Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month was first declared by President Ronald Reagan on October 25, 1988.
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.”
Robyn Bear, founder of http://www.october15th.com envisioned a day when all grieving parents could come together and be surrounded by love and support from their friends and families, a day where the community could better understand their pain and learn how to reach out to those grieving. This would be a day to reflect on the loss yet embrace the love. While our babies’ lives where so brief, they were also very meaningful. Yet, there was not a time to talk about them. Our society seemed to forget or perhaps, simply didn’t know how to reach out. Since October had been proclaimed “Awareness Month”, she chose a day, in the middle of the month to become, “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day”. We are asking everyone in all times zones, worldwide, to join us in a candle lighting ceremony at 7pm on October 15th.
Keep a candle burning for at least 1 hour and there will be a continuous wave of light over the entire world. This provides parents, grandparents, siblings, relatives and friends a special day of remembrance for those we have lost.
Many of us here at our MOPS groups have experienced the loss of a child through miscarriage or infant loss. The statistics show that 1 in 4 women will experience this type of loss in their lifetimes. I encourage all of us to pause to pay tribute to and remember our own losses or the losses of those we know. As one who continues to seek meaning and purpose from my own loss 23 years ago, I encourage you to reach out to those women you know who have experienced the death of a baby.
Here are a few care tips for helping those who are hurting through loss:
-Pray and ask for wisdom from God as you seek to help
-Go right away – don’t assume someone else will go
-Listen, listen, listen, there is really nothing for you to say except “I’m so sorry”
-Meet practical needs, food, childcare, home supplies, etc.
-Ask, “What is your most pressing need right now?”
-Stop by or call regularly & continue to show support
-Don’t shy away from talking about the loss
Here are a few trusted Christian-centered books that have been helpful in my experience of losing a full term baby. Please contact me if you have any questions or want to talk to someone about infant or pregnancy loss.