By Kathy Collins

On Thursday, October 15, individuals who have suffered the loss of a baby are invited to attend Brandon Regional Hospital’s Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Ceremony. The event begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be held in the Adam’s Garden on Oakfield Dr. on the Brandon Regional Hospital Campus.

For 20 years, Brandon Regional Hospital has hosted a Perinatal Bereavement Program that is modeled from the Resolve Through Sharing organization. According to Heather Brightwell, Perinatal Bereavement Coordinator, “We provide compassionate care to parents and families that experience a loss of a baby including counseling, follow up calls and photos.”

October 15 is worldwide Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. “This is a day that the community comes together to acknowledge and support parents and families who have experienced the loss of a baby though miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth and newborn death,” said Brightwell.

Brandon Regional Hospital first held the Remembrance ceremony in 2007. Approximately 50 people came to the ceremony. Over 500 members of the community attended last year’s ceremony.

Linda Pastorius, Nurse Manager of Women’s Services at Brandon Regional Hospital, explained what attendees can expect at the ceremony. “We hear from hospital staff and other parents who have experienced a loss as well as from clergy. The event also features musical performances, a candlelight moment of silence, a slideshow which includes names and/or pictures of babies who have passed away and a roll call which gives parents a chance to say their baby’s name.”

Pastorius added, “We welcome those individuals who have experienced a loss at Brandon Regional or somewhere else to join us in honoring their precious babies. We have families that have joined us that have experienced this grief 46 years ago.”

Brightwell added, “The ceremony allows for open discussion of loss. Nurses and physicians from the hospital who have joined them in their journey of grief are available for support during the event. The ceremony is a time of remembrance for their loss and a means of healing.”

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