I am grateful for my training and affiliation with Empty Arms, a non-profit organization offering peer counseling as well as miscarriage and bereavement support groups to grieving families in Western Mass, Southern Vermont and Connecticut.
Erin's first-born child, Birdie Amiina Ruby Newman-Long, was born still on March 3, 2007. Erin generously offers her talents as a photographer to grieving families and has been a cherished member of the Empty Arms community since its inception.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Your baby matters, however brief your time together. After a miscarriage, stillbirth or death of a child, you may feel you've entered a new and isolated world, unsure of how to share your loss with other people in your lives. Profound sadness, anger, confusion, fear and shame are just some of the emotions you might be experiencing.
Adding to the shock and pain is a culture that doesn't know how to support or talk about grief, and even close friends and family members may be uncomfortable, uncertain how to approach you. Understandably, many mothers and families struggle to find a way to honor their pregnancies and the baby that is no longer with them.
Whether it's talking through different options for memorializing your child, performing a small, private ritual, officiating a public funeral ceremony or celebration of life, or designing a tree planting in your own backyard, together we can find a way to honor your loss and celebrate the baby who has so deeply changed your lives.
"I can't thank you enough for the sacred ceremony you created. Your warmth, sensitivity and ability to accommodate anything I envisioned was such a relief."
There is no timeline for grief; there is no blueprint for loss. There is no "right way" to feel or act. You may ask someone to take photographs, hand and footprints. You may want to diaper and dress your baby, or wash their hair. You may not have anything tangible of your child, or it may be too painful to look.
Your grief will be your own, and it will change with time. Initially, it may feel far too painful to be witnessed. But at some point - whether it be a day, a week, a month or a year later - you may yearn to be seen in your loss, to acknowledge your baby and to mourn with others.
Rituals create sacred space to express your emotions and process your experiences in a concrete and meaningful way. Memorials and funeral ceremonies can incorporate cultural, religious or spiritual traditions as well as universal principles of compassion, healing and hope. Baptisms and namings acknowledge your child and the place they will always have in your life.
Finding a way to honor your baby's small but important life can be incredibly healing. I'm not sure what will feel best for you, but I am ready to listen. I will help you think and feel through the possibilities, and we will figure it out together.
I offer my services to individuals and families regardless of their ability to pay. Sliding scale and pay what you can options can be discussed during our initial consultation which is always available at no charge.