October 15, 1997 was circled in my Franklin Day Planner and on that date the words “Due Date” where written. My husband and I were expecting our first child and we were so excited. Little did I know that when I made that notation in ink in my planner, that I would not be holding my first child that day – instead I would look at that day on my calendar and cry as I grieved the loss of my first baby.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and October 15th is the day all across the world that we remember those babies who left their families too soon. For those left behind, whether it be a single parent, a married couple, siblings, grandparents or friends of the family, the grieving process is a difficult, unanticipated journey. Grief does not discriminate, and it does not follow a set pattern for each person.
While leading causes of infant death in the first year include (but aren’t limited to) birth defects, premature birth/low birth weight and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), knowing the reason for a child’s death rarely provides a grieving family with the comprehensive comfort they need.
Bereaved families long for others to acknowledge the importance and life of their child no matter how old the baby was at birth and regardless of how long the baby lived. Families who experience a miscarriage also feel this way and need the same compassion and support. Having a strong support network where feelings can be shared in a safe and open manner is paramount to the grief process. Sharing memories, hopes, dreams and disappointments is an important part of the grieving and healing process.
Is there someone in your life that has experienced the death of their child? If so, contact them today and tell them that you are thinking about them. If you know their child’s name, do not hesitate to call their child by name; it comforts them to know someone remembers their child. They will appreciate your kindness, you taking the time to remember their child, and to remember that they still long for that child. The loss of a child is one of life’s most traumatic events but equally traumatic is never having your child mentioned or remembered.
Today, I, along with others around the globe remember our children and the hopes and dreams we had for them and for our families. We invite you to join us tonight at 7pm your local time for the Global Wave of Light where everyone is encouraged to light a candle and leave it burning for at least one hour to remember all babies that have died too soon.
For more information please visit https://babyloss-awareness.org/get-involved/#wave-light
If we can provide support to you or a loved one please email us at [email protected]