October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month where couples take special time to recognize the memory of the loss of a child or pregnancy. Coping with the loss of an infant or pregnancy can be particularly challenging for those who have experienced a loss however, there are many resources to assist bereaved families.
How to support someone who has experienced a miscarriage or infant loss
Having a miscarriage or loosing an infant can be very isolating for most couples. Being there for your friend or family member throughout this time is the simplest way to show your support. Visiting, bringing over a meal, sending a card or gift are all 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 during a difficult time however, they find themselves at a loss of what 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. You are letting them know your condolences and that 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 is helpful.
3. It’s not your fault. Women tend to feel guilt after suffering a miscarriage or infant loss. It is important to be reminded that they were not the cause.
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.
Global wave of light
During pregnancy and infant loss awareness month, there are many events and ways to honor the lives of those who have passed. On October 15th, international pregnancy and infant loss awareness day, there is a Global Wave of Light. Participants are encouraged to light a candle at 7:00 PM for at least one hour to symbolizes the united memory of babies gone too soon.
There are many local events that publicly participate in the Global Wave of Light where bereaved families and supporters light candles together in a group.
Support groups and counseling
Three Little Birds Pregnancy and Infant Loss support is a local support group, offering advice and remembrance.
There are also many support groups and counselors that specialize in assisting bereaved parents in their time of need. South Jersey Fertility Center partners with their own counselor, Rena Beyer, MSW, LCSW who is experienced in counseling couples who have dealt with infertility and pregnancy loss.
Virtua Health hosts a perinatal bereavement program to support parents who have experienced the loss of a pregnancy or infant in a group setting.