Most of you know that October is International SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (and also Breast Cancer Awareness Month). In this blog post I’ll share some of the history and meaning for our community, and provide a resource of events and projects you can take part, if you wish, to make this month meaningful for you. It will also offer a list of ways you can support yourself.
According to Wikipedia, the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Movement began in the United States in 1987. On October 25, 1988, American President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. (Read more about the history here.)
In 2007, Congressman Tom Latham of Iowa introduced a House Resolution supporting the Goals and Ideals of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, October 15th, and called on the President of the United States to issue a proclamation encouraging the American people to honor this special day of remembrance.
October 15th and the Wave of Light
On October 15th, now called Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (PAILRD), at 7:00 pm in all time zones, families around the world will light candles (and leave the candle burning for at least an hour) in memory all of the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy. Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.
If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss due to SIDS/SUID, prematurity or other cause, we hope you will join us in this national tribute to create awareness of these tragic infant deaths and provide support to those that are suffering.
Contributors of the Still Standing community have a number of events planned:
- Capture Your Grief by Carly Marie from Project Heal, all through October
- Grief is the New Black workshop for Grieving Mothers by Franchesca Cox from Wildfeathers Wellness, starting October 4th
- SGM Day of Remembrance and Hope Event by Kelly Gerken from Sufficient Grace Ministries, October 10th
Events around the globe:
- Vancouver, Canada – International Stillbirth Alliance conference, Friday October 2nd
- Houston, Texas: M. E. N.D. Walk to Remember, Saturday October 3rd
To support yourself:
Reach out for support: Grief is isolating. To steer away from isolating yourself, make sure you let those around know, how you’re feeling. Connect with those you feel understood by.
Grief work: Grief work is finding a way to put your loss into perspective and to weave your loss into the fabric of your life. It is allowing feelings, working through them, asking for and receiving comfort. It is remembering the good times and the bad and getting them in perspective. It is remembering and honoring your lost loved one in your heart or in many other ways and by going forward a better person for the gift of that person’s life in your life, no matter how brief. The ‘Capture Your Grief’ project is a one example of doing ‘grief work’.
Facebook: Depending on your use of Facebook, it may be wise to post a comment on your personal page, explaining why and what you’re going to post about during the month of October, for example if you re-post a lot about Pregnancy and Infant Loss to raise awareness. If not, this can be misinterpreted by your friends.
There are a number of groups on Facebook that may be supportive for you. Be aware of the public nature of posting on Facebook, even if it is a private group, so only post what you’re comfortable sharing.
Instagram: Personally, I found the grieving parents community on Instagram to be tremendously supportive and nurturing of each other. How to find them? Search for example #grievingparents and check out the comments underneath the images shared there to find your tribe of like-minded and like-hearted people. Or find me on Instagram under the handle @mymissbliss.