‘A place of hope and healing’: Garden offers place to remember infants lost


GREENFIELD — The monument’s design is simple — an open palm cradles a tiny baby — but it’s meant to carry a powerful, comforting message.

It’s front and center in a new memorial garden south of St. Michael Catholic Church. It’s designed for parents who’ve lost a baby before it was born to find a peaceful place of comfort.

“It’s a place where women who lost babies can come and pray, remember, grieve,” said Kyleigh Home. She’s part of an American Heritage Girls troop and has been working toward the Stars & Stripes Award, the highest recognition the organization gives. She developed a detailed report for making the garden and did fundraising.

On July 16 and 17, she and some troop members, family members and other volunteers tilled the soil, planted flowers and created a stone path with benches along the south wall of the church. Several local businesses donated materials toward the project.

Kyleigh connected with the work through her mother. Mandy Home and Stephanie Paulin were nurses together at the same Hamilton County hospital before Paulin became nurse manager for Life Choices Care Center in Greenfield.

Life Choices has been working to launch Restored, a group for women wanting emotional support after abortionS. Executive director Jillian Jarrett said leaders of Wellspring Center approached her about such a program.

“They’re seeing women come in who have this in their past, and they don’t deal with it,” Jarrett said. “There was no one in the community specifically addressing the issue of being post-abortive.”

According to the Terminated Pregnancy Report that Indiana Department of Health releases annually, 64 Hancock County women sought legal induced abortions in 2020, up slightly from 61 in 2019.

“Not everyone who experiences abortion is going to have a traumatic response to it,” Jarrett said, “but many, many do.”

While an unborn child memorial already at St. Michael will be moved to the garden, it will occupy a corner along the south church wall that is the backdrop for colorful flowers and the stone path.

The garden has been given a broader purpose of offering comfort to anyone who’s lost an infant, including through stillbirth or miscarriage. Jarrett, who has experienced miscarriage, said she’s found it personally meaningful to have sonogram images of her babies.

The hand holding a baby is what’s front and center.

“It’ll be perfect,” said Mandy Home. “All the babies lost, in Jesus’ hand.”

“They have somewhere to go,” Paulin said, “to honor their baby or remember their baby.”

“(It’s) a place of recognition of that baby that was lost, regardless of how it was lost …” Jarrett said. “There’s a place that we can remember them, and that can be healing for a mom or a family.

“We just want it to be a place of hope and healing.”