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Parents want recognition for the loss of children

By By Steve Gillespie / staff writer
Oct. 10, 2002
For parents who experience the death of an infant, either through miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death, grief is only part of their struggle.
It's also a struggle for them to help others understand that their grief is justified. And in the case of stillbirth, some parents want the state to recognize their child with a certificate of birth.
Kimberly Grimme is a member of the Compassionate Friends chapter in Jackson who is bringing public attention to issues facing parents who have experienced the death of an infant.
Her efforts are in conjunction with the designation of Oct. 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Grimme had a miscarriage in 1996 and one of her twins was stillborn in 1999. At that time, she said, she received a "Certificate of Fetal Demise."
She said the document had a seal on it, but it appeared to be a photocopy on a white piece of paper. She also said a record of stillborn children in Mississippi is only kept for two years.
The issue has caught the attention of local people involved in self-help support groups who focus on the death of children.
Patricia Parnell of Meridian, coordinator of the local Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support group and a member of the Meridian area chapter of The Compassionate Friends, has helped many families deal with grief from stillbirth.
Parnell has experienced a miscarriage and the death of a daughter born with Downs Syndrome. She said she agrees that parents should receive a document recognizing infants who are stillborn.
Grimme said a grassroots effort has developed in several states to issue "Certificates of Birth Resulting in Stillbirth." She said many health care institutions, religious organizations and support groups have also issued "Certificates of Life" to parents who suffered early trimester pregnancy losses, recognizing the lives of children who have died unborn.
A look at the newly reorganized Meridian area chapter of The Compassionate Friends.
The Pregnancy And Infant Loss Support group, or PAILS, offers help to those touched by the death of a baby. The group meets the second Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at East Mississippi Electric Power Association, 2128 Highway 39 North. For more information, call Patricia Parnell at 482-5255, or Shari Murray at 679-1783.
The Meridian area chapter of The Compassionate Friends is a newly reorganized group for bereaved
parents, siblings and grandparents dealing with the death of a child at any age. The group meets at 7 p.m. the third Thursday of each month in the Riley Educational Building, 1020 22nd Ave. For more information, call Linda Hollis, at 485-5488 or Sandy McClain, at 679-5076.
The day: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, set for Oct. 15.
The states: Mississippi is one of 48 states that will
recognize Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
The vigil: A candlelight vigil is set for the south steps of the state Capitol in Jackson at 7 p.m. Oct. 15.