Healthy Living Blog

Published on October 12, 2015

National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

By Bonnie Riphagen

Autumn brings many things, including cooler temperatures and fewer hours of daylight. The leaves on the trees start to change to red, orange, gold and brown, and eventually fall to the ground. We see jack-o-lanterns and smell pumpkin pie. Crisp, juicy, sweet apples are harvested and we listen to the rustling of the dry, soon to be harvested corn and soybeans.

October is a month of transition. It is also a time to remember and reflect. October 15, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, is a day to intentionally remember the precious little babies that died much sooner than planned. A baby’s death, at any age, is a profound loss. It is difficult for some to imagine the deep grief experienced when a child dies that was never seen, felt or held, or only briefly.

The death of a child brings many feelings and thoughts. It is normal to experience feelings of loneliness, emptiness and isolation. It is important for some to talk about the death and the details of what happened. The death of a child often brings feelings of emptiness and aching arms as well as anger, guilt and self-blame. Physical symptoms, loss of appetite, overeating, sleeplessness, irritability are also normal. It can be hard to concentrate, to remember of make sense of things.

Grief can last far longer than you or others may expect and has many ups and downs. There are ways to cope; let your family and friends know how important this baby was to you and ask them to be supportive by listening. Rest when you need it, eat small, frequent meals and cry when you need to. There may be few memories that acknowledge the existence of a baby that died too soon. Yet you know that baby will always be a part of you.

At some point down the road, an understanding will begin to rise within you that the world continues to turn and that as human beings, we are all part of that world and your baby is included. They existed, they mattered, and their life gave meaning to many.

Patient Story

At eleven weeks pregnant, Elizabeth went in for a routine check up on her pregnancy. After not being able to find a heartbeat, an ultrasound confirmed the baby had passed. One in 5-6 pregnancies end in miscarriage. This is Elizabeth's story.

Additional Resources

The Compassionate Friends is a non-profit that provides personal comfort, hope and support to families who have experienced the death of a child. Their website is www.compassionatefriends.org

Mercy Perinatal Bereavement Support is support for people who have experienced the death of their infant through miscarriage or a baby that is born still or dies after birth. Contact: Ann Valdez avaldez@mercydesmoines.org.

Grief & Grieving Frequently Asked Questions

Learning about grief and grieving:

Getting treatment:

About the Author

Bonnie RiphagenBonnie Riphagen is the Bereavement Coordinator for Mary Greeley Medical Center Hospice. She can be reached at 515-956-6038 or riphagen@mgmc.com.

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