Notes from the Fox Den

by Josie Fox

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,” said President Ronald Reagan on October 15, 1988 as he declared that October would be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

The awareness program is meant to offer information on and provide resources to parents who have lost a child/children due to miscarriage, SIDS, birth defects, etopic or molar pregnancies, stillbirths or other causes. In 2002, October 15 was named Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day thanks in part to the movement and petitions submitted to the federal government by Robyn Bear, Lisa Brown and Tammy Novak.

One in four. That is how many pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in 100. That is how many pregnancies at 20 weeks or later end in stillbirth. In 2016 3,600 sudden unexpected infant deaths (SUID) occurred among infants less than one year old in the United States.

As someone that has experienced infant loss first hand, multiple times, I am very glad this movement exists. When you lose a child, there is a void that will forever fill a portion of your heart. You live the rest of your life feeling as if a piece of you were missing. Holidays are always bittersweet. You never forget a birthday, or when it would have been. Thoughts of ‘what if’ always linger in the back of your mind. Mother’s Day becomes one of the hardest days of the year.

For so long, infant loss and miscarriages were experiences that you didn’t talk about. That is why this movement means so much to me, because, like so many others, we need to be able to discuss our children and our losses without feeling uncomfortable or feeling guilty.

What I would like anyone that has experienced this pain to know is this; you are not alone, it is okay to grieve, it is okay to talk about your pregnancy, it is okay to talk about your baby.

It took me a long time before I would talk to people about my twins, and one day I realized that I was doing them a disservice and that by not mentioning them, I was not allowing their memory to live on. T

hey would be 23 this year, and I miss them each and every single day, but I am so very happy that however brief their lives, they were and always will be a part of who I am.

I know several churches and organizations around our area offer counseling and grief support and I encourage anyone that needs to talk to reach out to someone.

If you are looking for a monthly support group, Glory Babies in Tyler offers encouragement and support to anyone that has been touched by the loss of a baby, including grandparents and friends.

For more information on their meeting times or contact information visit www.glorybabies.com/support-group/.

There are also several websites such as www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org and www.awarenessdays.com that offer additional information and links to resources on how to spread awareness.