This month is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and it can be very personal for some. Sometimes it can be overshadowed by the upcoming holidays and much more. I do not call out this month just because personally it speaks to me, but instead, I reach out a hand of understanding and awareness.
October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, and I am an advocate for breaking the silence on this subject. In 1988, Ronald Reagan declared this month National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month to support and raise awareness of a subject that is sometimes considered taboo.
In his proclamation, President Reagan said,
“Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.”
Dedicating October to Awareness, support, and prevention.
It Is More Common Than You Think
Here are some statistics directly from the CDC to let you know how common these tragic losses are. Not everyone speaks of their pain, not everyone knows how to, but chances are, you know someone who has experienced this pain, even if they have never spoken of it.
- One in four women will experience pregnancy or infant loss. No matter the color, creed, background, financial status, or any other difference between us, families from every social status have experienced these losses.
- About 1 in 100 pregnancies result in stillbirth (the loss of a pregnancy after 20 weeks). Each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States.
- Each year about 3,400 babies die from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).
These are just a few examples of Pregnancy and Infant loss, this doesn’t include numbers from babies that suffered accidental suffocation in their sleep, underlying health issues, premature births, and more.
These Statistics Are Not To Scare You
The numbers are meant to raise awareness. Every time you walk into a grocery store, chances are someone there has suffered this horrible loss. EVERY parent does everything they can to keep their child healthy and happy, no one is to blame in most of these cases, it is just a fact of life. Raising awareness will help us to prevent these losses, it will help build support for those who need it, and hopefully, it will make it so one day these numbers are far lower.
If You Have Suffered A Loss
Healing is not something that is cut and dry. 10 years after the loss of my son, I still think almost daily about what would be like if he was here. How big he would be. How much his little brother would adore him. My 3 miscarriages were before losing my son, and I still think about who they would have been. If there was a precious little girl there, we just never got the chance to know.
You heal, with time you do heal, not completely, but I can talk of them without crying. I can say his name and while I miss him, I think of how lucky I was to carry an angel for 9 months. It is always a part of you.
REACH OUT! When you are ready of course, but sharing their story is important. For others and yourself. Your child existed. No matter how awkward it may feel, no matter how lonely it is, YOU ARE NOT ALONE. This is not just for mothers! There are support groups for the fathers of angels as well. Family support groups for siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and more. You lost a part of your future as well, reach out if you need help. There are so many others that will take your hand.
If You Want To Support
There are so many organizations that make large strides in providing support and prevention that I feel it is unfair for me to choose one for you. Nationwide Children’s Hospital was involved in the treatment of my son on that day and helping with testing to figure out why in the months afterward. The Americal Academy of Pediatrics has worked hard in preventing sleep accidents and SIDS cases. The Still Remembered Project provides support for bereaved parents and families. And of course, the March of Dimes is very active in prevention and support as well and has been for many decades.
Support Without Donation
Not all of us have extra finances, but you can still provide support if you like! Ask a bereaved parent if they are okay or simply light a candle tonight for the Wave of Light Remembrance, in support and to let others know they are not alone.
Wave Of Light 2021 Information
Remembrance Day, October 15th, 2021, TODAY. Light any color candle tonight at 7 pm and leave it burning for an hour (if you can safely do so). There will be a continuous wave of light over the entire world on this special day. If you can place it in a window or outside do so, but if not still participate. The energy will be there.
I would love to do a Wave of light Tribute, to participate post a photo of your candle on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/theuntraditionalmother/ , tag us on Instagram @untraditional_mother or https://www.instagram.com/untraditional_mother/ or under the comments of this post!
As always, thank you for being a part of my journey.
Please never hesitate to reach out if you need support. I have resources to help you cope and ears to listen if you just need a friend. You don’t have to go through this alone.
If you would like to know more about my story please click here.