Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is set aside each October to commemorate pregnancy loss, infant mortality, miscarriage, and newborn death, including stillbirths and infants who died of SIDS. By holding a national month of remembrance, we recognize the grief that so many couples and individuals have experienced, including those who struggle with their grief in silence.
Supporting someone who has experienced a loss
The month provides a publicly-acknowledged opportunity to provide better education and resources to those well-meaning family members and friends who wish to offer their support, but don’t know what to say, how to say it, or whether they should say anything at all. So often, in the desire to avoid causing hurt or discomfort, we choose to say nothing in situations where grief seems insurmountable, but this has the unfortunate consequence of failing to do anything at all.
Supporting someone who has experienced a pregnancy loss or infant death can feel like a minefield, but the important thing to remember is to keep it simple. What people so often need most is to feel like they can speak freely, without judgment, to a captive audience – it doesn’t matter if you feel like you can’t provide the exact advice or if you struggle to say something meaningful. Your presence and attention are all that matters. Additionally, there’s a reason why people will offer to complete chores or run errands in the days, weeks and months after a loss. If you feel that offering to prepare a few meals or make a run to the post office will be helpful so your friend or family member can rest, then feel free to make the offer.
If you have experienced a loss
It’s important to remember that those who are grieving can seek the care of a professional who works with those who have experienced this type of loss. Additionally, it may not suit every person or couple, but support groups (both online and in-person) exist for this very purpose. Support groups can be male-only, female-only or just for couples.
There is no “correct” way to grieve or right amount of time to start and end the grieving process. Grief is a process that everyone handles differently, and it is not up to anyone to decide how someone should grieve and how long the process should take. Fertility Solutions hopes to continue to raise awareness and provide education on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and serve as a resource for those who have experienced loss and those who wish to support family and friends who are experiencing such grief.