Pregnancy and infant loss awareness month was established in 1988 to support those who have gone through this painful experience. It takes place in October, with October 15th acting as an internationally unifying day that connects those around the world who have been impacted by this devastating loss.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
Experiencing a pregnancy and infant loss may be one of the most gut wrenching situations that an individual and family may go through. The type of grief that may come from this loss may be disenfranchised grief, which can make the experience even more painful. Having a month and specific day that allows for connecting, sharing, and validation has brought much needed awareness to this painful situation.
The History of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
An official proclamation by President Reagan honored pregnancy and infant loss.
- Pregnancy and infant loss awareness month was officially declared by Ronald Reagan on October 25, 1988.
- In his proclamation, he mentioned moving forward with this observance month as a way to bring awareness and appropriate language to something that not many people were not talking about, especially at the time.
- This proclamation was a great step in working towards building resources, encouraging additional sensitivity training for medical/healthcare professionals for this type of bereavement, and creating more awareness of the pain that many individuals and families go through when a loss like this occurs.
Since this proclamation, activists and supporters have helped grow this movement and local, as well as international events take place that unite people from all over the world who have been impacted by this type of loss.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
October 15th is pregnancy and infant loss awareness day. This day is observed in the United States, as well as by other countries around the world. International rituals take place on this day that connect those near and far who have gone through this type of loss. On this day there may be local events set up in your area, community walks organized that support this cause, and educational resources made more readily available in your area. There may also be international ways you can connect with others who have experienced this type of loss, one of which is called the global Wave of Light.
Global Wave of Light
The global Wave of Light takes place yearly on October 15th after some countries put on a week-long series of events that are aimed at education, providing support, and sharing resources with those who have been through this type of loss, as well as others interested in learning about this. The global Wave of Light is a tradition of lighting a candle and letting it burn for at least an hour to honor your loss. This can be done alone, with loved ones, or in a group setting with others who have experienced this type of loss. This typically occurs at 7 in the evening in whatever time zone you're in. If you'd like to post your experience on social media, you can hashtag waveoflight.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Ribbon and Pin
The pregnancy and infant loss ribbon is half pink and half blue with either a heart, footprints, sayings, or your child's name written on one edge of them. There are also pins available that look similarly. Individuals may opt to wear these as physical symbols of infertility awareness, as well as pregnancy and infant loss. These ribbons may be given away at events for supporters to wear or purchased online on sites like Etsy. You can also opt to make your own if you wish.
Ways to Observe Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
At home, locally, and internationally, there are ways to honor your loss and/or support those who have experienced this. If you have gone through this type of loss, it is up to you to decide how you want to process and if/how you want to honor your loss. This is a deeply personal decision that only you can make.
Flowers That Symbolize a Miscarriage or Infant Loss
Flowers can be a beautiful way to honor an infant or pregnancy loss. Some individuals or families may opt to purchase their own flowers at some point in October to commemorate the little one lost, while others may gift these flowers to friends who have lost a loved one. Some popular infant and pregnancy loss flowers include:
- Cherry blossoms
- Simple white flowers like Alyssums
Any flower, especially the recipient's favorite, is a thoughtful choice. The ones listed above are noted for their delicate, sweet blooms.
Connect With Others
Organizations, like Share, offer support to individuals and families around the United States who have lost pregnancies and infants. Because this type of loss is often not spoken about, it may feel empowering to some to connect with other families who have gone through something similar. Speaking with trusted friends and family members about your experience may also help you feel supported and validated.
Create Your Own Honoring Ritual
It is completely up to you to honor the loss of your pregnancy and infant in whatever way you feel comfortable doing so. Some individuals or families opt to name their infant, create special rituals that honor their presence, or choose to focus on self-care around the anniversary of the loss. Whatever you choose to do or not to do is up to you. There is no right or wrong way to move through this moment.
Understanding Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
Pregnancy and infant loss awareness month was created to help those going through this experience connect with others, gain access to helpful resources, and otherwise educate the public about this type of often unspoken loss. This month is a special time for those impacted by this devastating occurrence to honor their experience in whatever way feels most comfortable to them.