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Madison Hospital staff members are participating with Wave of Light, an organization that help families cope with an infant or toddler’s death. CONTRIBUTED

‘Wave of Light’ at Madison Hospital assists bereaved families

MADISON – Madison Hospital has aligned with groups that support mothers and their families during a traumatic experience – if not the most traumatic – in life.

“We have participated in Wave of Light in support of those experiencing pregnancy or infant loss,” Madison Hospital President Mary Lynne Wright said. Numerous individuals attended a recent meeting.

Designated as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month,” October stands as a bittersweet time with observance of the International Wave of Light, a special ceremony on Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. that honored “all angel babies – due to pregnancy loss, Termination For Medical Reasons or TFMR, stillbirth and infant loss.” (Undefiningmotherhood.com)

Individuals can participate in a formal ceremony, like the Virtual Wave of Light, or silently lighting a candle in the privacy of their home. Families around the world allowed the candle to burn for at least one hour to remember all babies that have died too soon.

The Wave of Light observance dates to President Ronald Reagan’s 1988 proclamation of October as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.”

A sanctuary of collective remembrance and support, Wave of Light’s philosophy contends that, whether the loss was early/late or required by an agonizing choice, the parents and baby both deserve to be honored, if the gesture feels supportive to the parents.

At Madison Hospital, Renee Colquitt, CRNP, NNP-BC, works as Director of Perinatal Services. (The term ‘perinatal’ refers to time around birth, both before and after. Perinatal care is a subspecialty of obstetrics.)

“We have participated in Wave of Light for the last three years and had our biggest (attendance) this year,” Colquitt said. Colquitt attributes the larger turnout of people in 2023 to Madison Hospital’s partnering with the TEARS Foundation.

The TEARS Foundation offers free support groups for bereaved families who have experienced the death of their baby. The foundation has trained “Peer Companions” available for telephone conversations or in-person meetings.

Thousands of families in need of both financial and emotional support have received help from TEARS. The foundation seeks to compassionately lift a financial burden from families who have lost a child. (thetearsfoundation.org)

Alabama has a great need for help. Pregnancy and infant deaths increased in recent years. Currently, Alabama is one of the leading states for infant death, surpassed only by Mississippi. No government funds are available to support bereaved families, but TEARS works to support them.

For more information, visit awarenessdays.com, babyloss-awareness.org/wave-of-light, waveoflight.muchloved.com or thetearsfoundation.org.

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