Today, October 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The loss of a child or pregnancy is one of the most painful experiences for a parent, one that many of our hopeful families are all too familiar with. Unfortunately, too many of these families grieve their loss in silence, never reaching out for help or coming to terms with their experience.
Today, we’d like to share some tips for coping with this devastating loss, as well as resources to help you move forward. If you have any questions, or if you’re looking for some additional information, we encourage you to reach out to a local infertility counselor or grief therapist.
Coping with Your Loss
Learning how to move forward from a pregnancy or child loss can be extremely difficult. You may feel all alone, and you may not be sure who to turn to for help. Know this: You don’t have to go through this on your own.
Here are a few tips for this difficult time:
- Acknowledge your feelings: The loss of a child can leave a large, empty space behind. It can take a long time to process, and you might not understand that what you’re feeling — anger, guilt and sadness — is normal. That’s okay. Coming to terms with your loss will be a lifelong journey. In the meantime, remember to be kind to yourself. If you’re having trouble accepting your experience, don’t be afraid to reach out to an infertility counselor or a therapist.
- Reach out to family and friends: Your friends and family may not understand what you’ve been through, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to help. Your loved ones care about you and are here to support you in any way they can. Spending time with family and friends can also be a good distraction for what you’re going through.
- Build a community: Right now, you might feel like you’re more alone than ever before. But, that isn’t true. There are many couples who have walked in your shoes. If you’re looking for support, consider reaching out to infertility support groups in your area. You might even think about reaching out to other couples online. No matter where you are, help is always available.
- Do something just for you: Self‐care during grief can help ease your pain. Try to get the right amount of sleep, eat healthy, and get plenty of exercise. Tap into your creative side by putting your feelings into words or art. You might even start journaling your feelings. A little bit of patience goes a long way towards healing.
- Seek professional help: If you’ve lost enjoyment from the activities that you used to love, or if you’re experiencing uncontrollable sadness and anger, it’s time to get help. Talking to a therapist can help ease the grief that you’re feeling. If the overwhelming thoughts continue and you’re thinking of harming yourself, please seek help immediately. You can always reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or chat online 24/7.
Helpful Articles and Resources
There are plenty of resources that can help you cope with a pregnancy or infant loss. But if you’re unsure of where to start, we’ve compiled a list of helpful resources for those in your situation:
“Why We Need to Talk About Losing a Baby”: Pregnancy and infant loss is more common than most people realize. Here, read stories from women of all backgrounds about their experience with an unexpected loss.
“5 Precious Things I Realized About Life After Experiencing Infant Loss”: Loss changes us forever. But, there are some things that we can learn about our experience, as this writer details.
“How to Cope with the Grief of Infant Loss”: If you’re looking for more resources on coping, this could be a great place to start. Learn about the unique challenges of moving forward from an infant loss and opportunities for healing.
Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support: Share’s mission is to provide support for those whose lives have been impacted by the sudden loss of a child. They offer a lifetime of support and education for families during the grieving process.
Go Pink and Blue: Go Pink and Blue is an international pregnancy and infant loss awareness campaign. They also offer resources for families affected by pregnancy and infant loss. Families can use the #goPinkandBlue hashtag to stay up to date with this organization.
Grieve Out Loud: Support through Grieve Out Loud comes from trained staff and volunteers. They also have three different services for families looking for someone to talk to.
Commemorating Your Loss
If you’d like to participate in Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, you can join other families in the International Wave of Light. This event is a worldwide lighting of candles taking place at 7 p.m. in your respective time zone. In remembrance of the lives gone too soon, please leave your candle burning for an hour to honor all infants lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and infant death.
However, this isn’t the only way to commemorate your loss. Some families participate in or organize a walk or donate to charities focused on infertility. Others feel most comfortable remembering their loss with a small group of family and friends. How you choose to spend this day is completely up to you.
We know that the resources on this list can only heal a tiny fraction of the pain that you’re feeling. But, please remember that you’re never alone. If you ever need someone to talk to or if you’re looking for additional resources, you can always reach out to a trained infertility counselor or therapist near you.