Most of you know that October is International SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month (and also Breast Cancer Awareness Month). This article will shine a light on the history and meaning for our community, and provide a resource of events and projects you can take part, if you wish, to make this month meaningful for you. It will also offer a list of ways you can support yourself.
According to Wikipedia, the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Movement began in the United States in 1987. On October 25, 1988, American President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. (Read more about the history here.)
In 2007, Congressman Tom Latham of Iowa introduced a House Resolution supporting the Goals and Ideals of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, October 15th, and called on the President of the United States to issue a proclamation encouraging the American people to honor this special day of remembrance.
October 15th and the Wave of Light
On October 15th, now called Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (PAILRD), at 7:00 pm in all time zones, families around the world will light candles (and leave the candle burning for at least an hour) in memory all of the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy. Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.
If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss due to SIDS/SUID, prematurity or other cause, we hope you will join us in this national tribute to create awareness of these tragic infant deaths and provide support to those that are suffering.
Contributors of the Still Standing community have a number of events planned:
- Capture Your Grief by Carly Marie from Project Heal, all through October
- Grief is the New Black workshop for Grieving Mothers by Franchesca Cox from Wildfeathers Wellness, starting October 4th
- SGM Day of Remembrance and Hope Event by Kelly Gerken from Sufficient Grace Ministries, October 10th
Events around the globe:
- Vancouver, Canada – International Stillbirth Alliance conference, Friday October 2nd – meet SS writer Amanda Ross-White there
- Houston, Texas: M. E. N.D. Walk to Remember, Saturday October 3rd – join SS writers Kelly Gerken and Franchesca Cox at the event
To support yourself:
Reach out for support: Grief is isolating. To steer away from isolating yourself, make sure you let those around know, how you’re feeling. Connect with those you feel understood by.
Grief work: Grief work is finding a way to put your loss into perspective and to weave your loss into the fabric of your life. It is allowing feelings, working through them, asking for and receiving comfort. It is remembering the good times and the bad and getting them in perspective. It is remembering and honoring your lost loved one in your heart or in many other ways and by going forward a better person for the gift of that person’s life in your life, no matter how brief. The ‘Capture Your Grief’ project is a one example of doing ‘grief work’.
Facebook: Depending on your use of Facebook, it may be wise to post a comment on your personal page, explaining why and what you’re going to post about during the month of October, for example if you re-post a lot about Pregnancy and Infant Loss to raise awareness. If not, this can be misinterpreted by your friends.
There are a number of groups on Facebook that may be supportive for you. Be aware of the public nature of posting on Facebook, even if it is a private group, so only post what you’re comfortable sharing.
Instagram: Personally, I found the grieving parents community on Instagram to be tremendously supportive and nurturing of each other. How to find them? Search for example #grievingparents and check out the comments underneath the images shared there to find your tribe of like-minded and like-hearted people.
Check out the communities of SS contributors:
- Aidan’s Elephants supports bereaved parents in the UK, by Helen Louise
- All That Love Can Do supports families who continue pregnancy after receiving a fatal diagnosis, by ReaAnne Fredrickson
- Choosing Your Breath is an invitation for grieving mothers to take back control of their grief, their lives and thus their happiness, by Franchesca Cox
- Grieving Parents Support Network is a virtual place for grieving parents to find support online, by Nathalie Himmelrich
- Invisible Mothers is for loss moms with no living children, by Emily Long
- Pregnancy After Loss Support supports moms in a subsequent – after a loss – pregnancy, trying to conceive and parenting the subsequent baby, by Lindsey Henke
- Project Sweet Peas provides care packages and memory boxes to NICU and loss families, by Megan Skaggs
- Reconceiving Loss is a resource centre to support pregnancy and infant loss and healing, by Tara Shafer
- Scribbles and Crumbs is for parents, who have lost a child who has battled a major illness, by Lexi Behrndt
- Still Mothers is for loss families with no living children or those with living children but no baby born after loss, by RaeAnne Frederickson
- Sufficient Grace Ministries offers support and resources for families walking through perinatal loss, by Kelly Gerken
- The Charlie Sawyer Project shares the stories of children who have passed, by Lexi Behrndt
Many Still Standing Magazine contributors offer support to a subgroup of grieving mothers and fathers. If you’d like to know more about the different contributors click here.
Help us create a ‘wave’ of light across our nation!
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