October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. According to the Centers for Disease Control, about 1% of all pregnancies are stillborn, and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. Even more prevalent is miscarriage. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates 10-25% of pregnancies will end in miscarriage, usually in the first semester.
Given the statistics, it is more than likely that you or someone you love has been impacted by miscarriage, yet it is rarely talked about.
Luckily, with the internet, families who have experienced pregnancy or infant loss can feel connected. When we lost our first baby in a second-trimester miscarriage, we had been blogging the entire pregnancy and TTC process. Friends I knew only from online, surrounded us with love, sent comforting gifts and messages, and comforted both of us way more than the “bereavement folder” the hospital gave us with the paperwork to cremate our baby.
Besides our blogging community, we were also able to find a local Metro Detroit group called Angel Kisses. It is a group started by three local women who had late-term pregnancy losses. Their original goal was to raise money for Beaumont’s “A Child Remembered” program, and after their first fundraiser, they raised almost $6,000. Since 2009, the group has grown to operate as a not-for-profit organization and has raised over $70,000 to support perinatal bereavement programs at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, MI and St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, MI
Because we told our story and didn’t let the anyone dictate who or where we shared our loss, we have been comforted all these years. Our children know about their brother who died “in mama’s belly” before they were born. We acknowledge our loss date, our due date, and October 15th. We are grateful for the families who have come before us to share their stories and for this special day of the year where it is not taboo to talk about this sensitive topic.
Have you or someone you know experienced pregnancy or infant loss? If so, I invite you to light a candle with me at 7pm on October 15th. Families around the world will light candles in memory of all the babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy. No one has to grieve in silence.