October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in the United States, and has been since the 1988 Congress and Ronald Reagan declared it to be so every year. Additionally, in 2001, the House of Representatives declared October 15 to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
October also includes Baby Loss Awareness Week (UK, 9 October – 15 October) and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (Canada, October 15, and Australia, October 15).
Here are three ways you can prepare for these important commemorations.
- Educate yourself about pregnancy and infant loss.
Spend five or ten minutes learning something to prepare yourself for supporting someone who loses a child. This might involve:
learning about administering emotional first aid,
reading up on the terminology around miscarriage,
finding out more about a more specific term in the loss world (such as “heterotopic pregnancy” or “feelings of loss”), or
reading stories of those who have suffered a loss to deepen and widen your understanding of the many and varied struggles families can go through.
- Go out of your way to support your friend who has lost a child.
I have a list of ideas for how you can do that here.
If you don’t know whether any of your friends have lost someone, find an old prom, wedding dress, or suit in your closet or at your local thrift store, and donate it to an organization that will make it into burial gowns for babies (you can learn more here).
Donate to our upcoming bereavement retreat, or ask a friend if you can sponsor their ticket.
Or choose another way to bring beauty to someone who may be struggling this month, even if you aren’t certain of their history with loss.
- If you’ve lost a child, I invite you to find a way to honor your little one in a special way during the month of October.
Here are ten ideas of how you might honor someone who has passed.
I want to add an eleventh for this month in particular. The Mother Well, in Berea, KY, is creating a special memorial for children who have died in the form of white hearts that will be displayed in the community space. If you’d like a white heart to recognize your child, you can fill out this form. You might also consider attending a Mother Well bereavement retreat, either in-person or virtually, as you walk with your grief in this month of October.
Know that you’re not alone.
Feel free to reach out to me if you have questions or are looking for further support.