A memorial service and candle lighting in honor of Pregnancy
and Infant Loss Remembrance Day will take place on Saturday, Oct. 15 from 5
p.m. to 7 p.m. at Central Park in Ashland near the fountain. The event is
presented by King’s Daughters Medical Center Women’s Services program.
Cathie Whitt, a nurse in labor and delivery at King’s
Daughters, coordinates the annual event. “It is important to have the Pregnancy
and Infant Loss Remembrance Day because so many moms and dads who have suffered
these losses, especially early ones, don’t have a physical place to visit to
remember and to celebrate the existence of the short and precious lives of
their babies. Many don’t even have a picture or a physical reminder,” said
The service begins with a balloon release symbolizing the
importance of letting go of grief and honoring the lives and memories of the
infants lost. A speaker will address attendees, followed by the candle lighting
ceremony. Families will then read the names of their babies.
Whitt has herself experienced such loss, and her work with
mothers in the labor and delivery unit gives her special passion for the cause.
In addition to overseeing the annual Remembrance Day service, she also conducts
a pregnancy and infant loss support group.
The group meets at 7 p.m. on the second Thursday of every month in the
KDMC Health Education Center, located in the lower level of the Lexington
Avenue parking facility.
“Sometimes we have as many as 30 parents in attendance at
the support group and other times maybe only a handful. Even if someone doesn’t attend, perhaps it
will be a comfort to them to know the group is there any time they need it,”
Keri Kitchen of Grayson, an active support group member,
said these events and programs for grieving parents are invaluable. Kitchen
delivered twins in April, a son, Paxton Cole, and a daughter, Carys Rainn. Carys survived less than eight hours after
delivery. She was diagnosed with anencephaly, a neural tube defect, when
Kitchen was only 16 weeks pregnant.
“I think our situation was unique. We knew in December that Carys would not live
long. These programs give parents the
chance to grieve and share the memories of their child
with others who have been through similar losses. Sometimes people who haven’t been through
this don’t fully understand that parents still need to grieve, even for infants
they never got to spend a minute with,” Kitchen said.
Kitchen, a counselor with Pathways, said that she and her husband,
Aaron, who works with Fifth Third Bank, will both attend the Remembrance Day to
light a candle and remember their precious moments with Carys.
Kitchen said she wants to be involved and help grieving
parents any way she can. “I believe we are going through this journey for a
purpose, and I don’t want to waste any opportunity to help others who may have
this experience,” she said.
For more information about Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Remembrance Day or the support group meetings available at King’s Daughters
Medical Center, contact Cathie Whitt at (606) 408-4546.
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