Friday, October 15, 2010
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day
October 15th is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day, as officially designated by Congress in 2006. The movement that organized this invites everyone to light a candle at 7:00 tonight so there is "a continuous wave of light over the world." Each year, over half a million dreams are shattered. Out of 3.3 million born alive, some 30,000 die during the first 28 days. Another 39,000 babies are still born. Miscarriage occurs in fifteen to twenty percent of pregnancies, though many doctors estimate that number could be higher because so many losses occur before a women even knows she was pregnant. For more information, statistics, and help, also go here and here.
Part of the purpose of this day is to raise awareness of how common these types of losses are, and to help people understand that the loss of a child is devastating, no matter when it happens. For so long women were ashamed and silent, blaming themselves, and getting no support. Not enough research has been done on the causes. The answer most women get from their doctors is it was "just a fluke," just some messed up chromosomes, something that quite literally wasn't meant to be. Many doctors won't even run tests on their patients until they've suffered 3 or 4 miscarriages. 3 or 4 babies gone before they'll even check to see if something is wrong. By raising awareness, perhaps women can feel more support, doctors can become more compassionate, and science can figure out the causes.
I will be lighting a candle tonight for the child we lost to miscarriage in February 2007, as well as for all those who have lost babies. I am blessed to be part of an online community of women who have lost babies and supported each other through the grief, through subsequent pregnancies, some more losses, and beautiful babies. These are among the strongest women I know, so tonight I light a candle for them all.