At Walking Forward Together, we believe that everyone deserves a chance to heal after the loss of an infant or child. Our programs and services are designed to empower individuals and families by providing them with the types of resources and services they need during this life-changing time.
The entire article originally appeared in LNP and is borrowed with permission. We're sharing a part of the article below. For the entire article, select "Read More" at the bottom.
Dr. Serena Wu, maternal-fetal medicine physician with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health (Wu now works at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia), says the way the loss of a baby is handled in hospitals and by medical professionals has changed dramatically since Share of Lancaster began its mission. She credits Share (originally an acronym meaning a Source of Help in Airing and Resolving Experiences) with helping to institute those changes.
Wu handles high-risk pregnancies, such as abruptio placentae, advanced maternal age, cervical insufficiency, fetal anomalies and life-limiting diagnoses. Because of the high risk of these conditions, the loss is inherent in her work, and it is always painful.
Wu now carries on the work of Kuhn, Burkhardt and Shubrooks. Because Wu deals with high-risk pregnancies, she knows how precarious life can be. About 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, stillbirth or loss of the baby, Wu says.
SHARE Lancaster, which provides support to families who lost children during pregnancy or shortly after birth, is turning 40. Every second Tuesday, bi-monthly, families gather to remember, celebrate and bury the baby they lost in the two previous months.
“It is more common than most people might think. Once people open up, you’ll find that so many people have experienced loss. They just don’t talk about it,” Wu says. “But things are changing.”
She and her husband, Rob Ross, have experienced this grief themselves, suffering a late-term loss with their third child. Like many mothers who have experienced such a loss, Wu says she is the mother of four children, three of them living.
“When a mother loses her baby, I reassure her that she is still a mother. That baby grew within her. Her baby’s life deserves to be honored,” Wu says. Kuhn agrees. She had two children at home when Mary Alice was born. Several years later, she had a fourth child. “I have four children, with one in heaven,” Kuhn says.
For family and friends, it is difficult to know how to respond. Sometimes in an effort to be comforting, they might say the wrong thing, such as assuring them that they can have other children or reminding them that they never really knew the baby. There is a tendency to downplay the experience, often because the loss of a baby is so heartbreaking at its core.
Kathy Kuhns, SHARE founder, Dr. Serena Wu, and Chip Snyder, of Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home
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Roxanne offers Quantum Healing Hypnosis Therapy in Lancaster, PA. In addition to QHHT, Roxanne is available to offer therapeutic massage to family members after this significant loss.
We strive to normalize grieving within communities and to provide a safe space for those who are mourning. Through charitable contributions, we'll educate the community, bring awareness to normalize grieving these traumatic losses and eventually provide additional financial assistance.
Provides immediate support for families in the hospital and provides community for anyone who experiences the tragic death of a baby. We serve parents, grandparents, siblings, and others in the family unit, as well as the professionals who care for grieving families.
Offers holistic healing to those who need it following a loss. Energy healing, chakra balancing, and more!
Bernice Quesenberry, founder of Chasing the Rainbows and podcast host, shares her experience with Dr. Serena Wu just 2 years after her loss. Check out this episode to hear Quesenberry's experience and Wu's perspective as a maternal-fetal medicine doctor, and a survivor of the loss of a baby as well.