“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.” – President Ronald Reagan, 1988.founding of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month
Each year, thousands of families experience the devastating loss of a pregnancy or infant due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and other causes. This month, we raise our voice in unison with countless others to promote awareness of pregnancy and infant loss and provide grieving families with the understanding and support they need.
While experiencing such immeasurable heartache can make someone feel painfully alone in their grief, the sad truth is that in the United States each year, approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and 1 in 160 ends in stillbirth. While some losses can be attributed to known causes such as chromosomal abnormalities, birth defects, or complications during labor, so much is still unknown about the various causes of these tragedies, which is why it is all the more important that we take this time to highlight the need for awareness and education.
What’s of critical importance to know is that, if you’ve experienced a loss, it is not your fault! You are not alone in what you are going through, and so many others, including your care givers at Axia Women’s Health, are here to be sure you have access to the emotional and physical care needed to get through this difficult time.
For those who are trying to cope with the loss of a pregnancy or an infant, it can seem like everything bright and happy in the world is gone, never to return. It is so very important to recognize that help is available, and there is no shame in seeking it. First, the same family and friends who would have been there with you through every milestone of parenting are still with you now. Perhaps more than ever. Rely on your close loved ones for their love and support, even if you know they can’t truly understand what you are going through. Knowing that they are there for you as you find your way through this–and you will find your way through–can be a powerful comfort when all else feels like shifting sand.
So many others have also suffered through this grieving process for the future they never got to realize with their child, and as such, offer a number of ways to connect and commune with those who have walked the same tragic path you have. These support networks can offer a level of caring and validation that can only come from those “who know.” While a number of organizations offer caring, connected support, the following communities offer options that speak from a place of experience:
For some, finding a way to move forward includes outwardly sharing their stories to both honor their lost little one, as well as provide solace and hope for others facing the same tragic situation. Here are a few organizations that offer guidance on finding peace through reflection and remembrance:
Loss can be very isolating for couples, and everyone grieves in their own way. Being there for your loved one throughout this difficult time is the best way to show your support. Simply be there, listen, and give them permission to feel what they need to, for as long as they need to, without worry about your judgement or wading through advice they aren’t ready to hear. However, while many friends or family members want to be a source of loving support, they find themselves at a loss for what to say. Here are a few tips:
Axia Women’s Health will always be here for our mothers, through every step of their journey to parenthood. If you or a loved one is currently dealing with the loss of a pregnancy or infant, we are here to help and can connect you with the support and guidance needed to help. Contact your doctor to start a conversation today.