Loving Arms helps families cope with losing a baby

Loving Arms helps families cope with losing a baby

Loving Arms memorial
The Loving Arms Parent Support Group holds an annual memorial service at this monument on the Christiana Hospital campus to acknowledge their grief and honor the babies lost by parents and siblings during pregnancy, delivery or as newborns.

The loss of a baby is devastating for parents who leave the hospital with empty arms. At Christiana Care, many bereaved parents find help working through their grief in the Loving Arms Parent Support Program. The Loving Arms program reaches out to families, beginning at the time of the loss, throughout the year at monthly support group meetings and annually at a memorial service to honor and acknowledge their loss.

Founded in the late 1970s and developed through the years by Christiana Care nurses, social workers and chaplains, Loving Arms is one of the longest continuously running programs in the country for parents grieving the loss of a baby because of ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth or as a newborn death.

“The founders recognized that losing a child is a lasting tragedy for a family,” says Therese Gilchrist, MSW, who has facilitated the group since 2001. The program also provides literature on common grief reactions, counseling on ways to help siblings understand the loss through story and coloring books, advice for family and friends on ways they can support grieving parents, and advice for coping with loss during the holidays.

Facilitated by Gilchrist, Christiana Care chaplain Patricia Singleton, and Melanie Chichester, BSN, RNC, of Labor & Delivery, Loving Arms meets at Christiana Hospital on the third Monday of each month. For information, call 302-733-4367.