- 1 in 4 women will lose a baby during pregnancy, delivery or infancy.
- 1 in 160 pregnancies will end in stillbirth.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Month is an annual day of remembrance which is observed every October 15th for families who have experienced pregnancy loss and infant death. Pregnancy loss can occur through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, ectopic pregnancy, and the death of a newborn.
In the past, when this happened, pregnancy and infant loss, while common, was also complicated because of social and cultural taboos to remain quiet about the loss. Thankfully, the World Health Organization today advocates reversing this attitude in favor of open expression, including grief. Now, more people experiencing such a loss are increasingly vocal in support of open expression, even leading by example by sharing their personal experiences of pregnancy loss and infant death to help others realize they are not alone in their grief or emotional pain.
Why Speak Out on Pregnancy Loss
When most of us think about childbirth, we focus on the expected joy and happiness we will feel when our baby finally arrives. But should the pregnancy fail, this unborn child is forever lost to us and the pain that is felt is often poignantly exponential. By reaching out and creating awareness around pregnancy and infant loss we can stand in solidarity with empathy towards those who have lost their deeply loved baby.
The numbers are revealing, as statistics confirm that for every 100 pregnancies, there will be around 10 to 15 of these that will end up being miscarried. This typically occurs within the first trimester (before reaching the 12th week of pregnancy) but the loss factor diminishes in the 2nd trimester. Thankfully, while emotional pain is inevitable for those who experience pregnancy loss there are ways to help soften and mitigate some of this pain.
Ways to Cope With Pregnancy Loss
-One way is to name your baby. By doing so you will always have a mental picture of your child, helping you to remember, honor and keep them close.
-Many find emotional support and comfort by wearing a memorial piece of jewelry honoring their baby. There’s an even stronger emotional connection when this jewelry is also handmade.
-Planting a memorial tree (representing life in another form) in honor of your baby can be a source of comfort.
-Commemorating your baby’s life by getting a memorial plaque or a crystal to help focus your energies and channel your emotions in a positive way.
-Many find solace in donating annually to a charitable organization in your baby’s name to give their passing meaning by doing something good for others.
While no one likes to focus on the painful experiences of those around us, it is an opportunity to become more empathetic towards our fellow human family having dealt with such unfathomable loss. By sharing those feelings with another, we can also find solace from them in our struggle to grow our own families. In that sense, we are all part of the greater human family and being there for another’s unimaginable pain helps strengthen them and fortify ourselves in the process.
October is a good time to reflect on the change of seasons and the winding down of another year. We can also take this time to reach out to those around us who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss and open up to share the pain of our losses. Together we can navigate the challenges and focus on the ways we can still grow our families. It starts with education, understanding the statistics and then bringing light to those who have lived the losses. Our Utah Fertility Center team is here for you and ready to help you on your parenting journey.
If you are ready, you can spread awareness by uploading a story or sharing a photo on social media platforms and including the caption: #nationalpregnancyandinfantlossawarenessday
This educational series provides tools and tips for nurses, physicians, social workers, and other healthcare professionals to help prevent fetal loss and support parents who experience the loss of a baby.