October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. October 15th is the day of remembrance of all babies and infants who have passed. With the upcoming remembrance and celebration of our sweet angel babies/infants, here are five things that loss families/mamas want you to know:
1. 1 in 4. That is the number of women who will experience a pregnancy loss (of any type). It is much more common than what we realize or recognize. Loss is a taboo topic, which can make it hard to reach out and talk about our feelings and experiences.
2. If we do reach out and share our loss with you- being aware of your own responses to loss can be helpful. Do you want to fix it when someone tells you something is wrong? Do you become easily overwhelmed by the emotion of the situation that you move quickly past what was shared? Do you identify with their experience and immediately begin to share your own story with them? Noticing how you respond can be helpful. Fixing it, passing through the topic quickly, and sharing stories are not what we may need during this time. If you do not know what else to do, just sitting and hearing us is perfect. If that feels uncomfortable, please ask what would be the most helpful.
3. Celebrate with us. These are our babies. When we experienced the loss, we also lost our hopes, dreams, and wishes for the future of these children. That said, celebrating their lives is a big deal. When talking about our losses, a good question to ask would be “how do you plan/have you thought about how you would like to celebrate them?” This may not be something we have thought about yet, and could be helpful in creating healing memories.
4. A new pregnancy or baby after our loss does NOT make our previous losses go away or become suddenly less painful. It can bring up new grief around what our babies would have been like and how they have siblings that they will not know during this time. While walking through this with us, please ask us how we feel about this and if there is anything you can do to support us with this. While everyone expects us to be happy because there is a new life, we are also feeling the complex feelings of grieving our child(ren) as well.
5. Postpartum anxiety and depression do not single out mothers- and a mother who has experienced a loss may be more at risk of experiencing the onset of anxiety or depression. Partners can experience this as well. Provide us with resources if you see that we are struggling, the more that we are validated during this time and have the support that we need, the more likely we are to create a healthy meaning and experience of our loss.
-Written by a mother of angle babies and a trained bereavement doula
Bosom Buddy's services have recently expanded to include Prenatal/Postpartum/Loss Counseling. If you, or someone you know, may benefit from these services, we are honored to support you (and your family) during this time. Bosom Buddy also has two bereavement doulas available to support you.
Pregnancy and infant loss can be seasons of deep grief and sadness, and please know that you do not have to walk through this season alone.