Pregnancy and Infant Loss

The month of October is not only home to Halloween and Fire Safety Week but it is also Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month. It’s such a difficult thing to think about and unless it happens to you or someone you love then you can almost pretend it doesn’t exist. That it doesn’t happen. This attitude further isolates the women and men who experience their children for such a short time. For those who haven’t experienced it personally then it can be very difficult to know what to do or how to respond. I’m guilty of saying the wrong thing or simply making no attempt to reach out.

maya angelou quoteIn my experience with death in general, it is far better to say something simple like, “I”m sorry” than to say nothing. A hug goes a really long way in any painful situation. However, these are unique situations that can happen at any point during pregnancy or infancy. Each story is different but one thing rings true for each loss: these parents LOVE their children. Whether it is a first trimester miscarriage, 40-week still birth or the first few months of life outside the womb, each of these parents’ greatest desire is that their child is not forgotten.

Do you have a friend or relative who has suffered from pregnancy or infant loss? Unsure of what to do and how to help? I know several women who have experienced a loss such as this and I will forever be amazed by these women. A few of them shared with me some ways that they were helped and things that were (and still are) very touching and helpful to them.

  1. Listen. Just be available. Be around to sit or listen but don’t offer advice or say things like “it wasn’t meant to be” or “at least you weren’t far along.”
  2. Remember the child. Call the mother on the birthday or due date. Send a note, a text or card. Let her know that you remember the sweet little one that she undoubtedly thinks about daily.
  3. Offer to store already purchased baby items or baby memorabilia until the parents are up to dealing with them.
  4. Bring a meal. Physical needs must be met and that can be challenging when going through such a difficult time, especially if there are other children in the home.
  5. Offer a distraction. Take her to a movie or for a walk.
  6. Don’t forget about Dad. He lost a child, too.
  7. Continue to offer support. Offers usually fade around 3 months so continue to offer specific ways of support.
  8. Refer support. Haven’t experienced this yourself but know someone else who does? Then privately ask each person if they would be willing to connect and then make it happen.

Maya Angelou says, “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside of you.” This represents the very core of the pain of pregnancy and infant loss. There was once the beginning of a beautiful story and parents wrote many pages filled with love, laughter and milestones then suddenly that story is cut short by an unnamed author and a new story fills those pages. The use of the term ‘agony’ signifies the extreme pain, trauma and suffering inflicted. Please remember those who have experienced this loss. Encourage them and support them.

Children hold a special place in my heart. They are truly fascinating creatures.  I love studying child development and then observing it in real life. I was taught from a young age that children are very special gifts. However, life has taught me that not every person who wanted this gift was given it. To those of you who have been given this gift yet had to relinquish it much too soon, please know that I am incredibly sorry. It is overwhelmingly heartbreaking that such a thing should occur. If I can offer assistance or support to you, please do not hesitate to reach out to me.

Here are a few support group links and resource websites:

Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc. – This website offers a lot of different resources and information.

Remembering Our Babies – October 15 – This is the official website of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Day. This is a great site, filled with a lot of resources.

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Group – Henry Ford Hospital

Hannah’s Prayer – A support website for women struggling and grieving through infertility, pregnancy and infant loss. – A list of websites that offer support groups for a wide range of pregnancy and child loss.

About Meghan Zeile

Mom-in-the-know and local writer for Rochester Media. Always looking for tips with kids, family life, and fun local adventures. Contact at

Speak Your Mind