October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This is a month of remembrance where we honor and emember all the babies who have died before, during, or shortly after birth. This is a time to reflect on the pain of pregnancy and infant loss, and to honor the lives of these precious children. Many people feel that pregnancy and infant loss are taboo subjects, but it is important to talk about them openly and honestly. This year, let’s make sure that everyone knows that pregnancy and infant loss is a reality for too many families. We need to support these bereaved parents and work to keep preventable pregnancy and infant loss from happening.
The loss of a baby or loss of an infant are events that will affect us the rest of our lives. Bereaved families never stop missing the babies that should be here with them. Though they are not physically here with us, it is important for us to continue to say their names and share their stories. It can be a difficult topic to discuss because those who have not been through loss do not always want to hear about the parents experience. We need to remember that every pregnancy and baby is special and unique. Every loss deserves recognition and to be grieved over.
If you have experienced pregnancy or infant loss, know that you are not alone. There are so many other families who understand your pain, and who can offer support. Seek out a local support group, or look online for resources. Allow yourself to grieve in your own way and in whatever way feels right for you. The grieving process is not easy after losing a child, but with the right support, you can learn to navigate all that comes with it.
You can read my miscarriage and sillbirth loss story here – My Loss Story: Jasmine Grace.
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How Did Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month Start?
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month started in 1988, when President Reagan issued a proclamation designating the entire month of October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This was done in response to the growing number of pregnancy and infant losses each year. The proclamation stated that pregnancy and infant loss is “a tragedy that strikes at the very heart of a family” and that we must work together to prevent these losses from happening. Since then, we observe the awareness month each year, with more and more people becoming aware of the issue.
What Kind of Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss is Recognized?
October is a month to remember and recognize every type of perinatal loss! The estimate is that around 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in a loss. That is a lot of lost babies that deserve our recognition. The types of losses can include:
Termination for Medical Reasons (TFMR)
Infant Loss \ Infancy Loss
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
Other Loss of a Child
No matter what type of loss(es) you have had, this month is to remember your baby and your family.
How You Can Get Involved
There are many ways that you can get involved in pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. One thing that may be helpful for you is to simply share your story. Share your baby’s name and any other information you feel comfortable with. This can be to a family member, friend, or even on social media. Putting yourself out there can be hard, especially when it is such a sensitive topic. The loss community is a safe space that is full of helpful resources. It is a club that none of us wanted to join, but are so glad to have when we find ourselves there. Sharing your own experience can also help others deal with the loss of their baby. It helps everyone know they are not alone in their loss.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Calendar of Events
We have put together a 31 day calendar of things you can do to help honor and remember your baby. There is a daily activity for each day that you can choose to do publicly or privately. Sign up below at the bottom of this post to have this calendar emailed to you and join in on all the other grieving parents that will come together to honor all the babies missing from our lives. The tasks will be things you can do to help remember and keep your baby’s memory alive. Some things include sharing your baby’s birth month or due date flower, sharing how you came up with your baby’s name or nickname, and listening to a song that reminds you of your baby.
International Wave of Light
One of the most important parts of pregnancy and infant loss awareness month is the International Wave of Light. This is an event that takes place on October 15th, which is also known as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. On this day, people around the world light candles at 7 pm local time in honor of all the babies who have died. The Wave of Light takes place amongst all time zones internationally. This is a time to come together and remember these little ones, and to support each other in our grief. Involve your your family members and friends and have them light a candle in honor of your baby. You could get the entire family involved and even hold a candlelight vigil in honor of your baby.
Journey for Jasmine will be doing a Wave of Light reading of names for October 15. You can submit your baby’s name to be read alongside the names of many others. Comment on the Instagram post here or send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Wave of Light”. All names must be in by Oct 5th.
Angel Baby Collage
Journey for Jasmine is also putting together a photo collage of all of the babies we are missing. This collage will be shared during the month of October on Instagram and Facebook. If you would like your baby to be included, please email [email protected] the photo along with their name. Use the subject line “Angel Baby Collage”. The photos will need to be received by September 30th. If you do not have a picture of your baby, you can use an ultrasound picture or a picture of something that you feel represents your baby.
Project Finding Your Rainbow
Project Finding Your Rainbow is helping to raise awareness for pregnancy and infant loss year round. The rainbow skirt travels from one loss family to the next. They take photos with the skirt and share their loss story. There have been over 170 participants across 41 states and 3 other countries, including Australia, the UK, and Canada. If you would like to learn more or participate in the project, read the Project Finding Your Rainbow link.
Pregnancy Loss Resources
Star Legacy Foundation – This is a group made up of healthcare professionals, researchers, policy makers, and loss families. Their goal is to help reduce pregnancy loss and neonatal loss. They offer online support groups for bereaved parents, grandparents, pregnancy after loss, and parenting after loss. Their other goal is to raise awareness of pregnancy loss, so more people understand how many people are affected by it.
Pregnancy After Loss Support – This group is for those who are pregnant or trying to get pregnant after loss. Their Facebook groups offer support for every type of loss, including a special group for termination for medical reasons, pregnancies after each trimester loss, and an infant loss support group. Their goal is to provide emotional support for women going through the anxiety that surrounds being pregnant after a loss.
SANDS – This is a nonprofit organization in the UK that helps provide support for any family that has experienced the death of a baby and a loss of a pregnancy. They also work to improve the bereavement care that families receive after such a loss. There are many supportive articles available to read on their site.
Tommy’s – This organization is also in the UK and provides support to families who have been through pregnancy or infant loss. They also do research to try to help prevent these losses from occurring.
March of Dimes – This organization works to stop preventable maternal and fetal loss, along with pre-term births. They have a bereavement support program that helps parents who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss. They have many programs to help stay involved with the baby loss community.
No matter what you decide to do during the month of October, or even if you do not do anything at all, just know that you are not alone. You could even choose to do something just specifically on October 15, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Pregnancy and infant loss is something that so many people go through, yet it is still considered taboo to talk about. This month is a time to break the silence and start talking about our babies. Let’s honor them and keep their memories alive.
If you are struggling to cope with the loss of a pregnancy or infant, please reach out for help. Talk to your doctor, a therapist, or join a support group. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 if you are in need of immediate help.
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