Monday, October 15, 2012

I Am The Face, I Am 1 In 4: National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

"A wife who loses a husband is called a widow. 
A husband who loses a wife is called a widower.
A child who loses his parents is called an orphan.
There is no word for a parent who loses a child.
That’s how awful the loss is."

 - Ronald Reagan

October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  Today I take a stance to help break the silence.  Instead of being able to share the wonderful news of Chris and my pregnancy, we've mourned in silence and with the support of a few close family and friends these past few months because I am the face of an early missed miscarriage.

On July 1, this summer began as the happiest of my life when I saw those two lines on the home pregnancy test appear and then just a short month later it ended as the worst when I saw our baby's tiny heart, which we saw flickering on the ultrasound monitor just a week prior, had stopped beating for no apparent reason.  These are key moments that have undoubtedly changed my life and view on life forever.

Pregnancy announcements on Facebook and in real life happen every day but for some reason, talking about a pregnancy loss is considered taboo.  People are starting to talk about cancer, domestic violence, suicide, and other uncomfortable topics so why is this any different?  This is not a taboo subject nor is it as rare as you'd think.  Miscarriage and Loss don't discriminate.  Pregnancy/infant loss happens every day to ALL kinds of women–young, old, black, white, thin, obese.  It happens to 2,000 US women EACH DAY or 700,000 in a year (1 in 4).

How can you help?

Please don't close your minds and hearts to those who have suffered child loss.  More often than not they may be keeping the news private because of this unfortunate taboo.  However, they're out there and I guarantee that you know at least one woman who has suffered a loss.  She may want to talk about her experience or she may not.  But the common desire whether a couple has opened up to you or not is that their baby's memory lives on.  There is no foot too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world.  Also remember, the father and grandparents have lost, too.  Be considerate and think before you act or say things that could be considered hurtful.  A probably well-intentioned comment or picture can trigger memories and emotions that need to be masked which carries a huge emotional toll on that person. Sometimes, the simplest things you can do to help are non-verbal - A listening ear, a hug, a thought or prayer.  If you yourself have lost, know that you're not alone, too.

Another way you can help?  

I ask that you please light a candle for at least one hour on October 15th beginning at 7PM local time in remembrance of our angel, SH's angels, AP's angels, LW's angel, JK's angel, CO's angel, MF's angels, AS's angel, SF's angel, and all the other unspoken angel babies and infants taken too soon.  This will create a continuous wave of candlelight around the world for a full 24 hours.  It will allow us to remember and to start the conversation.

To read more about this day, please see Remembering our Babies, the official site for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness.  Another good resource with survivor stories, badges, and status updates for both survivors and supporters if you choose to help spread the word on Facebook, Twitter, etc. is I Am The Face.  Last, I put together a list of resources and memorial items here.

Please feel free to share the memory of your angel (or someone else's angel that you know) in the comments below.


Unknown said...

Christine, I found this as I was going down my wall on facebook and it touched me... as I am the Face, I am 1 in 4 as I have not been able to carry a pregnancy to full term, my longest pregnancy was 11 weeks. Before I got married and had my miscarriages I wondered how a mother could be so upset when she lost a pregnancy... she doesn't know her baby is what I thought. Boy was I wrong and so glad that my thoughts never came out as words. It is a loss, just like any other loss. That baby was special to you and part of you and you felt it and knew the baby. With my second miscarriage one of my fellow co-workers said to me, "your mother is with your baby and enjoying her grandchild" ~ (my mom passed away many years ago before any of her children had children). This statement impacted me and made me feels so much better ~ my baby and babies were angels and were being cared for by the grandmother who loved children more than anything else.
May this day bring you comfort and peace as you remember you own angel looking down at you.

Unknown said...

also I am going to share this post on my blog with a picture of Remembering our babies. Thanks so much for sharing this

branny said...

Thinking of you and your H. Thanks for sharing

Dawn said...

Thank you for sharing. Thinking of you!

Anonymous said...

Christine, thanks for sharing your story. I didn't know it could happen in 1 in 4 women, so thanks for bringing the awareness. I hope you and your husband well - sorry I missed this post earlier in October.