Have you ever looked up how many “awareness” focuses there are in a given month? It can be overwhelming when you are told to be “aware” of so much, and very easy to tune out or ignore those causes that you have no experience with or just don’t resonate with you. (I am all for correct posture, but I am not likely to spend the month of May focusing my attention on it.)
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, though, focuses on an issue that touches nearly everyone. One in four women have experienced a loss in pregnancy or early infancy. And each of those women also has a spouse, or friends, or siblings, or parents, or living children, or co-workers, and others who are also touched by her loss.
Even if you personally have not experienced the loss of a baby, there are some simple things you can do this month, and especially this week, to make a difference.
- Walk a mile in her shoes. Learn about how loss impacts a mom, a dad, a couple, and a family by reading some of the articles on Still Standing Magazine. You can also read my letter to a mom of a baby in Heaven as well as “Dear friend of a mom of a baby in Heaven” to get a better idea of what she is dealing with days, weeks, months, and even years later. It is a journey that is never done.
- Walk at the Heart and Hands Forever Memorial Walk here in Columbia on October 19 in her honor and in her baby’s memory. If she is local, invite her to come. Even if she doesn’t, walk anyway.
Light a candle on October 15, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in whatever time zone you are in, and be part of the Wave of Light going around the world. Take a picture and post it on Facebook (without mentioning names if that would bother her) to help increase awareness in general. E-mail her a picture to let her know that you did it.
- Send her a card, e-mail, or text letting her know that you are thinking about her and remembering her baby today. You will not make her sad by reminding her that her baby died. You will touch her heart because you remember that her baby lived.
- Volunteer with Mommy to Mommy Outreach, the outreach arm of Naomi’s Circle’s ministry. They need people to cut fabric, sew simple bags and cloth diapers, crochet caps, and cut and glue paper to make memorial key chains. Contact them at [email protected] for more information. They also have members who accept donations of wedding gowns that can be transformed into burial gowns for infants.
Unlike some other “awareness” activities that are designed to prevent something or increase research, none of these will prevent pregnancy loss — because the sad truth is that most of the time, the loss could not be foreseen or prevented. But you will be sending out two very important messages. You will let the world know that pregnancy and infant loss still happens, and that it is okay to talk about it. And you will let your friend know that you have not forgotten her or her baby, and that she is not alone.
Are you remembering a little one gone too soon this month? Share your memories in the comments.