For those who don’t know, October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Awareness Month. This month was designated in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. October 15 is PAIL Remembrance Day. On this day, people observe the Wave of Light. People are encouraged to light a candle at 7:00pm (in their respective time zones) and let the candle burn for an hour. The result is a chain of light that will span the world for a full 24 hours, remembering all the babies lost. (All of this information was found on Wikipedia and http://www.october15th.com/ )
This month was set aside to bring awareness to this type of loss. It was started 28 years ago and yet, I still find that the topic of miscarriage/infant loss is taboo. When I suffered my miscarriage, I had so many women reach out to me and share that they have suffered a miscarriage as well. Yet, I had no idea about their suffering until I had shared my loss. It shouldn’t be this way. It shouldn’t be a taboo subject. It shouldn’t be something that you struggle through alone without the support of others.
It isn’t just to bring awareness to miscarriages but also to infant loss from still birth or SIDS. Both of which are heart wrenching and soul crushing losses. When I started to share my experience on this blog, I had a woman reach out to me who recently had a stillborn. My heart broke for her. Here I was expressing my frustration with struggling to get pregnant, and this woman had just lost her child. I could not imagine that type of pain. I was amazed that she was reaching out to me to offer support after she herself had just suffered an immense loss. It was truly awe inspiring.
My friend recently sent me a Huffington Post article about a woman who celebrated her rainbow baby’s birth with a newborn shoot that acknowledged that fact. She suffered a miscarriage at 5 weeks pregnant. I read the article and the woman stated that she received some negative feedback from the photos. Some people stated that she lost a child too early to experience true loss compared to someone who miscarried later in their pregnancy or women who have had a stillborn.
This statement struck me. I lost my first pregnancy around 9 weeks. I said after my miscarriage that it was heartbreaking, but I didn’t carry a baby to full term and give birth to a stillborn. I could only imagine how much more painful it would’ve been had I felt that baby grow and move inside of me, only to lose it. In my experience, I would obviously consider that to be worse than a miscarriage. However, loss is loss. You can’t criticize someone for celebrating their rainbow baby after a miscarriage. What difference does it make if she miscarriage at 5 weeks or 9 weeks like me? Either way she was pregnant and then she wasn’t. Either way it is still an incredibly happy moment that ends in loss. There are all kinds of loss, some obviously more tragic than others, but it is still loss.
Huffington Post article
This month was set aside to acknowledge that loss, the loss of losing a child. To acknowledge the loss from losing a child at any stage in your pregnancy, during birth, or after birth. If you have suffered this loss, take this time to acknowledge it. Spread the word of this month on social media. Don’t be afraid to talk about it. It should not be a taboo subject. It is one that needs to be acknowledged.