October may mean something different to those experiencing pregnancy and infant loss
October means a lot of different things to people. Maybe it’s decorating for Halloween, pumpkin spice everything, or creating massive piles of fall leaves that are hard to resist jumping into. What is probably less common, though, is associating October with the month that many also observe Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. Yet, many families know too well the heartache of a lost pregnancy or infant.
In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Later in 2002, a group of women successfully petitioned the federal government, as well as the governors of each of the 50 states, to observe Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th of each year. It is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or the death of a newborn.
Each year, approximately one million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a newborn baby. Most miscarriages occur early on in a pregnancy. While there are many miscarriage causes, the most common is a genetic error during the first few days after conception. However, losing a child later in a pregnancy or after birth is significantly harder for parents.
Parents who lose babies usually feel alone. Health care practitioners often are not well trained in dealing with a patient’s loss. Treatment for mothers generally ends once the physical symptoms of loss have abated. Friends and family may not know how to help.
Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.
Unlike the terms “widow” and “orphan,” no one word describes a woman or parent who has lost a child. Without a simple term, the loss often goes unsaid. Unless you wear a T-shirt emblazoned with your children’s names or tattoo them on your wrist, you rarely speak their names aloud no matter how much you need or want to tell others. And for women who have struggled with pregnancy loss, there seems even less place to mention the love they feel for babies they will never have.
If you or someone you know has suffered miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss due to SIDS/SUID, prematurity or other causes, we hope you will join us in this national tribute to create awareness of these tragic infant deaths and provide support to those that are suffering. Each year October 15th is observed with remembrance ceremonies and candle-lighting vigils. Traditionally, at 7:00 pm in all timezones, families around the world will light candles (and leave the candle burning for at least an hour) in memory of all the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy. On social media you can use #PregnancyAndInfantLossRemembranceDay when posting your remembrance or tribute.
Local support for pregnancy and infant loss
Locally, there are several events you can participate in as a way to honor loved ones. In Lafayette and Baton Rouge, Maddie’s Footprints sponsors fun runs and fundraiser galas as ways to support grieving parents and unite family and friends to celebrate the life of a child. This organization’s mission is to help families who have experienced miscarriages, stillbirths or the loss of an infant. They help lead these families in the right direction when they are in need of information and/or counseling after loss.
Additionally, Maddie’s Footprints offers these families financial assistance for end-of-life expenses and/or medical expenses that can be overwhelming during their difficult time. This includes medical expenses if you have suffered miscarriage or loss and need to see a fertility specialist. Applications for grants are available on their website.
If you’d like to learn more about recurrent pregnancy loss and treatment options, contact our specialists for a one on one consultation.