Beyond the pink ribbons and breast cancer awareness activities that tend to pop up in abundance at this time of the year, October has another significance that is discussed far less often: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness month.
One in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. That isn’t just a statistic, it’s your sister, your grandmother, your cousin, your college roommate, your high school friend, your co-worker.
If someone you know has opened up to you about their experience with a miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of their infant, do not say…
“At least you know you can get pregnant.”
“Don’t worry, you’ll be pregnant again soon.” (One pregnancy does not replace another. Each pregnancy lost is a specific child who will not be born.)
“Oh, but that is so common. It happens to a lot of people.”
“Be grateful for what you have already.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
Although they may be well-intended, these are not acceptable things to say to someone who is grieving the loss of their child. It can be very hard to learn of someone else’s pain and not know what you can say to make it better. If you’re in this position, tell that person how sorry you are for their loss and remind them that you are there for them. The best thing you can give someone else is your love and support. Listen to them if they want to talk, sit in silence with them if they don’t. Be available if they need something. Grieve with them. Don’t expect them to feel better right away; everyone experiences grief differently and should be allowed to take the necessary time to heal. Remember that there will also be days in the future that are more likely to be painful, especially holidays, Mother’s Day & Father’s Day, birthdays, pregnancy milestones or due dates, and the anniversaries of the loss.
You don’t have to fix it. It can’t be fixed. It just is.
As part of a wonderful blog community, I have come in contact with countless women who have experienced loss. And yet, this is not just something that occurs among a small group of individuals brought together online by their circumstances. Miscarriage affects a significant number of those around us but is often dealt with privately, so you may not even know whom among your own family and friends has suffered through this devastating experience. Unless we break the silence surrounding this issue, how can we provide the necessary support to those who desperately need it?
Help to spread awareness and speak up about pregnancy and infant loss. If you have experienced one or more losses, please consider sharing your story to remind others that they are not alone in their pain.
I’d also like to ask that you keep the following friends in your thoughts and prayers:
- A friend who experienced a loss in July at 8 weeks following IVF. Her little one was affectionately nicknamed PB for “Pizza Baby,” and she will be undergoing another IVF cycle in a few weeks.
- A friend who experienced the loss of her little Ellie at 12 weeks in July following IVF. She will be undergoing another IVF cycle this month.
- A friend who experienced a terrifying ordeal with an ectopic pregnancy last month following IVF. She is currently healing and plans to attempt another round of IVF closer to Christmas.
And for some non-blog friends as well:
- A friend who experienced a loss at 9 weeks several months ago and is now pregnant again. Although they are excited for this new life, they are still wrestling with the overwhelming fear of losing another pregnancy.
- A friend who experienced a loss at 6 weeks in April and has been pursuing fertility treatments over the last few months.
- A friend who is experiencing a loss at 8 weeks after a long battle with infertility and treatment. This is very recent. Please pray for their peace and comfort right now.
And there are so, so many more.
For those facing loss:
For men facing loss:
For those who want to help a loved one through loss: