For all the families out there that have lost a baby, October 15th is a day dedicated to you and remembering the babies that we have lost. 💔
It is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It was founded in America but every year it is growing and is fast becoming an international day of remembrance. This is because the pain of losing a baby is universal.
Too many families suffer their grief in private because our culture does not provide a forum for the grief that comes with a miscarriage, still born child or infancy loss. It is too terrible to talk about, more than any other type of grieving, this is shunned. It is extremely isolating and sadly, friends and families remaining silent compound that isolation.
So October 15th was founded to give that grief a voice, to help form a community of people who understand the unusual pain associated with this kind of loss. It is difficult for so many to understand because it is rarely spoken of, and each person has their own individual grief response.
There are so many layers to the loss of a baby through miscarriage or still birth. Not only do the parents grieve the child they have lost, they grieve the loss of a future that may have been, the loss of that moment of hope and excitement. For the mother, there are often feelings of guilt – wondering if she did something to cause the loss.
The physical effects of a miscarriage contribute to the trauma. The hormones released in a woman’s body once a pregnancy implants are like a run away train, and often the body continues to produce pregnancy hormones after the pregnancy has ended. A miscarriage that requires a D&C results in a sudden drop in pregnancy hormones and this can leave the body reeling.
It can take months to physically recover from this, which also serves to compound the emotional response because of the way our hormones are linked to our emotions. I suffered four miscarriages within a 12 month period – I felt like my life was a physical and emotional train wreck, because of this link.
There is also a higher risk of ‘complicated grief’ when there is little or no support, or forum for the grieving parents. Complicated grief are feelings associated with normal grieving that do not fade or ease, are prolonged or intensify over time.
When my daughter was 15 months old, and I was pregnant with my son, I found myself in therapy trying to make sense of all the losses. A subsequent two miscarriages, led me to further intervention after my son and second daughter were born; this was nearly ten years after my first miscarriage, so I can identify with complicated grief.
A piece of research published in Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience says that:
“Although parents have not built up a relationship with their infant, grief after pregnancy loss does not differ significantly in intensity from other loss scenarios. As has been found in bereavement involving first-degree relatives, grief symptoms usually decrease in intensity over the first 12 months. Longitudinal studies have demonstrated that in a normal grieving process, grief declines over a period of 2 years after the pregnancy loss. Perinatal losses have also been shown to have a substantial psychological impact on parents and families, and are associated with post-traumatic stress, depression, anxiety, and sleeping disorders.”
Not having support or a voice for your grief can certainly contribute to complicated grief. But Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day is part of claiming your voice, and finding a forum to express your heartbreak.
Part of the October 15th initiative is the International Wave of Light, where regardless of timezone, at 7pm on October 15th you light a candle for your lost babes. According to October 15 – Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day Australian website describes the Wave of Light:
“Together with parents all over the world, you will create a continuous wave of light around the globe — in honour of all of our babies whose precious lives were cut too short.”
If you are seeking support after losing a baby you can start here:
How do you remember your lost babes?