Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness / National SIDS Awareness Month
Oct 13th, 2021 @ 1:19pm CDT
Source: Chipola Healthy Start
Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness
If you or someone you care about has lost a child to stillbirth, miscarriage, SIDS, or any other cause at any point during pregnancy or infancy, please join us in raising awareness this October for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Tens of thousands of families across the United States are devastated each year by the death of their baby. But the grief of these families and the value of their babies’ lives are very rarely acknowledged. In 1988, US President Ronald Reagan declared October as a month to recognize the unique grief of bereaved parents in an effort to demonstrate support to the many families who have suffered such a tragic loss. Promoting awareness of pregnancy and infant loss not only increases the likelihood that grieving families will receive understanding and support, but also results in improved education and prevention efforts which may ultimately reduce the incidence of these tragedies.
HOW TO HELP
Simple gestures are often the best and most meaningful.
Say “I’m sorry”
Use the baby’s name
Ask them to tell you about their baby, or ask to see/hold the baby if appropriate
Ask to see pictures of the baby if they were taken
Acknowledge them as parents. This is particularly difficult for families who do not have other living children. They are parents and should be supported accordingly.
Remember the father. Mothers often receive the majority of the concern, but fathers grieve too and appreciate their grief being acknowledged. Fathers tend to be strong for the mother and may not feel they have permission to grieve themselves.
Support their decisions. There are many new decisions that need to be made regarding medical care, testing, cremation or burial arrangements, memorial services, cultural or religious ceremonies, what do with baby’s things, and more. It may be appropriate to help the parents carry out these decisions, but do not judge what they have chosen. Each family must decide what is best for them in the moment.
Avoid statements that minimize their emotions, tell them how to feel, or rely on religion (unless you are certain it is how the family is feeling). For example:
It’s probably for the best
God only takes the best
It would have been worse if …
Now you have an angel
You’re young and can have more
This is just like when ….
This is how God takes care of his mistakes
There must have been something wrong with the baby
Your baby is lucky to be in heaven
At least he/she didn’t suffer
Once you can ____, it won’t seem so bad
You’ll be a parent someday
At least you didn’t know him/her
If you don’t know what to say, tell them that. The honesty that this can’t be easily fixed is validating and indicates you respect the family’s emotions.
Offer to do specific tasks for the family. When grieving, the family is not often able to identify how they could use help and will not usually have the strength to call someone who has offered to help. For example: “May I bring you dinner tomorrow evening?” Other tasks could include caring for other children, cleaning the house, washing the car, doing laundry, picking up family members at the airport, going to the store, researching funeral homes or support resources, and calling employers or extended family and friends.
Infant Safe Sleep
It’s as simple as ABC. Babies should sleep Alone, on their Backs, and in a crib.
Babies should always sleep ALONE in their sleep area, with their sleep area being close to their caregiver’s bed.
A baby should sleep in a crib, bassinet or pack in play with only a fitted sheet. There should be no toys or soft bedding such as blankets, bumper pads or pillows in the baby’s sleep area.
Do not confuse safe sleep with sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Sleep related deaths are entirely preventable; true SIDS deaths are not. With continued research we are learning that infant deaths that would have previously been identified as SIDS are now being determined as sleep related deaths.