“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.” – President Ronald Reagan, 1988 founding of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month
1 in 4 families experience the loss of a child to stillbirth, miscarriage, SIDS, and other causes. We join countless others this month to promote awareness of pregnancy and infant loss to make sure we are all doing what we can to provide bereaved parents the understanding and support they need, as well as tips on how to support a loved one who may be struggling.
Resources for bereaved parents
For the thousands are families who are coping with the loss of an infant or pregnancy, navigating the various emotions can be challenging. What’s most important to know is that you are not alone, and that there are plenty of resources to assist bereaved families.
- PALS: PALs offers pregnancy and infant loss support through helping connect you with groups and offering educational resources.
- The Tears Foundation: Tears is a national organization with local chapters, bringing people together to support one another and holding an annual remembrance walk.
- Virtua hoping support group: Local to South Jersey, hoping support group is supported by Virtua’s foundation and provides connections to members of your community.
- Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep: This organization provides the gift of stillborn photography – something that many could never imagine, but are grateful to cherish. Additionally, they share ways to remember your child, volunteer opportunities and education for the medical community.
Private counseling can also be helpful. South Jersey Fertility Center works with closely with certified counselor, Rena Beyer who specialize in couples experiencing infertility and coping with loss.
How to support someone who has experienced loss
Loss can be very isolating for couples. Being there for your friend or family member throughout this difficult time is the best way to show your support. Visiting, bringing over a meal, sending a card or gift are all simple ways to show you care. Listening to their feelings and validating their grief is also a helpful way to help someone cope. Many friends or family members want to be there for their loved ones however, they may find themselves at a loss of what the right thing is to say. Here are some helpful tips:
What to say
1. I’m sorry for your loss. The most simple statement can sometimes mean the most to someone grieving. Sharing your condolences are an easy way to show you care.
2. I’m thinking of you. Sometimes grief can come in waves. Letting someone know you are thinking of them as they are healing can be helpful.
3. It’s not your fault. Women tend to feel guilt after suffering a miscarriage or infant loss, even if they are told they couldn’t do anything to prevent the outcome. It is important to be reminded that they were not the cause and that
What not to say
1. Everything happens for a reason. While this is a common phrase loved ones use to show support, this can minimize the pain a couple experiences while searching for a reason why this happened to them.
2. You can try again. Each loss is individual. Having a living child or a chance at another pregnancy does not negate feelings of grief.
3. At least you can get pregnant. Focusing on the positives in a situation may be helpful however, in this instance it can also minimize feelings of grief.
The care team at South Jersey Fertility Center proudly support the loss community in remembrance during pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, and everyday. We remember.