Beautiful stories of love, loss, and family were shared Saturday morning as an incredibly strong group of women gathered at the Porter Regional Hospital dedication ceremony in recognition of National Infant & Pregnancy Loss Awareness. Porter Health Care System teamed up with Our Carriage Support Group and local businesses to offer mothers and their families a very special place of reflection and healing. The ceremony, which dedicated a special tree, bench, and private area near the main entrance of the hospital, proved that strength can be found in numbers as the mothers and families in attendance found comfort in each other's words of encouragement.
Ashley Dickinson, Chief Operating Officer for Porter Health Care System, started off the dedication ceremony with words of hope, strength, and encouragement. She emphasized the fact that the support group and outdoor space are resources created by some of the passionate employees of Porter Regional Hospital, who recognized the need to offer more bereavement assistance to mothers and families suffering from the loss of a child.
“Here at Porter Health Care System, our lives are changed every day by our patients and the families we care for, both in and out of the hospital,” Dickinson stated. “We are so privileged to have been part of the lives of the babies, mothers, and families we are honoring today. We hope that the program and this new dedicated space provide an opportunity for healing, joy, and peace for all families affected by the loss of a baby.”
Brianna Walker has worked at Porter Regional Hospital as a CAN for more than 10 years. She recently transferred to the OB unit, where she also helped establish the Our Carriage support group to offer bereavement services for mothers and families. During the dedication ceremony, Walker bravely shared her story of loss while trying grow her family. However, through her tears shined the undeniable passion she holds for wanting to help other women who have had a similar experience.
“When I went through my miscarriages while trying to expand my family, there really weren’t any resources available,” Walker explained. “I found myself talking to strangers just trying to get some sort of insight and validation. A lot of people haven’t been through the loss of a child and they’re afraid to talk about it because they don’t want to say the wrong thing. I started the Our Carriage Support Group with the encouragement of my doctor and worked to find a church that was willing to offer us space to hold our monthly meetings. Many of us women didn’t previously have an intimate setting to share the stories of our losses and I’m so happy to have brought us all together so that we can find comfort in each other.”
Stephanie Didion, Clinical Manager of the Women’s & Children’s Pavilion at Porter Regional Hospital, also helped organize the event. After finding out about Walker’s support group through a Facebook post, Didion knew that there was a need for her and her department to do even more for moms in the community.
“We have a NICU, OB, and Labor & Delivery, so we directly provide care for a lot of the moms in our community,” Didion explained. “My department wanted to be more involved with the support group as soon as we heard about it. We genuinely care about each and every one of our patients and really wanted them to know that we’re here for them during their journeys. We’re here during both their happy and sad moments. Now we have this beautiful little spot that we can share with anyone who needs a moment of privacy, remembrance, or prayer.”
Through the new space outside of Porter Regional Hospital, parents who are suffering the loss of a child now have their own space to reflect and heal. These mothers and families can find comfort in knowing that they are not alone; the staff at Porter Regional Hospital are like angels always watching over their patients to make sure they have compassion and assistance during their times of need. Special thanks to Northwoods Constriction for donating the pavers and bench, and to Four Seasons Landscaping for donating the tree.