From the moment you see those two pink lines on a pregnancy test, you are filled with hopes and dreams for the future. No one ever wants to imagine anything other than a joyful outcome to a pregnancy. The reality is that not all pregnancies have a happy ending. Recent statistics show that 1 of every 160 pregnancies ends in a stillbirth, and up to 25% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage. Unfortunately, many couples who suffer a miscarriage or stillbirth suffer in silence, due to fear and misunderstanding from their families and friends.
Based off statistics alone, most of us know someone who has suffered at least one miscarriage, which is a pregnancy ending before 20 weeks gestation. But stillbirth is a little different in that while it happens more than we think, it doesn’t get mentioned or talked about nearly as often.
A new movie, “Return to Zero,”, releasing on Lifetime Television in May 2014, is helping to break the silence on stillbirth. Starring actress Minnie Driver, it tells the story of a couple whose first pregnancy ends in a stillbirth, and the aftermath of that event. You can find out more about the movie at http://returntozerothemovie.com
Another way many families honor babies lost to miscarriage and stillbirth is by participating in National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day, held on October 15 of each year. There are remembrance ceremonies, candle lighting, and other events held nationwide. To learn more about it, visit www.october15th.com
If you know someone who has experienced a stillbirth or miscarriage, here are some helpful suggestions:
- Acknowledge the loss. Remember their baby with a card around the time of the due date, or a phone call just to let them know you’re thinking of them
- Don’t be afraid to ask about their baby. Most grieving parents want to talk about their child, and it makes them happy to have people ask about him/her, even if it does make them cry. It makes them feel like their child is remembered.
- Offer support by bringing a meal, helping with household duties, or helping with childcare if there are other kids at home.
- Be a shoulder to cry on. After a tragedy, people don’t know what to say, so they back away. Often, the best thing you can do is to say nothing, but just be there for them.
If you are suffering following a pregnancy loss, please know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help, or even seek out a professional counselor. Allow yourself time to grieve, and know it will take time to heal. Sharing your story with others may connect you with others who have been suffering in silence, and you can be a support to each other. While you will never be over your loss completely, it will get better in time.