Grief from the loss of a pregnancy or death of a newborn is often hard for family and friends to understand, especially grieving that continues for several months. A pregnancy loss can be one of the most painful and traumatic times that anyone will experience in his or her lifetime.
There is no right way to grieve. How parents cope with this loss is very individualized. But no one should have to go through this experience alone. Open Arms extends support to families who experience a pregnancy or newborn loss. This free program offers many different services to help families grieve in a way that meets their specific needs.
All of the Open Arms services are coordinated by a Grief Support Person specifically trained to offer support to grieving parents. These support people, either staff or volunteers, offer help during this difficult time by listening, comforting or providing resources and advice.
For more information about Open Arms services, please contact a hospital location noted below under Support Options.
At Open Arms, we know we can't take away the pain and loss. We can offer support and services to help parents cope or simply to express their grief.
Sometimes it helps just to talk to someone about your loss, or to get an answer to a question. To talk with an Open Arms Grief Support person, leave a message on the Open Arms voice mail at any time and your call will be returned at a time that is convenient for you.
- Community Hospital North: 317-621-5275 or openarms@eCommunity.com
- Community Hospital South: 317-887-7548
- Community Hospital East: 317-621-5275
- Community Hospital Anderson: 765-298-5425
For some parents, it is helpful to talk with, or just listen to, others who have gone through the same experience. Open Arms support groups offer this opportunity. At the meetings, parents can talk about their feelings and thoughts, their experiences and their hopes. Parents learn that their intense feelings are normal and that other bereaved parents have the same feelings. Some parents may choose to come to one meeting; others may choose to attend many over a period of time throughout the grieving process. And others continue in the group to provide support to the newly bereaved.
Location: Community Hospital North campus, 7250 Clearvista Pkwy, Professional Building, Conference Room A
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Day: 3rd Thursday of every month
Contact: Jennifer Waitt at 317-621-5275 or email us.
Should you feel that group support is not helpful, a referral can be made for more specialized attention. If at any time you feel that your grief is too overwhelming and that you cannot cope with your loss, call the Behavioral Health referral and crisis number at 317-621-5700 or toll-free at 800-662-3445. The phone is answered 24 hours a day.
Indianapolis Area Groups
St. Vincent Hospital, Northwest campus
Location: New Hope, 8450 N. Payne Road (west of 86th and Michigan)
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Day: 1st Thursday of every month
Contact: Sharon Mason or Cathy Carroll at 317-415-7494
St. Francis Hospital, South campus
Location: 8111 S. Emerson Ave., Indianapolis, IN 46237, Terrace Conference Room, 2nd floor near cafeteria
Time: 7 to 9 p.m.
Day: 2nd Tuesday of every month
Contact: Julie Jackson at 317-528-4798 or Joni Cutshaw at 317-528-5199
Miscarriage Burial Options
If you have experienced a pregnancy loss prior to 20 weeks, Community Health Network offers services to meet your individual grieving needs. For more information, please contact an Open Arms location.
The nursing staff at Community hospitals can assist you and your family in selecting a funeral home for a private burial to honor and remember your baby. The cost to families for these arrangements may vary.
Burial of Ashes
Community Health Network offers a graveside ceremony and burial of ashes for families wishing to come together to honor their baby's memory during a communal burial. These services are held at Washington Park East Cemetery on the last Sunday in April and the first Sunday in October at 3 p.m. Flanner and Buchanan Funeral Centers donates its services of cremation, holding of the ashes, the gravesite and services for the graveside ceremony. There is no charge to families for this service.
The Christmas Memorial is held on the first Thursday of December in place of the December support group. The service is held early in month so families can remember their baby and not feel guilty about enjoying the season. Families may send in a note, poem or anything they would like to add to the memorial book that is printed to take home.
The service is held at Mount Comfort United Methodist Church. A candlelight memorial, music, singing and an ornament to take home are all part of the service. We also have goodie bags for the kids to keep them busy during the service. A time for fellowship with other families over refreshments follows the service before we go home. Our hope is to create a time of remembrance for your family.
Walk to Remember
St. Francis Beech Grove
1600 Albany Street
Beech Grove, IN 46107
Registration begins at 10 a.m. Walk starts at 11 a.m.
The Walk to Remember is a time when families from all over Indianapolis come together to remember and celebrate the life of their baby that has died. Some families may have recently lost a baby. Other families have been coming on this special day for years.
There are no reservations needed for the walk. All your family and friends are welcome to come. Dress is casual – whatever is comfortable for you. The walk is held rain or shine, so think about the weather! There is a ceremony at the park as part of the day. You can stand during the ceremony or sit on the grass. Some people bring a blanket or chairs to sit on.
Before the walk begins, you sign in, pick up a program booklet and choose balloons to carry on the walk. Families often write their baby’s name or a message on the balloon. There will be markers available. If you wish, you can bring your own balloons.
After sign-in, the whole group walks together to a nearby park. The street is soon filled with families, strollers, wagons and balloons! It is a joyful walk and you often hear talking and laughter. It is a short distance to the park but if you have family members that cannot walk, you can drive and park there.
At the park there is a ceremony that lasts about 45 minutes. It is filled with music and readings. If you have requested your baby’s name to be in the program, it will be read out loud during the ceremony. If your baby’s name isn’t in the program and you would like to have it read with the rest of the babies, ask when you sign in at the registration table. At the end of the ceremony, we ‘let go’ of the balloons and watch them sail towards the clouds. It is an amazing and tender sight.
After the ceremony, there are light refreshments and a keepsake for the day is handed out for you to take home. Families often linger, talking to each other or just enjoying the park.
Community Health Network Foundation is proud to provide financial support for Open Arms. The foundation is the not-for-profit philanthropic organization of Community Health Network. Profits support programs and services that benefit patients, families and employees of the network, while ensuring the exceptional experience. The foundation's philanthropic efforts, scholarship programs and promotion of healthy lifestyles inspire a culture of philanthropy throughout central Indiana. For more information about the foundation, or ways you can get involved, call 317-355-5261 or visit eCommunity.com/foundation.