October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Death is the natural end to life, but when a child dies or a pregnancy is lost, that life is cut short before it had a chance to blossom.  For a parent who has endured such a loss, the grief can seem insurmountable.  What began as hope and joy in a the beginning of a new pregnancy suddenly turns to ashes when the pregnancy ends or the child dies.  Each moment is spent reflecting on what one would be doing if their child had lived, how their child would have grown.  Parents who have suffered the death of their child will watch as the world goes on around them and their child does not.

Every year in the United States there are 26,000 stillbirths and 4,000 infants under the age of one that die unexpectedly (First Candle, 2016). Until recently, the topic of pregnancy and infant loss has been a taboo in our society, but thanks to the efforts of groups such as Remembering Our Babies, the fight to recognize the reality of pregnancy and infant loss has been a great success (Remembering Our Babies, 2009).

Beginning in 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared October as Pregnancy and Awareness Month, but to Robyn Bear, the founder of Remembering Our Babies, October 15th resource page, it felt like there still wasn’t a time for parents to talk about their lost child. This prompted her to advocate for recognizing October 15th as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (Remembering Our Babies, 2009). Every year on October 15th at 7pm individuals worldwide participate in what is known as a Wave of Light, in which a candle is lit for one hour in remembrance of all pregnancy and infant losses (Remembering Our Babies, 2009), lighting the world for 24 hours as the Wave passes through each time zone.

For more information, visit http://www.october15th.com/ and http://www.firstcandle.org

Parents who have surviving children must somehow manage to continue to meet those children's needs, knowing that grief will profoundly impact the entire family, while coping with their own loss.   At Ele's Place, we welcome families into our programming to allow them space to remember their child, whose life, no matter how brief, was real and treasured; to share coping skills with their peers; and to join together in the journey they must walk as they adjust to living in a world in which their child has died.  Ele's Place adult child loss support groups are available to parents or guardians of participating Ele's Place children.  For more information on support for grieving parents, please visit The Compassionate Friends or the above links.