CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Every year in the United States, nearly 21,000 babies are stillborn.

The loss of a baby during pregnancy remains a sad reality for many families. At 20 weeks, about 1 in 100 pregnancies is affected by stillbirth and Latinx women are disproportionately impacted by perinatal loss.

When Brenda Solivan left her OBGYN’s office back in 2016 after they told her she had miscarried,
she considered taking her own life. She was crushed and was quickly made aware of the health disparities that exist for those who don’t speak English as their first language. “I don’t have at that moment, no one to give me advice about this situation, no one to give me support,” said Solivan.

Brenda had been taught that motherhood was critical to her role as a woman in her Puerto Rican culture, and she felt ashamed to ask for help, until years later when she found the Empty Arms bereavement group.

Solivan adds, “So I decided to go to the group support, it was in English, not too great for me. I can understand English, I can speak English, but my emotion, I prefer to speak in Spanish.”

In an effort to heal and help others like her, Brenda is leading a Spanish Language Committee and support group for Empty Arms. “We can bring more help for people that really need it, we are a lot of Latinas and we need help,” Solivan adds. “That’s my motivation to bring the help to the people that don’t know.”

Empty Arms has expanded over recent years and is serving more people from diverse backgrounds. They applied for a Health New England Where Health Matters grant to expand services so Spanish-speaking people can continue to receive support at no cost to them

If you or someone you know have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss
visit their website for more information.

Local News

Melissa Torres is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since 2021. Follow Melissa on X @melissatorrestv and view her bio to see more of her work.