BERLIN — While Mother’s Day is usually a time to give thanks for family bonds, it can also be a “bittersweet” holiday for those who have lost children, according to Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center (SGPC) representative Mari Quillen.
Consequently, the SGPC will be having a “Remembering Our Babies” candle lighting ceremony the week before Mother’s Day.
“Mother’s Day is not always the happiest holiday for some moms,” said Quillen. “We just want to give parents an opportunity to remember their baby.”
The vigil is for anyone who has lost an infant through a miscarriage, stillbirth or any loss of a child shortly after birth. Miscarriage especially is often underrepresented, said Quillen, explaining that many people do not understand exactly how traumatic the experience can be.
“It’s a big deal for that woman who lost that baby,” she said. “When you lose a child, you’re losing your future.”
During the ceremony, there will be a prayer service, readings and music. When the candles are lit, parents are asked to either reflect silently or say the name of the child they lost.
“We give them an opportunity to say their baby’s name out loud,” said Quillen. “It can be healing.”
This will be the first year for the vigil and the plan is to make it an annual event. According to Quillen, in dealing with her own personal loss and search for comfort, it quickly became apparent that there was a lack of support services in the area, specifically for parents who have lost infants.
“There aren’t a lot of outlets when people lose a baby,” she said.
Hoping to fill that gap, Quillen said that the goal of “Remembering Our Babies” is to not just become an annual event, but to also provide regular services for those dealing with loss throughout the year.
“Afterwards, we want to start some kind of support group,” she said.
Though the ceremony will be held at the Stevenson United Methodist Church in Berlin, Quillen asserted that anyone of any denomination or belief will find the event equally welcoming.
“It’s for everybody … we really want to reach out to the community,” she said.
The vigil is set to begin at 7 p.m. on May 7 and will be followed by a reception.
For more information, contact the Shirley Grace Pregnancy Center at 443-513-4124.