Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month
October is Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, with Baby Loss Awareness Week, October 9-15, as its focus point. At Tilly, we dedicate this whole month to honor and put the spotlight on how common pregnancy and baby loss actually is, and the grief that baby loss can bring.
Sadly some babies are lost during pregnancy, birth or shortly afterwards, and the grief that can come from that experience can be immense. It’s estimated that up to 25% of pregnancies end in miscarriage - but has the notion that “this is so very common” really ever helped anyone to deal with the sorrow and grief of the loss?
Baby loss has many forms. During pregnancy there are early and late miscarriages, ectopic pregnancies, stillbirths, and termination for medical reasons. In some cases the baby loss is so early that many are not aware that they were ever pregnant, as is the case with chemical pregnancies where an embryo forms but then stops developing. A failed transfer, where a healthy embryo has been transferred but for some reason does not continue into a healthy pregnancy is also a form of pregnancy loss.
The important takeaway is that grief is personal and cannot be measured by the number of weeks you have been carrying your baby. Yes, having to make the hard decision to terminate a pregnancy as your baby is too sick to survive, or losing your baby to stillbirth in the last few weeks of pregnancy is heartbreaking on so many levels. Nevertheless, the reality is that from the day you know you might be pregnant, an emotional connection with that little life can be formed, and dreams about the life you will have together start growing. When that is shattered, it can be devastating.
Pregnancy and infant loss is often not acknowledged, and the grief that it brings is often diminished. This is called “disenfranchised grief”. Comments like, “It was probably for the best, there must have been something wrong with it,” or “You can just try again” are unfortunately too common and not helpful - and sometimes painful. This is what makes Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month so important. One child does not substitute another - so even if next time things work out, it doesn’t mean that the sorrow over the baby that was lost goes away.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is an opportunity to highlight how this issue affects so many in our society, and to bring all of those touched by baby loss together as a community to feel understood and less alone.
Tilly is a proud supporter of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and we are grateful to the community for coming together during this time.
In deepest sympathy,
Jenny Ann, founder of Tilly, who has experienced 5 pregnancy losses
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