October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This month has been close to my heart since losing our sweet Isabelle in 2014. Many are shocked to know that an estimated 1 in 4 women will experience pregnancy or infant loss at some point. Moreover, our society is uncomfortable with women talking about their loss. This leaves thousands of women alone to deal with the intense grief that comes with losing a child. It is important to raise awareness so that we can better support those who have experienced a loss. It is time to put aside any uneasiness we may have about this topic and encourage discussion.
Here are 6 ways in which you can help promote Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month:
1. Acts of Kindness
Consider participating in my 31 Days of Kindness Challenge in memory of a specific child (or all children lost during pregnancy or shortly after). Simply print the handout, hang it on the refrigerator, and then choose one act of kindness to do each day during October. If the opportunity presents itself, share why you are doing acts of kindness – to help raise awareness for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. The list can be completed in any order and includes items for both children and adults.
2. Charity Miles App
Do you enjoy walking, running, or biking? Charity Miles is an amazing app that donates money to a charity of your choice each time you walk, run, or bike! Simply download the app and create an account following the directions here. Once it is set up, all you have to do is open the app to help raise money from the comfort of your treadmill, neighborhood, or bike!
I have created a team called “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness,” and I will be running as “Isabelle’s Mom.” I would love for you to join me and share on social media each time you exercise for a good cause!
3. Donate to a Charity
There are many amazing charities out there. I wanted to highlight a smaller one that I have mentioned on my blog a few times. Molly Bears is an amazing nonprofit that sends grieving parents a teddy bear that matches the birth weight of their baby. Parents are able to personalize their bear. We requested that our “Isabelle Bear” have a pink tutu and cute headband that matched an outfit we were given at a baby shower.
Parents pay a small fee that does not come close to covering the cost of making a bear. This is a wonderful charity that helps parents who have lost a child to grieve and move forward in a very concrete way. This is the charity that I typically recommend when people ask me what charity they should donate to when someone they know loses a baby. Although only parents can submit an order for a bear, anyone can make a donation. Click here to see all the ways you can help support Molly Bears.
4. Educate Yourself
Loss is often sudden and unexpected. Educate yourself on ways to best support someone who has lost a child. Check out this post I wrote last year about how to support a friend who has lost a baby. I would also encourage you to read this great post by Ginny who blogs over at Not So Formulaic. She has compiled a great list of resources that is definitely worth checking out.
5. Don’t be Afraid to Talk
Don’t be afraid to speak up. Whether you have experienced a loss or are reaching out to a friend, put aside any discomfort you may have and speak up! It is incredibly important that those who experience a loss are able to find support to help deal with the intense emotions that come with losing a child.
The most important thing that you can do this month is to pray daily for those who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. Pray for each person by name. Ask God to place people in their lives to help them grieve and move forward. Pray that God, who has a more beautiful plan than we can ever imagine, will comfort their hearts. Ask God to give them the strength to face the challenges of each new day. Ask Him to send daily reminders of His tremendous love for them. Pray.
If you can’t seem to find the words to pray, here are a few verses from the Bible upon which to reflect:
1 Corinthians 15:20-28
Death is a difficult topic that we will all be faced with at some point in our lives. Grief can be an unrelenting daily companion to those who have lost someone dear to their heart. This month, let us specifically remember those who have lost a child during pregnancy or shortly after. Help us raise awareness so that no one feels completely alone when faced with one of the most cruel forms of grief: outliving your own child. Supporting one another can help us all grow and move forward. Let us join hands, and let our voices be heard this month.