“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.” Ronald Reagan.
October is recognized as the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Every year, one in four babies are lost through miscarriage, infant loss, or still births. The Center for Disease Control reports statistics of over 1,000,000 babies being lost annually due to miscarriage or are still born.
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan helped create awareness of these heart wrenching statistics by declaring National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Parents need to grieve. Losing a child is devastating. Their child deserves recognition, and parents need a safe place to acknowledge their loss.
Perhaps you or someone you know has experienced this type of loss. It can be debilitating, causing one to feel a vast array of emotions, and have multiple questions. Or perhaps just one: “Why did this happen?”
Most miscarriages or still births happen due to an unexpected event that cannot be controlled. Despite this many women blame themselves for their loss, and these feelings of guilt or inadequacy may linger for years.
Other reactions might be disbelief, anger, disengagement, incapacity, or more. Whatever a person is feeling, their response is real. It is heartbreaking.
The expectant father may be grieving, too. Some men may find it difficult to express their feelings, but that in no way diminishes them. Many men publicly exhibit a “take it on the chin type” attitude, but inside they are broken and often feel just as much emotion as their partners.
Healing takes time. It is not easy to move on from a loss as life has so many triggers. Calendar dates, such as when your baby was due, or an anniversary of your loss, or simply just hearing of another woman’s pregnancy can all provoke the emotions of grief.
While you may feel that you are alone in this journey of healing, there are others who are also on the road to recovery. Perhaps there is a support group or counselor in your area. Additionally, you may find it beneficial to create a memorial. Planting a tree, dedicating a park bench, or naming a star can often be used as a safe place to grieve as well as providing a little comfort in knowing your child will never be forgotten.
The truth is the impact of this loss may always cause you to revisit your thoughts and feelings. It is part of your story.
After processing their grief, many families have continued building their families through the miracle of embryo adoption. To learn more about embryo adoption and donation, visit EmbryoAdoption.org.