Finding hope after the loss of a baby


Finding hope after the loss of a baby

Losing a baby before or during delivery is one of the most difficult and painful experiences that a parent can face. But for parents who experience such a tragic loss, there is a local support group available to help work through the pain and grief.
Finding Hope is a bereavement support group for parents and family members who have suffered the loss of a baby through miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, still birth or newborn death. It’s offered through Tidelands Health and is moderated by Kate Russell, a registered nurse at Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital.
The group, which is open to anyone who lives in Horry, Georgetown or Williamsburg counties regardless of where they delivered or receive care, isn’t meant to serve as a substitute for counseling or spiritual guidance but to provide a safe forum to talk about the loss of a baby and share with others who have had similar experiences.
Discussion is structured but flexible based on the emotional needs of those in attendance.
“Parents who have experienced loss are a good resource for each other and for their own families,” Russell says. “We’ve had moms who’ve experienced loss and have found the strength to talk with their other children about it through the support they have received in the group.”

Facing others after a loss

One extremely difficult hurdle for parents after the loss of a baby is facing family and friends, Russell said.
“They worry about running into people in public when they’re not pregnant anymore and there’s no baby in their arms.” Russell says.
Figuring out how to handle the questions and reactions of others can present a major challenge and add to grief, she says.

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“They want to know how to make their baby as real to others as he or she was to them,” she says. “People often just don’t know what to say.”
As part of that process, parents who’ve experienced the death of infants are encouraged to name them, Russell says.
“There’s no pressure, just encouragement,” she says. “We tell them, ‘Your baby has an identity, and we want to celebrate that.’ Finding Hope is a way for them to celebrate this little life.”

Rallying for each other

Before a mom whose has lost an infant is discharged from Tidelands Waccamaw Community Hospital, she is provided with a Finding Hope brochure and keepsakes such as a photograph, a shroud or the baby’s cap.
Russell reaches out within the week to check on the mom and remind her about Finding Hope. The hospital also sends out a card on the one-year anniversary of the baby’s birth “just to remind them we’re thinking about them,” Russell says.

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The bereavement support group has been active for more than a decade, and there is a core group of women who’ve become “pillar figures,” Russell adds.
“If there’s a new mom who has experienced a recent loss, this core group rallies and comes forward to support that new mom,” she says. “It’s really a very touching and beautiful thing.”
The group meets quarterly in January, April, July and October via an online platform.
If you’re a parent who has experienced infant loss or know someone who might benefit from participating in Finding Hope and would like more information, email

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