Bereavement support groups, grief education and events

The death of a child is both heart-breaking and life-changing. Children’s Minnesota offers programs intended to give comfort and support to families during the first year and beyond. Support Groups provide a safe space where family members can talk about their child, and connect and share support with others who have experienced a similar loss.  Grief Education Programs offer families the opportunity to learn, explore and gain some understanding about a variety grief topics.  Grief related events offer families the chance to participate in a gathering where their child and other children will be remembered.

Grief education programs, support groups, and grief events all offer reassurance that grief is a normal reaction to the deep and profound loss experienced when a child dies.  These programs provide an opportunity for emotional connection, during a time when many families describe feelings of isolation. Additionally, each setting is designed to be comfortable and safe, allowing a space where powerful emotions can be experienced and released.

Support groups

Joining a support group can be very helpful for a variety of reasons. Parents tell us that support groups:

  • Offer them a place to talk about their child in a safe setting
  • Connect with other bereaved parents to get and give support
  • Give reassurance that their grief is a normal reaction to their deep sense of loss

Support groups also can be helpful to children and teens because it helps them see that they are not alone, that there are other kids just like them who are grieving.

Pregnancy and infant loss support group

This group is offered for those who have experienced a perinatal loss. Group meetings are held the second and fourth Monday evening of each month on the St. Paul Campus, from 5:00 to 6:30 p.m at United Hospital, St. Paul. To register call Annette Klein at 651-241-6206.

Grieving is painful for everyone, but the death of a baby represents a very special grief. Often family and friends are well-meaning, but cannot give parents the support they need.

If your baby has died, you can find support from people who understand your intense grief and emptiness: other parents who have lost a baby. Bereaved parents share a natural bond, and it enables them to support and encourage each other in a very unique way.

The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group helps parents whose baby has died through ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn death (shortly following birth or during an NICU stay). The group is made up of parents, and is led by staff members from both Allina Health and Children’s Minnesota. It is not therapy; instead it’s a group of parents who find comfort and courage in talking with others who also walk this difficult path.

The group is free of charge. Childcare is not available.

Grief education programs

Families often say that learning about grief can be helpful. Supportive education programs help families normalize feelings and experiences. They offer healthy ideas for coping with grief, for self-care, and for fostering connections with others who can identify with the pain of having a child die. These programs help families understand that it is okay to ask questions and feel uncertainty. It is also okay to wonder about what a grief journey might be like as time moves forward. And, it is okay to want to better-understand aspects of grief, in an environment that fully supports this exploration.

Living with Grief: A grief education and information program for bereaved families

Throughout the grief journey families find value in coming together with other grieving families who can understand and appreciate the intense grief that comes when a child dies. The Living with Grief program has been specially designed to meet the needs of the entire grieving family. Families who have attended support and education programs like Living with Grief have shared that these groups:
· Offer them a safe setting to talk about their child and their family’s story.
· Help them to connect with other bereaved families so they can receive and give support.
· Give them reassurance that their grief is a normal reaction to their deep sense of loss.

Support groups are also beneficial to children and teens because it helps them understand that they are not alone, and that there are other kids just like them who are grieving too.

Monthly Living with Grief Program

Join us for our monthly Living with Grief program, consisting of three separate sections held concurrently to meet the needs of the whole grieving family. The discussion topic for the April session is family changes. There will also be open discussion time.
The Living with Grief program has three separate grief groups to meet the needs of the whole family. All groups are held at the same time. Family members are invited to join one of the following groups:

Parent grief group Program: for parents/guardians grieving the death of a child
Youth grief group: for children and /teens ages kindergarten through- senior year in high school who are grieving the death of any special person in their life (a parent, sibling, grandparent, cousin, friend, classmate or any other special person).
Grandparent grief group Program: for grandparents and other close adult extended family grieving the death of a grandchild or niece or /nephew.
These support The Living with Grief programs meet is held the 2nd Thursday of each month from 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Participants are encouraged to attend each month, but can choose to attend as their schedule allows.
Programs are free of charge, and open to any grieving family in the greater community. Although the group has an open format, participants are encouraged to attend regularly.
Please RSVP to Bereavement Services at [email protected] or 612-813-7216.
Free childcare is offered to children 18 months–preschool age.
Park in the Red Ramp. Parking will be validated.

For either the Parent or Youth Programs, go to the 1st floor Welcome Center to check in.
You will then be directed to the Family Resource Center or Child Life Zone where the programs meet. Grandparents coming to the grandparent grief group alone can go directly to room 1053/1054 in the Garden View Medical Building.

Event Date and Time
April 11, 2019, 6 p.m.–7:30 p.m.
Location
Children’s Minnesota St. Paul campus345 North Smith AvenueSt. Paul, MN 55102

How to find a support group or grief education resource in your area

Here are a few ways to find information about support groups and listings of support groups in your area.

Check these websites:

Search online using the phases listed below plus the name of your community (for example “grief resources, Minneapolis”):

  • Grief support groups
  • Grief resources
  • Children’s grief
  • Bereavement support groups

Events

Children’s Annual Memorial Service

Children’s Memorial Service is an annual event for families, dedicated to honoring the lives of children who have died within the Children’s Minnesota system.   This meaningful service is held once yearly in the spring.  The program typically includes readings, music, and remembrance of each child during a candle-lighting and slide-show ceremony.  The service ends with a butterfly release.  For more information, please contact Children’s Bereavement Services at [email protected]g or 612-813-7216.