Posts Tagged ‘loss’

Grieve and connect during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

Pregnancy and Infant loss awareness dayThe loss of a baby is one of the most painful things that can happen to a family. If your baby died during pregnancy, in the first days of life, or even as a toddler, you and your family may need help to understand what happened. You may need support to find ways to deal with your grief and ease your pain.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month – a time to pause and remember all angel babies. It is also SIDS Awareness Month (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome).

It is important to know that parents and families are not alone in their grief. Connecting with others going through the same or a similar situation can help you process your grief. We invite all families to share and connect in our online community Share Your Story. The families in our community know what you are going through and can offer support during this devastating time and in the days ahead.

We provide resources that may help you understand what happened and how to deal with the daily pain of your loss. We encourage you to visit our website if you are looking for resources for families that have lost a baby, ways to remember your baby, or other resources.

If you would like to receive our free bereavement materials, email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org with your mailing address.

The March of Dimes is so very sorry for your loss. We are here for you.

 

Infant mortality. These two words should never go together.

Wednesday, September 21st, 2016

emotional couple sittingInfancy should mark the beginning of life, not the end. Even though the rates of infant deaths are at an all-time low, far too many babies still die before their first birthday. For this reason, September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month – a time for us to share the sad fact that babies still die in infancy, and to help spread the word about how to fix this problem.

In 2013, in the United States, 23,446 infants died before reaching their first birthday, which is an infant mortality rate of 6.0 per 1,000 live births. Or, put another way, on an average day in the U.S., 64 babies die before reaching their first birthday.

What causes infant death? Can it be prevented?

“Preterm birth, or being born too early (before 37 weeks of pregnancy), is the biggest contributor to infant death,” according to the CDC. In 2013, about one third (36%) of infant deaths were due to preterm-related causes. Among non-Hispanic black infants, the rate of preterm-related death is three times higher than those of non-Hispanic white infants.

Other causes of infant mortality include low birth weight, birth defects, pregnancy complications for the mother, SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome), and unintentional injuries (accidents). Although the rate of infant deaths in the U.S. has declined by almost 12% since 2003, the death of any infant is still one too many.

Having a healthy pregnancy may increase the chance of having a healthy baby.

A woman can help reduce her risk of giving birth early by getting a preconception checkup, staying at a healthy weight, and avoiding alcohol and street drugs during pregnancy. Spacing pregnancies at least 18 months apart and getting early and regular prenatal care during pregnancy are also key parts of a healthy pregnancy.

It’s part of our mission

The March of Dimes is committed to preventing premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. It is our hope that through continued research, we will have a positive impact on the lives of all babies so that fewer families will ever know the pain of losing a child.

If you or someone you know has lost a baby, we hope that our online community, Share Your Story, will be a place of comfort and support to you. There, you will find other parents who have walked in your shoes and can relate to you in ways that other people cannot. Log on to “talk” with other parents who will understand.

Even in the year 2016, “the U.S. has one of the highest rates of infant mortality in the industrialized world,” according to NICHQ, the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality.

The March of Dimes is working hard to make this fact history.

Have questions? Send them to our Health Education Specialists at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

 

Living with loss

Wednesday, July 8th, 2015

yellow butterflyFor families that suffer from the unspeakable pain of losing a baby, their grief continues for a lifetime. It may ebb and flow; it may be more acute at anniversaries or when something triggers a memory. It may even seem to be out of mind for periods of time, but it is never gone completely. A woman starts loving her baby from the moment of conception and this love continues throughout her entire life. Similarly, the feelings of sadness and loss continue because a parent’s love has no end.

At the March of Dimes, women have written to us after suffering a miscarriage or stillbirth, asking when they will “get over” the loss of their baby. This is a question that is impossible to answer. Your life will go on – all the chores, jobs, responsibilities and even parties continue. But, the reminders will be there always, with the sadness and deep disappointment to go along with it.

I know a woman who lost her baby boy 31 years ago. She had tried for years to become pregnant, so her pregnancy was an especially joyous time for her. The immense happiness was followed by intense grief on the day of her son’s birth, as he lived for only a few hours. Even though she eventually went on to have a healthy baby, she still mourns the loss of her son. She marks her son’s birth and death every year, and continues to remember him. Her pain is palpable, even though so many years have gone by since that heartbreaking time.

Acknowledging and talking about the loss of her baby has helped her to know that her son was real, and that her grief is legitimate. She had bonded with her baby from the moment she learned she was pregnant. To ask her to forget about this tiny person would be ridiculous.

The pain of losing a baby is one that many women struggle with for life. Perhaps it is because the baby never got the chance to grow up and follow his dreams. Or, maybe it is because the mom is denied the natural desire to nurture her child and watch him grow up. Losing a child is like a double wallop- you lose your child and the dreams that go along with him.

