October is a month set aside to raise awareness about a topic that most people are uncomfortable talking about: the fact that not all babies survive. Sadly, this leaves thousands of women and men to grieve the loss of a child silently. It is time that we break the silence! Research show that 1 in for 4 pregnancies will end in a loss. This includes babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. That is a lot of people! I was blessed to receive a tremendous amount of support after we lost Isabelle in July 2014. That support is what kept me moving forward each day. Not everyone is blessed with the amount of support that I received. It is time that as a society, we change our mindset, and start reaching out to those who are grieving silently.
What can I do?
1.) Reach out when someone you know experiences a loss. Acknowledging the life of their child, however brief, is important and powerful. This can be through a simple text, social media, or even a short card in the mail. Let them know you are thinking about and praying for them now and in the future.
2.) Remembering the anniversary of a loss, or the child’s birthday can be a tremendous source of encouragement for grieving parents. Simply sending a card or message on that day is an acknowledgement that their child is both loved and missed. I, personally, also appreciated the cards that I received in the mail months after we lost Isabelle. They were sent simply to let me know that I was being prayed for and thought about.
3.) Make yourself available to talk about it, but don’t push them. Call or drop by (after calling first) periodically in the months following the loss. Allow them to talk if they feel ready, and LISTEN. Do not offer advice unless a specific question is asked. Many grieving parents are frustrated by unsolicited advice from someone who has not experienced the loss of a child.
4.) Help raise awareness this October! October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. There are numerous events that take place all over the country. One simple one that you can participate in, is the Wave of Light that takes place on October 15 at 7:00pm. It is a moment set aside to honor the memory of all the babies in heaven as well as raise awareness. Last year, thousands of people posted pictures of lit candles in memory of a child they lost, or for all losses in general. Social media can be a beautiful thing. For more information, click here.
These are only a few of the numerous ways that you can support those who have lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. Together, this October, we can raise awareness and change our society’s attitude so that thousands of parents do not grieve in silence.