NATIONAL PREGNANCY & INFANT LOSS AWARENESS MONTH
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month occurs every October. During the entire month, we take time to honor and remember those who have lost a child during pregnancy or lost a child in infancy.
Dealing with death in the family is never easy. The death of a baby, either through miscarriage or during infancy, is no exception. There are no instructions on how to grieve the loss of a child. A number of feelings will be experienced. It’s important to make sure you allow yourself as much time necessary to recover from the grieving process. Healing time between family members will vary, but eventually, you will find peace again.
How to Move Forward
Support groups are important for those families grieving the loss of a child. There is comfort in knowing there are other people out there that are going through the same emotions as you. Many parents blame themselves when they lose a child. A good support group will guide you to come to terms with the loss and hopefully help you realize you are not to blame. You need to open up about what you are experiencing. Talking about your emotions with your partner, a friend, a counselor or spiritual leader will help you make sense of your loss. You don’t have to face this loss alone.
Taking care of yourself physically is just as important as taking care of yourself emotionally. Eat healthily. Take an extra nap. Get some fresh air. A healthy body often promotes a healthy mind and visa-versa, and healing means taking care of yourself and learning to refocus. Some parents might be afraid to heal for fear of forgetting their child. That will never happen. You will have their memory forever. Your child will always be in your heart.
HOW TO OBSERVE
The loss of a child is a difficult topic for everyone involved. For extended family members finding the right thing to say is probably the most difficult. Not underestimating the amount of grief is one way to help your family member. Make your family member feel as though the baby mattered to you too. Be supportive by helping the parent deal with life after the loss. Everyone grieves differently, so the loss should never be minimized.
Helping and family during the loss of their child may seem awkward. However, letting parents know you are sorry for their loss is important. Making yourself available to talk is important. When the time is right, you might want to consider suggesting a memorial for the baby. Parent’s are appreciative of any help they can get during the loss of a child. Be there and be a good friend.
On October 25, 1988, President Reagan designated the entire month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. On that day he said: “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes. Now, therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.”
In 2002, Robyn Bear, Lisa Brown and Tammy Novak petitioned the federal government proclaim October 15 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Today, all 50 states have a yearly proclamation in honor of those who have lost a child during pregnancy or during infancy.
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