Banner Thunderbird program helps parents grieve

bereavement programs help parents grieve

Having a baby is supposed to be a happy, magical occasion. Unfortunately, if something goes wrong, such as a miscarriage or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), this special moment turns into a tragedy. Losing a baby is a situation no mother or father should ever have to experience.

When they do, however, there are people to help parents grieve. One such person is Bailey Hatch, a registered nurse who is certified in obstetrics. Since 2011, she has been the bereavement coordinator at Banner Thunderbird Medical Center, in Glendale, AZ. As a bereavement coordinator, Hatch is responsible for managing the support groups and planning the events to help cope with the loss of their baby. She also makes follow-up phone calls to make sure parents are doing OK.

“I don’t ever want these moms to feel alone, that’s why I try to bring them together,” Hatch said.

To help parents grieve

The idea of bringing the moms together prompted Hatch to start the Remembrance Ceremony, a special event for parents who have lost a child to come together, talk and share stories. But, most importantly, it’s a time for the parents to heal.

“When I see them together at group, for example, and they are asking each other questions and giving advice and support to each other, I smile,” Hatch said. “These moms need each other. They need to know they are not alone, and they need to talk about their child.”

The Remembrance Ceremony takes place between Thanksgiving and Christmas because, as Hatch noted, that time of year can be particularly tough for parents who have lost a child. In 2016, she started two new events to focus on other important days for parents.

For Mothers

The first, on Mother’s Day, brings together moms and their families to remember their lost baby. For the event, Hatch borrowed an idea from CarlyMarie Project Heal and brought henna tattoos. The moms in attendance could tattoo a heart on their hand and decorate it any way they wanted as a way to help them remember.

For Fathers

The second new event is a Fathers’ Day gathering. Hatch invited area dads who have lost a child and their friends and families to get together, play some flag football and enjoy some refreshments. Hatch believes that losing a baby can be extremely difficult for the father, too, which is why she wanted to do something for the dads.

“I can’t give them what they want, which is their baby, but I’ll try my hardest to give them every single memory and mementos that I can,” Hatch said.

At many of the Banner hospitals, there are programs similar to the one Hatch oversees. The goal of each is to help parents grieve and to help families heal. If you’ve lost a baby and want to talk to someone, contact the nearest Banner facility to find out what support groups are available.

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