President Ronald Reagan first declared Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month on October 15th, 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.”
Every year, millions of mothers and fathers grieve in silence and long for ways to honor their babies, who are no longer in their womb or wrapped in their arms.
Pregnancy and infant loss are difficult topics for many, whether you’ve experienced loss or are supporting someone who has. We wanted to break the silence and help you navigate this month of remembering.
Did you know that 1 out of every 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage, and 1 in every 160 pregnancies end in stillbirth. These numbers do not include infant death from preterm labor, diagnosis of life-limiting conditions, or SIDS. While this is an alarming statistic, these babies are more than just a number and worth remembering and honoring.
You likely know someone who has been affected by pregnancy or early infant loss, so you may be wondering how you can support them during this month of remembrance.
Here are a few ideas:
LIGHT A CANDLE
On October 15th, join others around the world by participating in the International Wave of Light, by lighting a candle at 7 pm in your time zone. Lighting a candle is a simple yet beautiful way to honor children who are safely in the arms of Jesus. If you are lighting a candle to remember a specific child, reach out to that family and let them know you honor and remember their baby.
SEND A GIFT
Every single person and family grieve loss differently.
If it is appropriate and will love the family well, send a note, flowers, meal, or a personalized gift. Some examples of beautiful keepsake gifts could include a personalized necklace for the mom to wear, an ornament to hang on the Christmas tree every year, or a tree for the family to plant together in their yard.
This simple gesture of a gift of thoughtful action can speak a thousand words to a grieving family. Especially as the months and years go on after a loss, it can be the sweetest salve to an aching heart when family and friends remember an angel baby.
BREAK THE SILENCE
This topic is a hard one to talk about with others. It can often be a taboo subject in our society.
Why? Because dealing with death is never easy, let alone when it involves a child. No words seem adequate during grief to fill the pain and void someone may feel who has lost a little one but don’t be afraid to enter in and ask the family how they are doing and what they need.
Words have power and bringing up their loss or speaking their child’s name can be the best encouragement for their weary hearts, especially during this month of remembrance.
Join us this month as we remember and honor all the precious babies that are no longer with us.
If you or someone you know would like additional support or resources, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org