October to many mothers is a month of whirlwind activity. A time for not only weather change, but extracurricular activities from soccer and cheerleading to field trips, pumpkin patches and trick or treating. Yes, it is a time to enjoy, but it is also a time of remembrance as October is also SIDS, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. While we are enjoying these fall activities we need to remember the difficult circumstances many mothers and families have experienced and that others are currently facing.
Recently, news reels and Facebook streams are abuzz with beautiful, heartwarming stories of mothers and families with loss. As a granddaughter and daughter of women who have gone through these types of grief and loss, I am always amazed and humbled at what mothers can persevere through, often alone. As a therapist, I am saddened and astounded by the lack of knowledge the general public has on this topic in 2015. The indisputable truth is miscarriages and infant loss are more common than most people think. In fact, according to the CDC, The United States of America has the highest statistics for infant loss of any of the other wealthiest nations in the world. Furthermore, according to various studies, 25% of families will experience a pregnancy or infant loss. These numbers for many may be surprising, but what is additionally horrifying is how abnormal and alone many women and families feel when dealing with these losses.
As a community, my hope is that we can take this knowledge and work together to support these strong mothers and families in order to give them the opportunity to grieve as they see fit. Of course, the grieving process is different for everyone and every circumstance, but a dominant issue I have come across with numerous women, from all walks of life, is the overwhelming feeling of shame many women hold related to their grief. This sense of shame leaves many women and families to deal with this problem alone. Hopefully, the more these statistics and stories are told, the more society will have to face the fact that these issues are real and thus adapt to the needs of these families. Such sharing could lead to a world in which women and families can decide to grieve privately, publicly or however they please.
In this time of remembrance I want to thank you mothers and families for your strength. I want you to know that you are not alone and there are many people, who whether or not they have gone through loss, care and feel you should grieve as you see fit. For those needing help, help is available. Our community has grief support groups, non-profit infant loss programs, and specialized postpartum and grief counselors to assist you. For those open to sharing their stories, thank you. In the long run, the more society hears about the SIDS, infant loss and miscarriage, the less uncommon these losses will seem and the less isolated mothers and families will find themselves.
- Arnold Palmer Hospital, Perinatal / Neonatal Bereavement Support Group. Second Tuesday of each month, 6 p.m. For further information and registration, call 407-649-6947.
- Griefshare Group at Northland Church. For further information contact Elaine Harland-Colter, Ministry Leader 321-228-6509.
- The Finley Project, non-profit organization established to help grieving mothers after infant loss. For further information visit www.thefinleyproject.org and/or contact [email protected], or 407-463-7576.
- HEAL (Helping Endure Infant Loss). Four times each year. For further information contact Gary Vogel LMHC at [email protected], or 407-260-9222.
- Morgan Rahimi LMFT, Individual and couples counseling at Life Counseling Solutions. For further information visit www.lifecounselingsolutions.com and/or contact [email protected], or 407-622-1770.