Photo from Facebook
October is a month for many things: breast cancer awareness and LGBT history month are two such things. As it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. The actual commemorative day is October 15th. Yes, there can be a day for anything. Obviously, from my previous posts, this day/month has special meaning for me. But I'm willing to guess that it has meaning for more people that one might imagine.
Statistics say that 1 in every 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. 25%. That's a lot, when you think about people having more than one child. These kinds of losses are ones that are mourned silently as many people don't even share the news that they are pregnant until after the first trimester. For some, miscarriage occurs before the awareness of pregnancy has. It's often thought of a late period. With the advancement in home pregnancy tests, women learn their motherhood-to-be status fairly quickly--within two weeks of ovulation. (Or as my father likes to say, "They just got out of bed.")
Miscarriage can feel so personal to a woman, and this death is viewed differently between partners. Typically, women hold onto the loss for longer and have a harder time "getting over it" than their male partners might. I'm not claiming that men don't feel sadness, but it seems to be to a different degree. This is such a personal loss too, as it marks the loss of a potential. Of plans, and a future that is yet to be.
How can you help a friend, relative, or coworker that has lost a pregnancy?
-Ask how they are doing or if they need anything
-Say you are sorry--but skip the platitudes. You don't know if they couple can have other children. It also feels cruel and minimizing to say that it's "God's plan" or something to that extent.
-Let them know that you are here, but only if you are able to be. Sometimes, having someone to cry with is reassuring.
-Know that it takes time. Just as the loss of a known loved one, a pregnancy loss can be just as painful.
-Acknowledge the loss and be aware that anniversaries can trigger a grief reaction (estimated due dates, anniversary of the loss, "angelversaries")
Next month marks my second angelversary for my son. While time can heal, the loss of him, his sister, and my other baby continue to be a part of me.