DUBOIS – The loss of a baby is heartbreaking. There are few words that can comfort and few people who may understand the pain.
During October, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, it is especially important to share the message that families grieve and live with their losses every day, according to Sharon Shattenberg, director of the Maternity Unit at Penn Highlands DuBois.
This is an appropriate time to remind families that we care. “Families may find it hard to heal after the loss of an infant,” Shattenberg said.
“All the hopes and dreams that come with having a new baby are lost. It can leave a large, empty space inside and it can take a long time to heal.”
Though medicine has advanced through the years, it is not perfect. Miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo attaches to a place other than the uterus), molar pregnancy (an abnormality of the placenta) and unforeseen complications can occur.
“The death of a baby is one of the most painful things that can happen to a family. I don’t think parents really get over it. They move through grief to healing. Time can ease the pain, but there is a place in their hearts and minds always held by this child. There is no amount of time allotted for grieving,” Shattenberg said. “Everyone heals at their own pace.”
The staff of Penn Highlands Healthcare know that a loss is difficult for families. In an effort to provide continued support and caring, the Hope After Loss staff in conjunction with the Maternal and Child Center at Penn Highlands DuBois are hosting a time of remembrance at 4 p.m., Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Central Resource Center, 204 Hospital Ave., DuBois, next to Penn Highlands DuBois West.
Hope After Loss is a program at Penn Highlands provided to help parents during the loss of an infant. Support is offered throughout the family’s time in the hospital and afterwards by nurses with special training.
At the event, parents will be provided biodegradable balloons upon which they can write a message, and following a time of prayer and reflection, the balloons will be released.
This event provides a place for those who have similar stories to gather, share and remember. “Many families grieve in silence,” Shattenberg said. “Their loved ones may not know how to reach out or what to say. Just being around others who have experienced the same thing is also a comfort.”
For more information about this event, please contact the unit at 814-375-2229.