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Group for Grieving Parents Starting

By Tricia Schug

The loss of a pregnancy or the death of a newborn baby is devastating. No matter when it occurs or what the circumstances are, it can take family members a long time to recover from the emotional impact.

Beginning Thursday, Sept. 20, Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital will start a grief support group for those who have suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a newborn baby. The group is open to parents in Lincoln County. Their loss does not need to be recent.

“Sometimes when a child is lost before they’ve had time to develop a life, our culture can make it seem as if it’s less of a loss somehow and a parent’s grief can be minimized. That’s why we’ve created this group, to give these parents an opportunity to meet with others who’ve experienced a similar loss, and to know they are not alone,” said Michelle Wuerth, licensed clinical social worker for Women’s Health at Samaritan Pacific Communities Hospital, and one of the group’s facilitators. 

Facilitated by trained social workers, the group will help parents understand the grief process, understand how everyone grieves differently, learn ways to remember their lost child as they go forward and to learn techniques for self-care and self-soothing. There will be opportunities for participants to talk about their loss in a safe and supportive environment.

Wuerth said the idea for the group came from counseling parents after such a loss. 

“Parents told me that they wanted to reach out to others as a way of honoring their baby, as a way of helping others learn from their own process,” she said.

“People need to make meaning out of something that is incomprehensible to them. We all have that need. We do the best we can to understand and move forward, but we need to make meaning out of the loss. This group will help them with that process,” Wuerth added.

The group is free to participants and will meet on the first and third Thursdays of each month for seven weeks, from 5:30 to 7 p.m., at the Center for Health Education, 740 SW Ninth Street, Newport. Light snacks will be provided. The group is open only to parents. Registration is not necessary.

This Healing After Loss grief support group for parents is being made possible by donations to the Samaritan Employee Caring Campaign through the Pacific Communities Health District Foundation. Learn how you can contribute to this project.