It’s so unfair.

If you have suffered a pregnancy or infant loss, you may want to reach out to others who will understand your unique pain. You may find a local support group in your area, or you can join our online community, Share Your Story where you will meet other women who know what living with loss is all about. You are not alone.

The March of Dimes has written a booklet called From Hurt to Healing to help families understand their grief. It explains grief and how men and women grieve differently. It talks about how to deal with your feelings, tells you how to ask for help, how to deal with family and friends, how to help other children understand. And it suggests ways to remember your baby. Two other booklets, What Can You Do? and When You Want to Try Again are part of a packet the March of Dimes offers free to bereaved parents who have suffered a loss. If you would like to receive a packet, send your name and address to AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

You will never forget your baby, but in time the power of love will help you find the strength to move forward and love again.

 

Comments or questions? Send them to AskUs@machofdimes.org.

View posts in the series on Delays and Disabilities: How to get help for your child.

 

Avoid a tragedy – learn safe sleep strategies

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

cropped sleeping babyEvery so often, we hear a tragic story from a new parent. Last week, a three week old baby died of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome). This post is in memory of that baby, and our hearts go out to the family.

It is important for parents and caregivers to know safe sleep strategies. Please help us get the word out: ALWAYS, put your baby to sleep on her back, in a crib without bumpers, blankets, stuffed toys or loose bedding.

Back to Sleep and Tummy to Play is an easy way to remember that all healthy babies should be put to sleep on their backs every time until their first birthday. Do not put your baby to sleep on her side, either. Most babies will roll over both ways by the end of the 7th month, but always start them out going to sleep on their backs. You can give your baby tummy time to help strengthen her back muscles when she is awake and you are watching her.

About 3,500 infants (less than one year of age) die suddenly and unexpectedly each year in the United States, according to the CDC. SIDS is the leading cause of death in babies between 1 month and 1 year old. Most SIDS cases happen in babies between 2 and 4 months old. We don’t know what causes SIDS, but certain things can put babies at higher risk:

  • Bed sharing – do not sleep in the same bed as your baby. Sleeping in the same room is suggested, just not the same bed. Bed sharing is the biggest risk factor for SIDS in babies under 4 months of age.
  • Sofa or couch sleeping – do not let your baby sleep on the couch or soft surfaces, including pillows. Nearly 13 percent of infant sleeping deaths are sofa-related.
  • Wearing too many clothes or sleeping in a room that is too hot.
  • Sleeping on her tummy or side.

Read more about safe sleep, mom and baby care and other tips for reducing the risk of SIDS.

If you have questions about putting your baby to sleep, send them to AskUs@marchofdimes.org or ask your baby’s health care provider.

If you or someone you know has lost a baby due to SIDS or an unknown reason, the Pregnancy and Newborn Health Education Center offers bereavement packets to families. Just email us with your mailing address and we will send one to you.

See other topics in the series on Delays and Disabilities- How to get help for your child, here.

 

Updated Sept. 2015

Honoring parents with angel babies

Wednesday, October 15th, 2014

yellow butterflyThe loss of a baby is heart wrenching.  As today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, I want to take a moment to honor those parents who have angel babies. Most people cannot even imagine being in their shoes for an instant, yet alone having to live a day-to-day existence without the baby they continue to love.

The loss of a baby touches so many people in profound and long lasting ways. No two individuals grieve in exactly the same manner. The mother may grieve differently from the father. Children who were expecting their sibling to come home from the hospital experience their own grief as well. Even grandparents and close friends may be deeply affected. The ripple effects from the loss of a baby are widely felt.

The March of Dimes is committed to preventing premature birth, birth defects and infant mortality. It is our hope that through continued research, we will have a positive impact on the lives of all babies so that fewer families will ever know the pain of losing a child.

If you or someone you know has lost a baby, we hope that our online community, Share Your Story will be a place of comfort and support to you. There, you will find other parents who have walked in your shoes and can relate to you in ways that other people cannot. Log on to “talk” with other parents who will understand your grief. We also have bereavement materials available free of charge. Simply send a request to AskUs@marchofdimes.org and we will mail them out to you.

Please know that the March of Dimes is thinking of you today and every day.

Twitter chat on losing a baby

Saturday, November 16th, 2013

Tiffany Bowen, wife of Stephen Bowen of the Washington Redskins, went into labor at 24 weeks. She was expecting twins, not an emergency c-section. Two tiny babies were born and struggled for weeks. One of their boys survived, Skyler did not.

