According to the CDC, infant loss by stillbirth alone affects about 24,000 families every year. Infant loss awareness month happens annually in October and acknowledges the loss thousands of families go through every year. While all-year-round baby and pregnancy companies seem to focus on the joy of birth and babies, when October comes, things look different. The baby community recognizes the parents and families that suffer — often in silence — after losing a pregnancy or child.
Is There a Baby Loss Awareness Day?
The actual date of October 15th is world pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day, but there are various ways to support the cause and learn more all month (and all year) long.
What is Infant Loss?
Infant loss awareness month isn’t just about people who have lost a baby to stillbirth; it also recognizes the loss of pregnancy at any term, infants and young children.
Why is it Important to Raise Awareness of Infant Loss?
There are many reasons to continue to raise awareness on pregnancy and infant loss. For one, parents who go through these types of tragedies often feel entirely alone. Everyone gathers to celebrate a baby shower, but far fewer wakes gather the community to grieve the loss of a pregnancy. Meanwhile, friends and loved ones get to have birth stories and see their children’s first milestones. An empty nursery can look like loneliness or even failure to parents.
This contrast can create a hard pain to express and a complex topic to approach with anyone besides a therapist. As a result, these families lack support and empathy, which they can find thanks to hashtags, social media groups, and more.
Additionally, sharing stories of loss can help other parents be more aware of possible risks and dangers they can look out for and prevent loss. Finally, it can help causes and foundations gain vital funding for carrying on their children’s legacy, child-loss prevention, and even just living day-to-day as they cope with their grief.
The Infant Loss Ribbon
The ribbon for infant loss is a duo-colored blue and pink ribbon. You can find products with the ribbon like T-shirts, stickers, and more made on Etsy.
Support Groups for Families going Through Infant Loss
It can be difficult to find solace and support when going through a loss of this magnitude. If you or a loved one is going through something like this, many support groups (in-person and virtual) can help. These are some we gathered for you:
- Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group on Zoom (Thursdays)
- Men’s support group on Zoom (2nd Tuesdays)
- First Candle SIDS support group
- First Candle Stillbirth Support Group
- First Candle Miscarriage Support Group
Child-loss awareness foundations to support this October
Just being aware of this issue is a big step because it allows us to hold space for fellow parents who are going through the worst experience of their lives. If you’d like to go beyond and donate to organizations that support and advocate for parents, here are some options:
- Share pregnancy and infant loss support
Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support has been active for decades supporting and advocating for families. They’ve even fought for parents’ rights to bury their miscarried children.
- The Tears Foundation
The Tears Foundation supports grieving families financially, providing funds for burial and cremation services. They also help families as they grieve with support groups and peer companions.
- The Miscarriage Association (UK)
The Miscarriage Association offers resources to help parents cope with miscarriage. At the same time, they work to create awareness around the silent grief that is losing an unborn child. The association works with parents from understanding their loss to moving on and attempting a new pregnancy.
Take a Step to Support Someone Today
Now that you understand what infant loss awareness month is all about and how you can support it, we hope you’ll take a step today to be there for someone, friend, or stranger. If the family is close to you, extend your condolences, offer to help, or drop off something, they might need, like supplies. Whatever you do, remember that this time is lonely and challenging, and to remind a family that they’re not alone could mean the world to them.