Monday, October 12, 2009

What is October 15?

Through the efforts of our friend Robyn Bear, October 15th is nationally known as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Before we lost our son, we never thought twice about infant loss, other than the time several years ago when my uncle lost his baby boy b/c of the mistake made by the doctor. I remember my uncle and his wife being devastated, and I prayed for them, but beyond that I never thought about it much again. About three or four years ago, my cousin lost her baby too, and again, sad to say, it just didn't hit me how very tragic it is to lose a child. Until now. Until Grant. Now I see the pain, and I understand how it feels to have your heart feel like it was ripped out of your chest, never to be the same again.

Statistics show that more than 26,000 babies are stillborn in the United States each year. This does not include miscarriage, SIDS, neonatal death, etc. A nurse from a local hospital here emailed me recently and said that on average, their hospital sees anywhere from 12-15 infant losses a month. This is just ONE hospital! We cannot make baskets and burial gowns fast enough to meet the needs of these families. With God's help, and the help of people like you, we are doing the best we can.

Maybe you are wondering how you can help. If you have a family member, or a friend who has lost a baby, the best thing you can do is give them all of your love and support. Please do not try to make them feel better by using a bunch of words. A simple "I'm sorry" and "I am praying for you" is the best thing you can say. Be sure to follow this with a hug and offer to keep their kids, or bring them a meal, etc.
Most of all, let them talk about their baby even if it is the 100th time you've heard the story. Talking it out helps with the grieving and healing process. Remember, they don't get to brag on their child after this- they don't get to see their child take steps or learn to talk. So let them talk about their child whenever they want to.

You can also donate to Granting Hope, or other similar organizations who help bereaved families. If you do not feel comfortable donating money, then contact them to see what they need or how else you can help.

This Thursday, Oct. 15th, you can help honor and remember their baby by lighting a candle at 7:00 p.m. your time. Please keep the candle lit for an hour to provide a continuous wave of light around the United States, Canada, and others who also participate in the Wave of Light.

Check to see if your family member or friend will be participating in a local Remembrance Walk. On Saturday, October 17th, Kris, Jacob, and I, along with several of our friends and hundreds of other grieving families will be walking to remember our babies here in Arizona. (If you are here in AZ, please come out and join us!) This helps show the family that you care and that you want to help them honor their baby's memory.

Lastly, please continue to keep these families in your prayers. It can take up to two years or more for families to heal. Even then, their lives will never be the same as it was before they had their baby. There will also be an empty spot in their hearts, because their family member isn't there. Recently the three of us were sitting down to dinner. I got up to get something from the refrigerator. As I started walking back to the table, I saw it- I saw the empty fourth chair at the table. And it hit me hard that Grant should be there- all the chairs would have been full by this time. He would be sitting there in a high chair or booster seat eating with us. I wanted to go upstairs and sob in my pillow, but of course, at that moment I could not. By the grace of God, I do have one living child and a husband who needs me. Please understand that no matter how much time goes by, there will always be reminders of the child we/they lost. Your thoughts and prayers will always be appreciated and needed. Thank you!

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