This weekend families around the country will mark losses that are often unacknowledged by friends and even sometimes by family. Oct. 15 is officially called Pregnancy and Infant Remembrance Day. Unofficially, it’s known as the time of year when families that grieve over miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death find company and solace.
Remembrance Day originated in 1988, when President Ronald Reagan designated October as a month to focus attention on these deaths. Advocates later chose the 15th as a specific day for personal reflection and public events, such as the International Wave of Light when parents all over the world are encouraged to light candles at 7 p.m. to recall their lost children.
“Culturally, Americans don’t know what to do when it comes to mourning a pregnancy loss,” said Julie Bindeman, a Rockville psychologist who plans on marking the day. She has suffered three pregnancy losses.
“Things are more concrete when it comes to losing a known loved one. There is the pull to ‘get over it’ and ‘put it aside.’ However, for mothers and families that have suffered through this kind of loss, the grief stays with them. With time, the grief diminishes, but a day of remembrance allows both those who have experienced the loss and those that have not to validate the grief.”
Have you experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss? Has the loss been acknowledged or understood by those around you?