On October 15, we mark Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (PAILRD). Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is dedicated in remembrance of pregnancy loss and infant mortality, including miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDs or newborn death. The day is observed annually in the U.S.
Other countries, including the U.K., have also begun to participate. Perhaps the most memorable aspect of the day involves the “International Wave of Light,” in which participants from all around the U.S. and other countries light a candle for one hour in honor of the day (7:00 p.m. in each time zone). The idea behind the wave of light is that a continuous chain of candles exists from coast to coast and even across the globe, in memory of those children who passed during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
October 15th is a special day for those who have lost a child during pregnancy or infancy, as so many of these individuals and couples feel as if theirs should be a silent grief. Many well-meaning family and friends struggle to know the right things to say or do when such a loss occurs. In grief, each person responds in different ways. Some people would like to discuss the emotion while some prefer to grieve quietly. Either way, it is important to acknowledge the grief.
In the month of October, we wish to encourage individuals to reach out with love and support to those who have experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. Being a compassionate, caring friend or family member doesn’t have to involve big gestures or gifts – it can simply mean spending some time with the person and listening, even if they do not wish to talk about their loss. The idea of returning to normality or of finally feeling normal is going to seem foreign for those who experience a sudden loss, but they might enjoy simple activities like getting some fresh air, going to see a movie, or sharing a home-cooked meal with a friend. It might not seem like much, but small gestures that show you are there, ready for whatever is needed, can go a long way to making life feel a little less overwhelming.
No method is perfect – everyone grieves differently. There is no right way to grieve or right amount of time after which someone should be over their loss. You can only do so much, but trying is important. Sometimes people will want to talk for hours and sometimes they will prefer to be silent – either is okay. For those family and friends who will undergo fertility treatments or third-party reproduction procedures in order to build a family after miscarriage or infant loss, Fertility Solutions hopes to serve as a resource for any information you may need – when you’re ready to move forward. Until then, we take the time to remember PAILRD and hope that those grieving know our thoughts are with you.