Before I lost my son, David Cooper I had never heard of October being deemed Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Unfortunately, I am all too familiar with it now. Back in October 1988, President Ronald Reagan Proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. He was quoted as saying; “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”
In 2007, Congressman Tom Latham of Iowa introduced a House Resolution supporting the Goals and Ideals of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, October 15th, and called on the President of the United States to issue a proclamation encouraging the American people to honor this special day of remembrance. On October 15th, now called Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (PAILRD), at 7:00 pm in all time zones, families around the world will light candles (and leave the candle burning for at least an hour) in memory all of the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy. Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.
Grief resources, like Still Standing Magazine and Grief Diaries are excellent resources for those that have suffered a loss and are grieving. Those of us that have lost a child should not feel alone because when there are ways to receive support and help you in the grieving process. Everybody grieves differently and there is no one-size-fits-all program for walking through the grief process. It is through the grieving process that life often becomes extremely difficult. We can feel isolated and alone. Relationships change, we learn who is supportive, and often see the ugly sides of others.
As you go through the grieving process after the loss of your baby, at first you may be always wanting to talk about your child and expressing your feelings. Then at some point you may realize that others have moved on and no longer wish to hear you discuss your miscarriage, stillbirth, or the loss of your baby. Instead of using this as a place for individual growth, one often retreats further into themselves. I know I did. Once I hit that point of others being unwilling or even acting bored when I talked about my son David, I changed. Since than I have become more reserved and my comfort zone is my home.
I have become solely focused on becoming the best wife and mother possible, knowing this is my ministry at this time in my life. However, I know I was not and still am not alone in the grieving process. I have an amazing support network with other baby loss mamas and in turn have ministered to those who have lost their babies. It was during this time that my faith doubled and I knew without a doubt that my Father in heaven, never forsake or left me. The Lord continued to sustain me and hold me up during those days when I did not think I would survive.
Until you have seen your child die in your arms or have had a child die, you have no idea how the depths of your soul can be grabbed and twisted until you yourself want to die. Not that I was suicidal, because I was not. The joy of the Lord, even in those dark days, continued to be my strength. I praised God then and still do today.
As a child loss mama, I was blessed to turn my grief into writing. Writing is my creative outlet that help channel that grief into something positive. I knew that my words would be able to help others that have faced similar situations. In my book, Grief Diaries, Surviving the Loss of a Pregnancy, my story is just one of many stories of hope and survival.
Most importantly, as we celebrate this the awareness of pregnancy loss and infant loss this month, please light a candle, say a prayer, and show your support for those mamas that are silently grieving.
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