October 15, 2014 at 7:26 PM
Today is October 15th., The National Day of Remembrance for Pregnancy Loss and Early Infant Death. For the past three years, I have lit a candle to remember, to honor families and to spread the awareness. Every year I am reminded of the people who were brought into my life because of my loss. I am grateful for the families who continue to support me through my loss and for the gifts of friendship that were strengthened and grew in Faith because of my loss. I light this candle as a true reminder of the strength I have seen in people and the goodness that I have witnessed because of my loss.
Before December 8, 2011, I did not know October was Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. I didn’t know October 15th was a National Day of Remembrance. I didn’t know 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage. I did not realize how pregnancy loss had and will affect so many of my friends and family. It was only after my experience that I became aware of these remembrance days, these moments that mean so much to families and the beauty that can be found in loss and death.
Part of the mission of Hopeful Connections was to make sure we spread the word about pregnancy loss and help parents feel comfortable speaking and honoring the loss of a child during pregnancy and in early infancy. October 15th is the perfect way to help society become more aware, to become more sensitive, to pause for a moment to think of families who have been the 1 in 4. Lighting a candle is an easy thing to do. Sharing that candle on social media, with friends and family, and being happy to do so, only helps families and women to feel supported in their grief, to feel it is ok to remember and to speak of their child. I have experienced the love of friends, acquaintances and family because I was confortable sharing my story with them. This is where the beauty lies in the moments of darkness. People can bring great light into the life of a grieving parent.
I have always been asked by friends, "what can I do to help friends or family who experience a loss?". It is October; Pregnancy loss awareness month, and in honor of that I am going to list ways people have helped me as I journey through grief.
1. Remember your friend or family member’s baby’s birthday. If you do not know their specific birthday, remember the month/date their child was due. Every mother remembers the month they were supposed to have a child. We remember the day we lost the child and we grieve those times. Send a card to your friend telling them you remember these moments too. You will not make your friend sad or make them cry. They are already feeling these emotions. You will make them feel supported and validated in their grief.
2. If your friend or family member named their baby, speak of their child by name. I always love when people speak of Jude to me. Once again, this does not make me sad. It makes me feel happy to know he made an impact on their life too and he is not forgotten.
3. Send a message to someone this month who has experienced a loss to tell them you are thinking of them and their child. There really isn’t a day that goes by when I don’t think of Jude. As time goes by, I may talk less about him with friends. When someone reaches out, it helps to know I can rely on them if I need them.
4. Allow your friend to speak about the child they lost, even if it is years later. A mother never forgets and grieving never ends. Be understanding that their grief process will change and grow but they still may need to speak about their experience years later.
5. Support your friend and invite them to an October remembrance event. Your presence with them at an event honoring their baby is so special. Continue to look for events throughout the holidays that may be happening for them to honor their child.
6. Light a candle today, October 15th and honor those children who have gone too soon. Share this day with those you know so they too can get used to honoring and speaking of pregnancy loss and the importance of speaking of these children so our society becomes
I have been blessed. I thank all those people who understand how bittersweet October 15th can be and who ignite the Faith I have in relationships to support and journey with one another throughout this month and all those that follow.