Appleton, WI -- Families across the nation are preparing to mark October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In Appleton, a special event is raising awareness of this difficult subject and offering a source of healing for those affected.
It's a painful poem written by a mother in mourning.
"You would be wrapped securely in our loving arms today, if only you could have lived instead of being taken away," reads Andrea Farrell of Greenville.
They're words of remembrance after Farrell had five pregnancies end in miscarriage.
"There isn't a day that goes by that I don't remember our babies and, sorry, it's just hard," Farrell says with tears in her eyes.
After suffering four of her pregnancy losses in just one year, Farrell felt frustrated and alone.
"Your whole world just falls out and that's all you can think about is, you know, why or how or what did I do wrong?"
They're questions that are bothering many families as Farrell would discover when she joined the annual Walk to Remember at the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton.
"Unfortunately, you become part of their small family in a way because you've all experienced something similar."
The one mile walk is for families grieving the death of a baby through miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, stillborn or newborn loss.
"I really hope that it allows them that time to think back about their child, how important it is that we've all come together to recognize the loss in their life and that we're all here to support one another in that grief process," said Joan Heller, ThedaCare social worker and Walk to Remember coordinator.
The event also includes music, meditation, memory quilts and a tree planting.
Heller says, "We've talked about the significance of the tree in the grief cycle and that there are times when we feel lost but then we feel rejuvenated again."
Farrell says, "A few times during the year, we come out to the site and see the trees and take a little walk. It's a nice place to reflect."
Farrell also makes ribbons for the 150 attendees to wear, including her two daughters. It's a blessing she's thankful for everyday, but she says through the walk, the babies she didn't get to meet will never be forgotten.
The 12th annual Walk to Remember is a collaborative effort between ThedaCare, Affinity Health System and Children's Health Alliance of Wisconsin. It's being held Sunday, September 29th from 1:00pm to 3:00pm at the Gordon Bubolz Nature Preserve in Appleton. Everyone is invited to attend.