Why is it that in a such a time as now we don’t know more about pregnancy loss or babies dying? We are in an age of amazing technological advances in the medical field; yet, we still tiptoe around this topic like it is still the 1930’s.
I understand not wanting to frighten pregnant women. They are typically already in panic mode about everything. The absolute last thing you ever want to do is give them stats regarding the possible death of their child. I get this; however, it isn’t until a baby dies that they usually learn that what they are going through happens more than they realize. Some ( I honestly would gather most) assume no one will understand what they’re going through, because other people haven’t mentioned going through it. Those “other” people had the same mindset and thus, the cycle is perpetuated. I’m not saying that I have the answer to how to address this, but I feel that in a time where we are so accepting and tolerant of everything, shouldn’t we allow parents to grieve and not make them feel isolated, because talking about death is “too hard.” Talking about it really isn’t the difficult part. You know what’s difficult….the actual death of their baby. That’s the hard part. I do understand that talking to someone about their child that has died may be uncomfortable, but if you don’t approach it with that perspective, it may not be as awkward as you think.
Parents aren’t really wanting to relive every detail leading up to and immediately following their child’s death. They’re wanting to talk about their child. They are wanting to share this child with others the way that they would share a child that they got to take home. I’ve said it before, but it merits saying it again. Just be there for someone who unfortunately is going through this. In the very beginning, they may need you more. In the beginning, they may not want anything to do with you. Don’t take it personal. It really isn’t about you. Let them know that you are there whenever they need you to be there.
Here’s the reality of pregnancy and infancy loss:
- About 25,000 babies are stillborn each year in the United States and close to the same number of infants die within the first year of life. (That’s about 1 in 160 or less than 1%, but still 25,000 isn’t a small number.)
- The majority of stillborn babies fall under the early stillborn category, but late and term stillbirths still occur.
- About 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage. (medically termed for 20 weeks and under in gestation)
- Birth defects are attributed to about 1 in 5 neonatal death. (medically termed for the first 28 days of life
(All statistics were found through the CDC and American Pregnancy Association)
Those numbers are way too high for ANY mother or father to feel ALONE on this life-long journey. I’m not asking that you sit around the dinner table discussing this nightly or make picket signs or even talk about this with someone currently going through this. I only ask that you sincerely take to heart that even though you might not be able to identify with your friend or family member, you don’t let them travel this bumpy, confusing, treacherous road alone. With Love- Heather
This was posted on a support group wall where other parents and I can share stories, ask for encouragement, send each other happy thoughts, and be there for each other whenever needed.