re incredibly grateful to the talented and amazing, Erin Long (mama of baby Birdie) of Erin Long Photography.  Erin will be offering 10 minute mini-shoots, and will donate a significant portion of her discounted price to Empty Arms. If you are interested, please email Beth at bethpellettieri@gmail.com, and she will send you more information.

New Blog Posts
Over the summer, we started two monthly blog series, and the response has been incredible. We’re continually grateful that Sara Barry (Henry’s mama; writing about early infant loss) and Charlotte Capogna-Amias (Mummy to her dear child, due August 24, 2015; writing about miscarriage, and challenges conceiving) share their stories, reflections and inner thoughts with us each month.

We are also opening up our blog to our community through our “Meet the Family” blog series. If you are interested in participating, or just simply find yourself wanting to share a poem, a story, a moment, please reach out. We want the blog to be an open space for our community. If you’d like to share a post or just have more questions, please email Beth at bethpellettieri@gmail.com.

Upcoming Fall Training
We’re hosting our two fall trainings for health care providers on November 17th and 18th.  Please save the dates!

November 17th from 4 pm – 8 pm (light supper will be served) 
November 18th from 8 am – 12 pm (breakfast snacks will be served)

Holyoke Medical Center, 575 Beech Street, Holyoke,  MA 01040 (Auxiliary Conference Room)

To register, or for any questions, email Carol at carol@emptyarmsbereavement.org.

About the Training
As healthcare providers, we often struggle with the “right” way to interact with families when their babies have died or are expected to die. Our apprehension can be our greatest stumbling block entering into situations of loss.           

In this training, we will look closely at the grief journey a family walks after the death of a baby and the ways in which the birth experience and the time a family spends with their baby shapes the road that will follow.

In this presentation, our speaker will look to spin our perspective on working with the bereaved to see that we hold a unique power to turn a very negative event into what can ultimately be a cherished memory. We will discuss the ways in which we present information and options to families at the time of loss and learn a myriad of strategies for helping families make the choices that are best for them at that time.      

The presentation will offer space for audience participation and will feature a panel of bereaved parents to offer their own unique perspectives.        

About our Speaker
Carol McMurrich, BA, EdM, founded Empty Arms Bereavement Support in 2007, nearly four years after the death during labor of her daughter Charlotte. A sociologist and educator by training, after her loss Ms McMurrich became passionate about the creation of community surrounding pregnancy and infant loss in a society that marginalizes death to an astounding degree. Empty Arms Bereavement Support was founded on the principles of first and foremost serving the families of Western Massachusetts whose babies have died during pregnancy or after birth, and secondly providing the support to caregivers who will be instrumental in those families experiences of loss.

Says McMurrich, “Grief is a constant evolution for all people, but for parents whose babies have died their grief rests on a foundation which is the brief window of opportunity they have to experience their pregnancy, their birth, and their baby. Care providers are often the only knowledgeable people present who are able to carefully help families shape this foundation, at a time when families are often deeply in shock and unaware of the lasting effects of the decisions they will make.”

McMurrich’s professional trainings are based upon her own extensive training with Share, Pregnancy and Infant Loss, Inc, her own research, and her eight years of work with hundreds of bereaved families across Western Massachusettsand beyond.

As always, check our Facebook page for current updates and support group information.


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