October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. It began in the United States on October 25, 1988 when President Ronald Reagan designated through a Presidential Proclamation that the month should be recognized as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
When I was preparing to write this post I was overwhelmed by some of the statistics out there. Roughly 90,000 children die annually in the Unites States before their first birthday. Nearly 30,000 babies are born sleeping in the United States with the number climbing to nearly 4.5 million world wide. There are more babies that pass away as a result of stillbirth than all of the other causes combined, and it occurs 10 times more frequently than S.I.D.S. And 15-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriages each year.
As I sit here looking back over these statistics I almost feel hopeless. But I know that I do not serve a hopeless God. Though I may not have the answers to all the questions or understand why these awful things happen at all I do know that it has happened to me for a reason. One of those reasons just might be to raise awareness. It just might be because I’m bold enough (and maybe stubborn enough) to put my pain and my journey out there for someone who might not be strong enough to yet. There is no reason for any of these parents to suffer in silence. Raising awareness is about breaking the silence. Its about sharing your story so that others may get a glimpse into the world we live in.
I came upon a quote while reading about pregnancy and infant loss I believe it was on the http://www.october15th.com sight and it said something to the affect of….
“When a child loses a parent they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner they are called a widow/widower. When a parent loses their child there isn’t a word to describe them.”
It seemed incredibly fitting. There are just no words to describe the pain of losing a child. And sometimes living in the aftermath has been my own private apocalypse. But again I know God will work out all things for my good. For now all I can do is remain faithful and hopeful, and I can share my journey and my precious children with whomever will listen.
If you have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss please know you are not alone. There are so many of us grieving alongside of you. Know that there are things you can do to honor your precious babies as well (and it doesn’t require putting it out there for the whole world to see if thats not your thing). You can participate in the wave of light ceremony that will be taking place October 15, 2014 at 7pm (you can visit http://www.october15th.com for more information, they also have a Facebook page if you are interested). You can participate in an October 15th event in your area, you can also find information about this on that website. You can do a balloon release or send your baby a message in a bottle. You can plant a tree, bush, flowers, or even a remembrance garden. Or you can honor your precious angels by conducting a fundraiser to benefit an organization that raises awareness. There are many other ways to honor your babies. The important thing is that you do what you are comfortable doing. I chose to honor my children by having their foot prints tattooed to my forearm. I held them there for a moment…. and now I will carry them there for a lifetime!
I would also like to share about another non-profit organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep (https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org). The organization has photographers worldwide who donate their services to grieving families by coming to hospitals and photographing babies and their families. The photographs are breath taking and are a priceless gift. We had an amazing photographer come when Vance and Veronica were born and she took some of the most beautiful photographs that I know I will cherish forever. Believe me I know how difficult it is to think about something like that while you are in the heat of the worst moment of your life but if you are given the opportunity please take it. You don’t have to look at them right away but at least you will have them if you ever want to.
For every grieving mommy and daddy who has ever had to suffer the loss of their child it is my prayer that God will command His angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways, so that they will lift you up in their hands ( Psalm 91:11-12). My He cover you in comfort, compassion, and a peace that surpasses all understanding.