Monday, October 10, 2011

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month

October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that this would be so:

Proclamation 5890 -- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988

October 25, 1988

By the President of the United States of America

A Proclamation

Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.

Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss.

Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well.

The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as ``Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month'' and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of theUnited States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities.

In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.

Ronald Reagan

[Filed with the Office of the Federal Register, 11:13 a.m.October 26, 1988]

I, for one, did not know about this proclamation until 2001, until our family lost our first child, Jeffrey.  We were living in Houston, TX at the time.  We belonged to a group called H.A.N.D {Houston's Aid in Neonatal Death} shortly after the loss of Jeffrey.  It was absolutely surreal that our family would have to even belong to such a group, but thank God that group was there!  It made us realize that, while our circumstances were tragic {and could have been deadly for me as well}, that we weren't alone by any means.  There were also circumstances which, in my view, were actually seemingly more tragic than ours.  Mothers and fathers alike were part of this group.  One of our leaders had a child who would then have been 8 years old and I remember thinking how amazing they were doing, but I couldn't even picture a world 8 years removed from the loss of our precious Jeffrey.  We're now over 10 years since our loss.

It took a long time to get pregnant again.  The longer it took, the more everyone else around me seemed to be having babies.  People, if you've experienced a loss, surely you can relate to how difficult that can be!  I truly wish now that I'd been where I am at today in my walk with Christ while all of this was going on.  How much better my life post-loss could have been.  However, everything happens according to God's plan and I trust now that there was a purpose for everything that happened between then and now.

We did get pregnant again in 2003.  In April of that year, my mom was visiting.  I was newly pregnant.  I was excited.  Tired.  Nervous.  One day, while shopping at a big outlet mall in west Houston, I stopped in the restroom.  I was absolutely shocked to discover I was having some bleeding.  I was stricken with fear.  My mouth went dry.  I cried.  I didn't know what was going on.  Mom and I left the mall.  I called Ron.  It wasn't horrible bleeding, but I knew that it shouldn't be happening.  When we got home, I called the doctor's office.  I crawled in bed.  And waited.  Scared.  Terrified.  Crying.  This could not be happening.  Surely what I feared most was not happening.  I agonized at the thoughts of what could be happening.  What probably was happening.  I did not want to lose another child!!  Late that evening, the bleeding got worse.  Ron and Mom took me to the ER.  I waited on a stretcher in my little curtained off area.  Scared.  I was just waiting for someone to come and see me.  I had to go to the bathroom.  That's when it happened.  That feeling of having to go to the bathroom was really the actual physical delivery of that tiny precious baby.  The miscarriage.  I had to pass the nurse's station in the ER on my way back to my gurney, so I handed over that precious silent little life.  Then someone saw me to examine me.

Wow.  I am in tears now.  I haven't cried for our second baby in a very long time.  It's been 8 years since that loss and writing this has made it as fresh as if it just happened.

Once again, I wish I'd been at the place where I'm at now on my walk with Christ then because that experience, I believe, only made me distance myself further from Him.  Looking back, I can confidently say that at the time I anguished over how unfair my life was.  How it wasn't fair that everyone else got to have kids.  How it wasn't fair that all kinds of horrible stuff only ever happens to us.  Looking back, I made my life situation very much about me and not about God and what His plan might possibly have been.  I did not put God first.  I blamed God.  I was furious with Him.  I created a litany of horrible things that have happened throughout my entire life to justify why I was right in how I was thinking at that time.  Everyone else continued to get pregnant and have beautiful and healthy kids.  Not us.  I wanted to give up.  I hated my life.  I hated what we'd been handed.  I hated being 3 years into marriage and nearly having lost my own life twice and having  lost two children.  I hated everything.  

I don't know if our second baby was a boy who would wind up looking just like his older brother or if it was a girl.  I regret that our second baby has for 8 years been called "the second baby" or "the baby we lost".  I regret that that child has never been given a proper name.  I always had a feeling like we should name the baby a name that would work for either a boy or a girl.  

Oh how I wish I knew then what I know now!!

The good thing is that God grants us new mercies each day.

Lamentations 3:22-23 (NIV)

22 Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. 23 They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

God is merciful and compassionate.  He is a loving God.  I know now that He loved me through all of our trials we went through at that time.  I know He loves me through all of the trials I've endured since that time. I know that He loves all of my children with unfailing love - whether they are present on this Earth with me now or with Him in heaven.

In the time that has passed since my losses, I have been blessed with two daughters - Moira in 2004 and Peyton in 2006.  Moira can tell you all about her big brother.  We remember him every August 14th on his birthday {he was stillborn on that date in 2001}.  At Christmas, we always remember our babies in a special flower arrangement.  No matter where we happen to be spending Christmas - at our home or elsewhere - there is always a bouquet of roses on display.  There is no special treatment about the arrangement.  It is there.  We {and my family} know what it signifies.  It's just there.  The arrangement consists of 6 pink roses - one rose for each month I carried Jeffrey.  There are also yellow roses - one for every Christmas that has passed since he died.  This year, we will have a dozen yellow roses.  Since 2003, one white rose has been added each year.  That solitary white rose is for our second baby.  We will have 19 roses in our arrangement this year.

Since I began seriously blogging back in May, I have come across so many stories of infant and child loss in the blogs that I follow.  My heart breaks for each and every one of you who have lost a child to stillbirth, miscarriage, illness, SIDS, and so on.  These children are a part of our families.  A part of us.  They are to be honored by us, particularly at this time during Infant Loss Awareness Month.  




1 Samuel 1:27-28 (NIV)

27 I prayed for this child, and the LORD has granted me what I asked of him. 28 So now I give him to the LORD. For his whole life he will be given over to the LORD.” And he worshiped the LORD there.

Matthew 11:28-30 (NIV)

   28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

friends, if you have lost a child at any stage, please know my heart, thoughts, and prayers are for you

it's a tragic "club" to have to be a member of, but since i am a part of it, i am so grateful to be blessed with so many beautiful ladies sharing this membership

if you so desire, please feel free to add your child{ren}'s name{s} in the comments section so they can be remembered specifically this month

know i am here for you if you need someone to share your burdens with.  just click on the "Send Me An Email" button on the right sidebar

for information on one way to get involved in helping those who have lost a child, go here:


{i am not affiliated with this project...i'm just helping to spread the word}

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