Join us @modhealthtalk for a chat about losing a baby, on Monday Nov. 18th at 8 PM ET. Tiffany Bowen, @Skylersgift, will be our guest. Come listen to her story and share your own. Find out how Tiffany and Stephen have used their experience to help others through Skyler’s Gift Foundation.  Share your experience. Be sure to use #losschat so others can see your story.

 

Loss is painful

Monday, December 12th, 2011

flowerI recently read that Michelle Duggar had a miscarriage with her 20th child. While many women choose to have babies later in life, there are risks associated with pregnancy in older women and risks associated with spacing children too close together.  Sadly, miscarriage is common (as many as 40 percent of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage), but that doesn’t change the fact that losing a baby is painful.

Whether it is your first pregnancy or your last, whether you just recently learned of your pregnancy or you were many months along, whether you have a houseful of children or none, the loss of a baby is not an easy thing.

Reading about the Duggar’s loss made me think to remind you that the March of Dimes has created bereavement materials for families who have suffered a loss. We have written a booklet called From Hurt to Healing to help families understand their grief. It explains grief and how men and women grieve differently. It talks about how to deal with your feelings, tells you how to ask for help, how to deal with family and friends, how to help other children understand. And it suggests ways to remember your baby. Two other booklets (What Can You Do? and When You Want to Try Again) are part of a packet the March of Dimes offers free to bereaved parents. We hope our booklets, fact sheets, and list of resources help parents find ways to heal and think about the future.

If you would like one of these helpful and free bereavement packets, please send an email requesting it to Askus@marchofdimes.org. Be sure to include your complete U.S. mailing address.

The pain of losing a baby

Wednesday, March 16th, 2011

flowerLast fall, my husband’s cousin gave birth to very premature twin girls. They were tiny and beautiful and the hope of their little family.  Sadly, one of the girls died after six days.  Her sister has been fighting an astonishing fight in the NICU for the past seven months and is coming home this week. While we all are thrilled at her pending arrival, we are painfully reminded each day that she is coming home alone.

The death of a baby is so unfair. Babies aren’t supposed to die. Some days our cousin is overwhelmed by her feelings of loss.  In the midst of this sadness, the family has found a caring friend and support through the March of Dimes

The March of Dimes has written a booklet called From Hurt to Healing to help families understand their grief. It explains grief and how men and women grieve differently. It talks about how to deal with your feelings, tells you how to ask for help, how to deal with family and friends, how to help other children understand. And it suggests ways to remember your baby. Two other booklets, What Can You Do? and When You Want to Try Again are part of a packet the March of Dimes offers free to bereaved parents who have suffered a loss. We hope our booklets, fact sheets, and list of resources help parents find ways to heal and think about the future. I know they have helped our cousin.

Our bereavement materials are available in English and Spanish.  If you would like to have one of these helpful and free kits, please send an email requesting it to the following address: AskUs@marchofdimes.org. Be sure to include your complete mailing address.

 

Help with grief

Friday, April 17th, 2009

The death of a baby is one of the most painful things that can happen to a family. It’s so unfair. Babies aren’t supposed to die. They are the beginning of life, not the end. Sadly, we have heard of the loss of several babies recently, so I wanted to let you know about our bereavement materials.

You may have had a miscarriage or a stillbirth during pregnancy. Or your baby may have died at birth or after birth. You may been overwhelmed by your feelings of loss.  I know our family was when it happened to us.

The March of Dimes has written a booklet called From Hurt to Healing to help families understand their grief. It explains grief, talks about how to deal with your feelings, tells you how to ask for help, and suggests ways to remember your baby. It discusses the ways women and men grieve differently, and ways to help other children understand. We hope this and our other booklet and fact sheets help you find ways to heal and think about the future.

You can read about our bereavement material, available in English and Spanish, on our website.   If you would like to have one of these helpful and free kits, please send an email requesting it to the following address: AskUs@marchofdimes.org. Be sure to include your complete mailing address.

The devastating loss of a child

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

Heather Spohr is one of the strongest, courageous and most generous women I know and our newest March of Dimes Mom.  I, like many of you, have been following the life of her daughter Maddie through her blog and Twitter account.  Born 11 weeks too soon, Maddie was a trooper with the sweetest smile.

But then tweets started coming from the doctor and the hospital.

Maddie died unexpectedly last night, April 7th, 2009.  She was 17 months old.

The outpouring of love and support from the blogging and twitter community is amazing.  I get teary writing this.

My heart goes out to the Spohrs; losing a child is one of the most devastating, heart-rending things possible.  I cannot imagine the loss, the pain.

Heather, Mike and Maddie have a team and were planning on walking in LA for March for Babies.   As we walk this season, let us remember and honor Maddie and all those that have left us too soon.