On Oct. 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. On Oct. 15, 2002, the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day Campaign began as an American movement. This is a time of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth, SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and the death of a newborn.
At Comanche County Memorial Hospital Women’s Services, we want to support our families who are remembering their baby/babies. Too many families grieve in silence and we want them to know we remember them. One in four pregnancies end in loss; the grief of these families and the value of their babies’ lives are rarely acknowledged. It’s often not spoken about, but those who mourn often need support and understanding.
This is a time where our community can come together to support and learn how to reach out to families who have experienced a loss during this time. When someone you love is experiencing a loss as tragic as the death of a child, knowing what to say or how to help can be challenging.
While every situation and family is different, there are things most families appreciate during this time.Mostly, let them know they are not alone. This may not even require words. Giving a hug, sending a few words, or simply sitting in silence lets the family know you are there for them and remember their baby. What may seem like small or insignificant acts are often the loving gestures remembered positively in the days and months to come.
A few ways to participate in giving awareness and remembrance could be tying a pink and blue ribbon around a tree or releasing butterflies. On Oct. 15, participate in the International Wave of Light by lighting a candle at 7 p.m. local time to honor all babies gone too soon. Keep your candle lit for at least one hour to create a continuous “wave of light” across all time zones covering the entire globe.
Wherever you are in the world, you will be joining families, friends, loved ones and supporters in memory of all children who pass away in pregnancy, during birth, in infancy and beyond. Use #PregnancyAndInfantLossRemembranceDay or #NeverBeStill to post on social media.
If you or someone you care about has lost a child at any point during pregnancy or infancy, please join us in raising awareness this October for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Promoting awareness of pregnancy and infant loss not only increases the likelihood that grieving families will receive understanding and support, but it also results in improved education and prevention efforts.
Kate Copass, RNC-OB, BSN, IBCLC, is Clinical Charge Nurse of Women’s Services at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.