Did you know that the United States of America has an official proclamation, signed by President Ronald Regan in 1988, that declares October to be “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month”?
Do you wonder why we need a month dedicated to this type of loss while other types of loss are not set apart for specific recognition by national observance?
I was reading a post on social media this weekend, written by a father who, six years ago, lost his infant child. This father wrote of his arrival at the ballpark to watch one of his other children’s soccer games. As he parked his car, he suddenly found himself trapped in his vehicle. He was imprisoned in a world of tearful grief; his soul engulfed with the excruciating pain of his loss. He wrote that other parents supporting the team did not know of the invisible pain surrounding his life. His agony was very profound.
The loss of a child is the most significant loss known to mankind. Miscarriage, in particular, is tragically devastating due to the involvement of guilt, uncertainty, and the lack of recognition by society. “If I had a magic wand, I would erase miscarriage from the human experience. Unlike any other death, miscarriage is the loss of life within a living being’s body. It is the utter violation of self-trust, self-confidence, and self-value.
Recovery from a miscarriage is not limited to a normal or even a complicated grief experience. It may encompass recovery from physical ailments brought on through pregnancy and the organs involved. Miscarriage may create an extremely complicated and often dangerous situation for the mother as well. Indeed, one’s baby may not be the only life at risk.” (Mourning Light II, Tracy Reneé Lee, 2016)
The dad’s post this weekend was powerful. His statement of invisible pain brings to light the complexities parents face upon the death of a child. The intensity of one’s grief is predicated upon the level of love and involvement invested upon the decedent. There is no greater investment of love than that bestowed upon one’s child. It is inherent upon the divine gift of procreation.
Pain is usually visible by the expression or manner of the sufferer. Pain causes us to cry, wince, limp and complain. On the other hand, survivors often choose to mask their pain. They may try to bury it as they do their loved one’s body. Due to the small reach of an infant’s social circle, his or her death and even his or her existence are often unknown to the parent’s casual friends, acquaintances, co-workers, and colleagues. Things that do not affect our lives are insignificant to us. Unfortunately, an infant falls within this category.
The question we need to answer is, “How do we help?”
- Acknowledge the Loss
- Demonstrate Compassionate Support
- Silence is Golden
- Do Not Judge or Speculate
Why is the loss of a child like no other? The loss of one’s child is the loss of one’s self. One’s child is our only creation that encompasses both physical and spiritual entities. The creation of physical bodies to house God’s spirit children is a Holy privilege that transcends the comprehension of many mortal minds. In order to understand the anguish of this loss, we must understand our relationship and obligations to our Creator: God. His desire for us to not only fulfill our purpose on earth but to extend that gift to those who have yet lived is profoundly celestial. Our duty to protect the avenues of health and opportunity for our children is formulated and provided within the profound and undeniable love a parent has for his or her children. Failure to successfully complete our partnership with God’s eternal plan through sharing the gift of life is devastating to all who enter into its opportunity. We not only mourn the loss of our creation, the physical presence of our child: we mourn the loss of promise, the soul or spiritual being within our child. Our child’s opportunity for the fulfillment of life, for joy, and purpose has been thwarted. We mourn our dreams and our future goals for happiness. The unintentional failure to successfully provide and sustain the life of our child causes us to writhe in agony.
The miscarriage or loss of an infant child is labeled as a non-loss or an insignificant loss. The father’s statement on social media this weekend demonstrates why we need a proclamation from our president to set aside one month per year to recognize the loss and miscarriage of infant children. The loss of a child is like no other. It is the most difficult pain a human being will ever endure. There is no experience in life that can ever relieve or nullify the ferocity of its sorrow. This loss does not just break a parent’s heart; it breaks a parent’s life.
If you or someone you love has experienced pregnancy loss or the loss of an infant child, my heart cries for you; my soul prays for you, and my goal is to change the world’s perception of your experience from an insignificant or non-loss to a profoundly significant one.
My name is Tracy Renee Lee. I am the owner and Managing Funeral Director at Queen City Funeral Home in Queen City Texas. I am an author, certified grief counselor, syndicated columnist, and co-founder of Heaven Sent, Corp. I write books and weekly bereavement articles related to understanding and coping with grief. I am the American Funeral Director of the Year Runner-Up and recipient of the BBB’s Integrity Award. I deliver powerful messages and motivate audiences toward positive recovery. It is my life's work to comfort the bereaved and help them live on.
For additional encouragement, read other articles or watch video “Grief Briefs,” please go to my website at www.MourningCoffee.com.