Even before a child is born, mothers have hopes, dreams and fantasies of who their children will be and what being a parent to that child might be like. During pregnancy, they begin preparations.They fill their homes with baby clothes, toys, books and supplies. They decorate rooms and fill them with tiny furniture to create a space that is welcoming and comforting to the newest little addition to their family.
When those dreams are cut short by miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, mothers need space to acknowledge their child’s brief but significant life. They need room to grieve their unbearable loss and they deserve support around an experience that no mother should ever have to go through.
October was declared National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. This is a time to honor those parents who have lived the unspeakable. This is a time to honor the children they have lost.
As President Reagan stated, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirth, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”
In addition to October being designated a month of remembrance, October 15th was declared as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. This day is for parents, grandparents, siblings, family and friends to surround and support parents in their grief and honor the children they have lost. On this day around the world at 7:00 pm, people are invited to light a candle and to keep it burning for at lease one hour in memory and celebration of the child’s life.
In recognition of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I am offering a 12-week support group for women at any point in their grief process. Angel Moms Grieving Together is designed to provide a safe, supportive, non-judgmental space to share your unique experience and honor your child; a space where you can voice their name. Being with other mothers who have experienced a similar loss, you can take the time you need to process feelings and learn to cope with others who may be ready for you to be done grieving or who may be grieving differently than you. Within a supportive environment you can regain hope for the future and begin living again.
Angel Moms will meet on Saturdays from 2:30-4:00 at the Michigan Avenue Office. Please contact me directly at 872-301-5539 or firstname.lastname@example.org to schedule a pre-group assessment.
Sarah Netzky, MA, LCPC