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Help for those grieving from pregnancy loss

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SAN DIEGO — Those experiencing the pain of pregnancy loss are not alone.

That’s the hope-filled message being offered by the Diocese of San Diego’s Office for Family Life and Spirituality and by Life Perspectives, a San Diego-based nonprofit that specializes in reproductive grief care.

The Family Life and Spirituality Office is hosting a Mass and workshop to raise awareness about reproductive loss. It will take place from 5:30 to 8 p.m., Saturday, April 30, at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Rancho Peñasquitos.

Father Anthony Saroki, pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, will celebrate Mass at 5:30 p.m. Sara West of Life Perspectives will speak at 7 p.m. on best practices in reproductive grief and self-care. Before Mass, beginning at 4:30 p.m., there will also be an opportunity to receive the sacrament of reconciliation.

“Reproductive loss is one of those topics that, when you really start to think about it, you realize how many of us — practically all of us in one way or another — have been touched by it,” said John Prust, director of the Family Life and Spirituality Office.

He said his “biggest hope” is that attendees will come away from the Mass and workshop “with more compassion for those who have experienced reproductive loss,” as well as “a wider awareness of just how widespread it is.”

Life Perspectives, a global leader in education and research on pregnancy and reproductive loss, held a ribbon-cutting and grand opening ceremony March 17 for its new Institute of Reproductive Grief Care.

Located at 4579 Mission Gorge Place, the institute is a new campus for training, research and healing of grief after pregnancy and reproductive loss. It includes a counseling center, a research library, teaching rooms, a recording studio, a 400-seat auditorium, and space for visiting scholars.

Dr. Michaelene Fredenburg, president and CEO of the Institute of Reproductive Grief Care and Life Perspectives, explained the need for the institute.

“One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage – and that is just one type of reproductive loss. The reality is that over 2 million people are impacted by pregnancy and reproductive loss in the U.S. every single year,” she said. “Our culture underestimates how many people are impacted and also underestimates the grief that many experience after this unique and painful loss. Also, our healthcare systems offer very little education to healthcare staff on best practices for offering emotional support after reproductive loss.”

Fredenburg said the institute will educate healthcare professionals in providing “the gold standard of care” to those affected by reproductive loss, serve as a research hub around the topic of reproductive grief, and offer healing resources to those affected.

For more information about the Mass and workshop, contact jprust@sdcatholic.org or (858) 490-8256. For more information about the Institute for Reproductive Grief Care, visit reproductivegrief.org.

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