Updated: Sep 27
Tens of thousands of families across the United States are devastated each year by the death of their baby. But the grief of these families and the value of their babies’ lives are very rarely acknowledged. In 1988, US President Ronald Reagan declared October as a month to recognize the unique grief of bereaved parents to demonstrate support to the many families who have suffered such a tragic loss. Promoting awareness of pregnancy and infant loss not only increases the likelihood that grieving families will receive understanding and support, but also results in improved education and prevention efforts which may ultimately reduce the incidence of these tragedies.
Some (not so fun) facts about perinatal loss:
6 million pregnancies annually in the United States - America loses more babies annually than any other country in the world
1 in every 4 mothers will statistically lose a child (miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, uncertain fetal diagnosis)
1 in every 6 couples will experience infertility in their family building journey
2% of all pregnancies receive a life-limiting or uncertain fetal diagnosis with parents having to make difficult decisions in their care
More than half of the time there is no explanation, makes healing more difficult not having answers
Baby loss is a family event, not just affecting the parents
There is a social stigma around these losses which results in disenfranchised grief
Why this month is important - Families describe a variety of feelings and experiences around loss of a pregnancy, expected loss following delivery, or unexpected loss of an infant-- grief, confusion, anger, frustration, sadness, loneliness, and loss of connection to everyday life. In the midst of these emotions, many families simultaneously want to celebrate and honor their child's life. Recognizing Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness every October allows our community to acknowledge the pain of those going through loss, to support families in having a voice around their own experiences, and to honor the lives lost and recognize the legacies and stories that live on in families lives and hearts.
How you can support Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month - If you or someone who has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal loss or SIDs, you can:
Send a “thinking of you” card acknowledging the month and their baby (by name!)
Light a candle to honor the International Wave of Light on October 15th
Do a random act of kindness in a baby’s memory
Watch a documentary to further educate yourself and share with others – we recommend Don’t Talk About the Baby
Feel free to save and share the graphics below on social media or with your family and friends. By sharing, we are validating ourselves and others in our community walking the journey of pregnancy and infant loss. October is the perfect month to raise awareness for families like ours!