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MOURNING DEATH OF A BABY TAKES TIME

When Alicia Tebbs went back to work after losing her newborn baby, she put a picture of little Ashton on her desk. But none of her colleagues would acknowledge the picture or ask her about her ordeal.

"You want to talk about it," says Tebbs. "You want to say, `This is what happened to me. Would you just sit down and listen?' ""Just saying I'm sorry can go a long way," adds John Tebbs. "It's always safe."

Parents who have been through a pregnancy loss advise friends and family to remember that grief over a lost baby, including a miscarriage, can take months.

As with other losses, there are stages of grief. Don't be alarmed by phantom kicks and cries, advises SHARE Parents of Utah, a support group for parents who have experienced a miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or newborn death.

Grandparents, too, can struggle with grief, especially if they have not resolved past losses of their own.

SHARE meetings are helpful, says parent Christine Balderas, for parents and grandparents who "have talked about it 75,000 times with family and friends and still want to talk," especially with someone they won't have to worry about burdening.

"People say, `Get on with your life.' That's when it's good to contact SHARE," adds Karen Osborn. Through meetings and phone calls, "They can get the reassurance that they won't forget their baby and that gradually their grief will be resolved."

In addition to offering support, SHARE works to educate the public and the medical community. It sponsors a Hospital Support Council, now three years old, that includes parents and a representative from each area hospital.

Osborn says she is impressed with the way hospitals share information in a "non-competitive way." Because of the strides hospitals have made, she says, "parents come to us with less anger now."

SHARE meets the second Wednesday of every month in the ground floor boardroom of Holy Cross Hospital, 1050 E. South Temple. For more information, contact Karen Osborn at 969-2125.