Saturday, October 01, 2011

October: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

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In the United States alone, 2,000 women lose a baby each day.  The statistics are 1 in 4 women will experience the loss of a baby, either during pregnancy through miscarriage (less than 20 weeks), stillbirth (greater than 20 weeks) or early infant loss. Then there are those women who are the 1 in 4, who lose multiple babies.  

My experience through pregnancy loss has been a process and the first 2 times it was diminished and swept under the rug by many including my physicians.  Most recently, after my third loss, I could no longer keep it under the rug. It was through the faithful, loving support of many that I could find a path of healing. I cannot go back and take the knowledge I have now and change the course of events for me but I cannot keep it silent either. I have vowed to honor my babies by never letting someone else walk alone in this.  

So today, on October 1, I remind you that October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. And specifically, October 15 is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  Many will mark this month with candle lighting vigils, remembrance walks, balloon releases and more.

On my journey through this I was able to find many avenues of support.  

Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope, which started in the summer of 2010 after Kristin Cook's daughter Stevie was stillborn at 26 weeks, has been a wonderful way for women to share their stories...many fresh after the ultrasound screen gone still and many long years later when they finally are finding a voice to the pain they had hidden for so long. In these interwebs we find community in a club no one ever would choose to join, yet thankful for those who get it. I had the opportunity to share my story on Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope...tapping out "I am the Face of Repeat Miscarriage" on the keyboard was an important step in my healing. 

The Missing GRACE Foundation has been serving families for 10 years.  Founded by Steve and Candy McVicar after their daughter Grace was stillborn due to a cord issue. They longed to provide the support that they could not find. In those 10 years Missing GRACE has provided Crisis Care services in the hospital for families preparing to deliver their still babies or those who's babies are not expected to live long after birth. Someone to take pictures, video and help families with decisions and planning.  They have also facilitated support groups for those who are grieving due to miscarriage, still birth and infant well as those struggling with infertility and adoption and pregnancy after loss. They have recently opened The Center for G.R.A.C.E. as the Foundation's permanent headquarters where they hold support groups, offer grief counseling, a library and a gift shop of beautiful items to honor and remember babies and so much more. I have attended the support group through Missing GRACE for more than a year and have built beautiful friendships with other women and their families...forever friends doing this life together.

There are many more organizations that support those who have experienced this type of loss, these are just two that have touched my life personally. Visit their websites for more information.  Whether you know this kind of loss, know someone who does or just want to know more about how to support these organizations and the people they serve.

Remember with me!

1 comment:

  1. I am right here with you, Jen. I lost my 2nd baby at 6 weeks on October 7 2008, a day that is coming up fast. I wake up every morning lately thinking I forgot it. I will never forget my baby.

    Big hugs and love to you, Jen.