What is SHARING?
Sharing Help and Reassurance in Normal Grieving
SHARING is a support group for parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or early infant loss. Our meetings are designed to help a parent sort through the grief process in a safe environment among others who have experienced similar losses. Each meeting is facilitated by a parent who has experienced loss and a professional (nurse, doctor, social worker, or chaplain).
How can SHARING Help?
Parents who experience the death of a baby often seek to validate their feelings - is what they feel normal and legitimate, or have they responded in an inappropriate manner? They often have many difficult decisions to make without previous experience to guide them.
Often, the grief and loss felt by parents when a baby dies during the pregnancy or in the first few months of life is not understood and/or accepted by society. Even friends and family members sometime have difficult understanding the depth of emotion and grief bereaved parents may be experiencing. Parents are often expected to just pick up the pieces and move on.
Others, who have not seen or touched the baby, do not understand that a very real member of the family has died. Often the grief and loss felt by the parents is not understood. The baby is quickly forgotten by others, leaving parents alone in their grief. The subsequent isolation may create difficulties in the expression of feelings, which can unnecessarily prolong the time of grieving.
SHARING, through mutual-help groups, provides a strong, supportive atmosphere where members can share their experiences, thoughts, and feelings. Parents learn that the deeply felt, long-lasting feelings are normal. They gain a sense of wholeness when they realize that their pain and grief is not unique, but rather is something which nearly all bereaved parents feel.
SHARING is a local chapter of Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support founded by Sister Jane Lamb in 1977.
In 1984, staff members at Vanderbilt reached out to National Share and started Sharing in order to support families grieving the loss of a baby in Middle TN.
While meetings are currently held at The Parkview Towers, over the years our meetings have also been held at the Red Cross and Centennial Women’s & Children’s Hospital, which is where we began co-hosting an annual candlelight event. As attendance for our annual candlelight service increased, we began to find other venues for the annual service. The annual service has been held at a number of venues including the Holy Family Catholic Church, The Chapel at Vanderbilt, and the Vine Street Christian Church, where we continue to hold the event.
In approximately 2004, we held our First Annual Walk for Remembrance & Hope. The walk was initially held at Aspen Park in Franklin, but we grew out of that space, and moved to Pinkerton Park, also in Franklin. We currently host the walk at Holy Family Catholic Church in Brentwood, with our 1 mile path going through Crockett Park.
Jennifer Hicks MSN, RN, CD-DONA, CPLC
Joined the board in 1997
Jennifer suffered the loss of her third child, a daughter, Leah Michelle, at 35 weeks in 1994. She is a wife to a wonderful life partner and friend, mother to the 3 beautiful children that she was blessed to raise and 2 precious step-daughters, and she is Oma to 6 perfect grandchildren. Jennifer enjoys traveling with her husband, gardening, cooking and being with her grandchildren.