Empty Arms Group Principles
We know that losing a baby is an isolating and devastating experience. In our groups we support bereaved parents by naming the incredible challenges they are experiencing, knowing that this group is one of the few places where parents can speak the truth about the depth of their emotions and the details of their experience.
We believe that speaking the truth about the heartbreaking journey of losing a baby is essential. Healing comes through understanding what we have been through and what may lie ahead. By speaking about our experiences they can become integrated into who we are and allow us to move along. We celebrate breaking the silence that bereaved parents have been historically subjected to.
In these meetings we do not compare losses. We respect that each and every person’s experience is uniquely challenging in its own right. Regardless of the gestation or age of our baby when he or she died, we all hoped that we would have a lifetime with the child growing within us. Consequently, we all have the right to grieve our loss, and we support one another in our grief.
We believe that grief takes many forms. Emotions such as deep sadness, anger, confusion, longing, and even a sense of intermittent peace can all be normal parts of grieving. No one person grieves like another. We believe each person has the right to follow the path of grief they are most comfortable with.
We respect that each person has his or her own comfort level for sharing emotions and stories. We believe that the very act of coming to this group demonstrates each person’s commitment to their own growth and healing, whether they share a little or a lot. We believe that this extends into the greater world, where each bereaved parent should be liberated to share the pieces of their story and their child in a way that feels comfortable to them.
We believe that each one of you has the inner wisdom and courage to come out into a brighter place, without ever forgetting the baby that you lost.
Empty Arms Group Guidelines
- Confidentiality. We hold everything that is said in group to be confidential and ask that you share it with no one outside of this group. Furthermore, we also extend this confidentiality to within this room, in that we ask that you request permission from someone to talk with them about what they have shared when the formal discussion is over.
- In this group, we hold each other with respect, compassion, and non-judgment. We remind you that there is no right or wrong way to go about grieving.
- We do not give advice or interrupt. We welcome responses in the form of “I” statements, which can help another person to see another way of doing things without hearing advice that could be interpreted as criticism or judgment.
- When we’re sharing stories, please feel liberated to include any details you wish. The only thing we ask that you not include is the names of professionals that may speak of negatively.
- This is not a therapy group, and it should not replace therapy for individuals or couples who need it. Grief brings up a myriad of issues that can not always be adequately addressed in this forum. Therapy can often be very helpful, and we would be happy to share the names of counselors/therapists that we know if you would be interested.
- Self care- Be aware of what you need during the group, and take care of yourself. Food and drinks are on the table, feel free to eat, drink, and ask someone to pass things to you. If you need to cry, blow your nose, or laugh, do it. If you need to use the bathroom, it’s right down the hall. Take care of yourself. If at any point you feel you are overwhelmed and you need to go home, of course you may, but one of us will follow you out to make sure you are okay.