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Who does Empty Arms support?

Our services are available to anyone who is experiencing, or who has experienced, the loss of a pregnancy or infant.

Services are available at any point during your loss journey.  All of our services are free of charge and include the following:

  • Neonatal end-of-life services

  • Monthly in-person support groups

  • Online support groups

  • One-on-one peer mentoring

  • Lending library

  • Family member specific resources (sibling, grandparent, etc.)

  • Support from a certified birth and bereavement companion

  • Supported use of a CuddleCot ™

  • Photography (maternity, newborn, and end-of-life)

  • Memory Making options

  • Lactation Consultation

  • Postpartum information and support


To ensure we are being respectful of everyone’s individual grieving journey, we are happy to provide our services in person, over the phone, or by email.  


Emotional Support

Our certified birth and bereavement companions are trained to provide emotional support after the loss of an infant that extends beyond their immediate needs at the hospital.

 
 

Our specialized bereavement support after infant loss includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Holding space for moms and families

  • Helping navigate the healthcare system

  • Providing resources and information to help facilitate informed decisions

 

At the Hospital

 

Many of our birth and bereavement companions are trained doulas, which allows them to help parents through labour and the birthing process. They complement the roles of nurses, social workers, and chaplains. However, our companions are there for the sole purpose of supporting families through their darkest moments in the hospital, and therefore will not leave to attend to other duties. 

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Our companions will be there to help parents understand their options, to help them navigate the medical and funeral systems, and to provide emotional support as parents make the most of their time with their little one, such as bathing and dressing the infant as well as taking hand and footprint impressions. If the baby lives for a short while in the NICU, our companions will also help parents make the most out of their time with their baby. 

 

Spending Time Together

 

 In 2015, through the generous donation from the Kinsmen Club, Empty Arms was able to purchase a CuddleCot ™ to further provide emotional support after infant loss. This specialized cooling pad will fit any moses basket, crib, or bed, allowing families to take the time to create memories and form an important bond.

Spending time together by using a CuddleCot
 

Remembrance Photography & Keepsakes

Child remembrance photography can be an exceptional way to capture and cherish these precious moments for a lifetime. 

 Our professional photographers provide families with a keepsake that becomes a visual narrative of your baby’s brief and beautiful existence. We don’t get to decide when our babies leave, but we can choose to document their final moments with us.

It is important to remember that remembrance photography and memorial photography is not limited to full term stillbirth or neonatal death — babies born in any trimester can be lovingly photographed.

Empty Arms also offers maternity photography to parents who have received a fatal diagnosis during gestation.  An early loss maternity photography session is equally as therapeutic as a newborn portrait session

Our photographers provide remembrance photography and memorial photography services at home, at the hospital, or at a funeral home. 


Farewell Arrangements

 

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Making funeral arrangements can be a difficult and complicated process when we lose a loved one of any age. But when families must say goodbye to an infant, making the decisions regarding funerals and memorial services can be a grueling task, especially when time is of the essence. Empty Arms is here to help. 

Our companions can help with funeral services by helping families communicate with funeral homes, and by providing families with options and ideas for their baby’s final resting place. Our assistance with these arrangements can begin as early as helping you navigate your options for transporting baby from hospital to funeral home, or as late as offering suggestions of memorial ideas, even years after baby’s passing.

It’s never too late, or too soon, to reach out. 


 Lactation & Postpartum Support

The grieving process doesn’t end once you’ve said goodbye to your little one and the road ahead can be painful, but it doesn’t have to be travelled alone. Empty Arms provides postpartum support in several specific areas that will help mothers through a difficult transition period. 


Lactation Support

After infant death, a woman’s body will still undergo the normal changes that occur postpartum, often including lactation.  Some mothers may want to suppress lactation, while others may find it therapeutic to pump and donate their breast milk. No matter what is most comfortable for the mother, our lactation educator is on board to provide postpartum breastfeeding support. We have the tools and resources to help with any option and will help connect loss mothers to our local milk drop-off centre

 


Postpartum support

Our postpartum support is part of the bereavement support families receive from our companions. They will follow-up with families and provide extended support over text, phone, or email, depending on the family’s preference. During these visits our companions are happy to provide families with tailored lists of local, online, and other resources suitable in their situation.  We also manage our own lending library that is full of books and printed materials that provide advice and perspectives on grief and baby loss for mothers, fathers, grandparents, and children.