“When a child loses a parent they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses a partner they are referred to as a widow or widower. When a parents loses a child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”
October is not only the beginning of the most spectacular time of year with crisp cool air, the crinkle and crunch of fallen leaves, and the smell of cider and pumpkin pie, but it's also national Breast Cancer Awareness month, National Pit Bull Awareness month, Domestic Violence Awareness month, as well as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.
There is a unique pain that comes from preparing your heart and home for a child that never comes. Whether they're held in loving arms or carried forever in the heart, no footprint is too small to leave a mark on the lives of their parents, especially their mother.
Once a couple learns of life within a mothers womb, that life becomes real. It is filled with hope, with dreams and most importantly it is surrounded with love. It is real, and it cannot become unreal. Life is life whether it breaths air or not, especially to the hearts that created it.
The sad truth is 1 in 4 women will experience the loss of a child. That means in a given year, roughly one million precious little bundles will never feel the brush of a mothers kiss against their cheek. Roughly one million women will suffer a broken heart, and twelve percent of married couples will struggle to regain a sense of normalcy after the loss of a child that never came.
As the mother to an angel baby, I feel as though the stigma surrounding miscarriage has slowly begun to diminish, compared to just a few years ago. Don't get me wrong, the sensitivity factor is sometimes lacking, but as a whole I think there are more programs and support groups to help grieving parents. Social media being an amazing resource for those looking for support or suffering through a loss.
If you have never known anyone to suffer a miscarriage, and have never experienced the loss yourself, consider yourself lucky, but also try to be mindful to those who have. I know it's tempting to ask the newly married couple when they plan on having children, but please don't. Not everyone is an open book, and that can be a very awkward question to try and answer when your facing fertility issues. What you believe to be a seemingly harmless question, can really be a very painful reminder of a daily struggle. Besides, maybe they just don't want kids. Either way, unless they come to you and open the door to that kind of discussion, it's none-ya (none of your business).
So throughout this month, take a few minutes to read an article or two about miscarriage or infancy loss, reach out to a friend who may have experienced the loss first hand and see how they are doing. Sometimes just a "hey, how are you doing?" is enough to make a really dark day, when they may feel loneliest, just a little better.
And on October 15th, light a candle at 7PM and let it burn for at least an hour. This will be happening all over the world, at the exact same time, making a continuous wave of light in remembrance of all the little angel babies and their families who love them.