Friday, October 15, 2010

oct 15th: national pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day

today is October 15th: National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
each year, somewhere around one million pregnancies in America alone end all too soon: in miscarriage, stillbirth or the death of a newborn child.


October was designated, over 20 years ago, as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. this day, the middle of the month, was finally designated 2 years ago as a remembrance day to bring comfort, healing and unity to parents (and their family & friends) who have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss. many observe it by lighting a candle from 7-8pm their local time, knowing that many around the world are doing so and feeling less alone in their grief.

the point of October 15th is that it allows parents to openly remember their loss, and to have their loss recognised, without any shame or apology. too often, they aren't even comfortable identifying themselves as "parents" if they have no living children. however, they have experienced the love and hope for a child just the same, even if it was for too short a time, and the lives of those children are just as significant and meaningful than if they had been born.

pregnancy loss is so often kept as a tragic secret, because society is not only uncomfortable with grief, but also confused as to how to reach out and offer support. many are hesitant to acknowledge the loss because they're afraid they might cause more pain by doing so. on the contrary, a parent who's lost a child probably thinks of them often, and any remembrance of that child is appreciated and treasured, especially because they only live on in memory. when you are courageous enough to come alongside someone who is grieving and put your arm around them -- literally or figuratively -- you are giving them invaluable gifts: knowledge that they're not doing this alone, empathy in their pain, and hope for the future.

so today, if you or someone you love has experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or newborn death, please don't be afraid to remember and recognize the loss, and offer comfort and unity to those whose hearts need healing. thanks.