Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (October 15th)
In the U.S., Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day (PAILRD) is October 15th. Pregnancy loss and infant mortality, which includes miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or newborn death, impacts many families across the country who may be unaware of this day, which is dedicated to education, awareness and support.
What PAILRD honors
PAILRD was first acknowledged as an entire month in 1988 by President Reagan, who stated: “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her 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. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”
Giving a voice
The key takeaway from PAILRD is for those who have experienced a loss, or perhaps more than one, is to know that they are far from alone. Historically, topics such as miscarriage and infant mortality were kept quiet. Those who have gone through the experience feel as if they are not allowed to speak of their loss, and those friends and family members who find themselves in conversation often do not know how to handle it, or fail to acknowledge the loss empathetically. These conversations may not always be easy, but worrying about saying the wrong thing or bringing up a sensitive topic should not force you to hold back, from either side of loss.
How to spend October 15th
No method or approach to grief is perfect. In fact, those who experience loss should be dissuaded from seeking the “right” or “correct” way to grieve. Some individuals will want to talk through their feelings, finding solace in working through their mourning with others. Some individuals will need time before turning to others, instead finding peace in time alone or with their partner. October 15th is an opportunity to, at the very least, know that you are not alone: there are many others in the country and around the world looking to build their families, at every stage in the family building process.