Ainsley Beck would be 8 years old this year, but a placental abruption halted her survival at 36 weeks. Her parents, Bobby and Erin of Atwood, had another daughter after Ainsley passed and chose the name Selah from the Bible as it means pause and reflect.
Families who have experienced infant loss and seek time to reflect and remember are invited to attend Shining Light Infant Memorial events on Oct 15 outside Carle BroMenn Medical Center in Bloomington at the Chapel Garden or outside Carle Foundation Hospital in Urbana at The Forum and memorial garden. Oct. 15 is Pregnancy Loss and Remembrance Day.
These memorial events can also be important to the healthcare staff and providers who work with families experiencing this unique type of grief. The event can be a time for families to reconnect with those who cared for them, and who remember their babies alongside them.
“Pregnancy and newborn loss can bring on a range of emotions. It is important to allow yourself to grieve and to remember your loved one. Like physical healing, emotional healing takes time. Honoring the memory of our babies gone too soon and sharing experiences with others who have been through the same thing is often helpful and reassuring,” Keli Sidebottom, RN, Carle BroMenn Medical Center Mother/Baby unit.
Megan Haile said the nurses and doctors at Carle BroMenn were so helpful and she also met with a support group there. “It helped significantly to have somewhere to go and someone to talk to. Women need support and they do not have to do it on their own.”
As a father, Bobby Beck said the loss is difficult, and even more difficult was seeing his wife heartbroken by the loss in December 2014 while also having Christmas for son, Parker, 7, and daughter, Layla, 4. “This is a club no one wants to belong to. There is no right or wrong to dealing with the grief. Trust your heart, learn from others and lean on others for support,” Bobby said.
The Becks also do Acts of Kindness for Ainsley wherein they seek donations for birthday bags given through a local food pantry in Atwood. Inside each bag is a cake mix, a small gift and candles. “Every kid deserves a birthday and financial reasons should not prohibit that,” Beck said.
Erin Beck also joined with friends to lead a support group for women called Empty Arms, which meets the first Thursday of each month in Champaign.
In Normal, the obstetrics unit invites families to gather at Chapel Garden at Carle BroMenn Medical Center, 1304 Franklin Ave. for a 7 p.m. ceremony to honor precious babies gone too soon with the International Wave of Light, the annual worldwide lighting of candles followed by an outdoor reception.
In Urbana, scheduled events begin at 6 p.m. inside The Forum near Carle Foundation Hospital, 611 W. Park St. Child Life Services is hosting a table where children may make luminaries in honor of their siblings. A 7 p.m. memorial ceremony with a harpist and the reading of baby names will be inside The Forum and livestreamed through Microsoft Teams. A cookie reception follows outside and adjacent to the Shining Light Infant Memorial Garden.
Carle Spiritual Care, Social Work, Healthy Beginnings, and Pet Therapy volunteers will be available, as well, at the Urbana event. To view the ceremony virtually or register to have your baby’s name read during the ceremony click here. Thanks to generous support from the Carle Center for Philanthropy, this event remains free and open to all.
“This space honors the need for families to connect and honor a baby who never got to live,” Rachel Campbell, RN, Labor and Delivery and Perinatal Grief and Bereavement liaison at Carle Foundation Hospital, said.
To learn more about the event in Urbana, contact Rachel Campbell at Rachel.firstname.lastname@example.org or to learn more about the ceremony in Normal, contact Keli Sidebottom at email@example.com.
Carle BroMenn also offers a Support Group for Pregnancy and Newborn Loss. The group currently meets virtually the first Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. For more information on the support group, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.