Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

(Topic: loss, grief, awareness)

What is this Awareness Month?

This month is a special one in the USA, but I don’t know if other countries officially observe it. Back in 1988, President Reagan specified October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (Full text of the official declaration at this link).

The idea is to help people who have not gone through a loss to know that it still happens. If people know it’s a problem, this helps in 2 ways: 1) they might feel less betrayed if it happens to them, and less like a single aberrant case, which is a lonely stance, and 2) researchers will be more likely to pick up the topic to potentially develop both ways to support people going through it and ways to prevent it in the first place. As he said in his declaration: “It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.”

You may notice elements of the awareness “campaign” if you see things like a half-pink, half-blue awareness ribbon; you may see posts about people’s babies who died or some friends may go very quiet on social media for the month. Some newspapers or television stations may even do features about some of the support or research organizations created to help parents going through this type of tragedy.

Awareness ribbon with cockade, that I made for our door (a tiger is the symbol we use for our son Charlie). We have had one on each door to the house since we moved in.

What will this blog do?

I will be posting a lot about loss this month, but will have posts about topics that will be helpful, I hope, to share with non-loss friends to help them understand.

Post topics will include:

  • What is helpful to say or do for a friend who lost a baby?
  • How common is Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss?
  • Words associated with Pregnancy and Infant Loss

 Please feel free to comment below or on Facebook or Instagram @being_charlies_mama with any other things you think it would be helpful for me to write about.

Why is this month special to this blogger (Sarah) personally?

My son Charlie was born (stillborn) in 2016, and since then, October has been a month were we make time to visit Charlie at the cemetery (we go other times too, of course!) and where we make sure to talk to others about him. There are also memorial ceremonies and walks that we take part in, and it really helps us feel that our otherwise invisible son is acknowledged and remembered. October was also the month we found out that I was pregnant, back in 2015, which adds an extra layer for us. You can read more of our story by choosing the “Who is Charlie” link at the top of this page, or clicking here.

Related Dates

October 15th is Remembrance Day, specifically, so many ceremonies and remembrance walks are scheduled on or right around this date. There is also a “wave of light” – lighting a candle at 7pm, that many people around the world take part in. By lighting a candle in memory of a baby, or multiple babies, from 7-8 pm in your own timezone, there will be a continuous light going around the world as people in each zone light their candles.

Wave of Light 2017 at our house. I lit a candle for every loss family (and each baby thereof) that I knew personally. Too, too many. Love to every single one. The white/orange/black candle with a tiger ribbon is for our son Charlie.
What can I, the reader, do?

  • Share this post! Talk about the issue, post about the issue, or share links about the issue. The more people know about this, the more likely it becomes that the people who can do something about it will hear. Also, the more people know about it, the more supported loss-parents will be. Please feel free to post links to this post or any other post on this blog. If posting on Facebook, link the @beingcharliesmama account or me personally, Sarah Warner. Direct link to this post is https://clothespress.blogspot.com/2018/10/pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness.html
  • Light a candle from 7-8pm on October 15th. It can be in memory of one specific baby, multiple babies, or if you don’t know anyone, light one in honor of all the babies who died too soon. If you are in a dorm and can’t have candles, you can use a nightlight or battery candle, or light one at a local church or chapel or house of worship if that’s available to you. It isn’t the candles per se ­čÖé it’s the love and thoughts and memories!
  • If you know someone who lost a baby, whether during pregnancy at any point or after birth, let them know you’re thinking of them. Just sending a quick text or PM, or a card in the mail – whatever your normal way of chatting with that mom or dad might be. Don’t forget the dads! They miss their children too.

Yours,

Sarah

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Resource list: Visit my spreadsheet at www.tinyurl.com/infantloss

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