This is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 15 is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. I know, I know. No one wants to talk or think about babies dying.
But lots of people you know think about it everyday. They think about the child(ren) they love and miss. Yes, we are real people. People you see and interact with daily. And you may not even know about our losses. But there are millions of us all around you.
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Each year in the US, there are approximately 2,024,000 infant deaths.
- 600,000 miscarriages (under 20 weeks gestation)
- 1.2 million terminations
- 64,000 ectopic pregnancies
- 6,000 molar pregnancies
- 26,000 stillbirths
- 27,860 infants die before their first birthday
Breast Cancer is horrible … about 40,000 people die each year from breast cancer. But more than 2 million babies die each year. Society doesn’t always embrace families who have experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant loss – sometimes acting as if the family should just move on, forget about it, or “you’re young, you can have another.” The grief can be painfully silent and lonely for families. Someone you know has been affected by infant loss. Acknowledgement of the loss of their child’s life means the world to them … tell them you remember!!! That they are not alone. Ask them to talk about their loss – you listen! Let them tell you about the dreams they had for their child, the wonderment of what they would be doing now or what they would look like. Help them find help if they need/want it.
When our twins Liam and Sebastian
died in 2011, we were given a packet of resources by the wonderful nurses and doctors at our hospital. That packet was how we found a support group meeting with MEND
. It was more helpful than I can adequately express.
To meet other moms and dads who had been through what we had just been through helped us to know we were not alone. And meeting people who were months, years or even decades away from their loss helped me feel hope. “You will smile again. You will laugh. You won’t be the same as you were before, but you will feel good again even though it seems impossible now,” they said. And they were right.
This is a group I never want any other parents to need, but the best advice I have for anyone who loses a child is to find a support group with others who lost children. You aren’t the only one. There are millions of parents who experience this every year. And whether you take it one day at a time or one breath, you can get through it. This month, consider acknowledging a friend or loved one’s child. Or donate to an organization like MEND