1. Give to charities like the March of Dimes. I wish they were more fiscally responsible as only 70 cents per dollar donated makes it to programs, but they do fund lots of research. This research is important to birthing healthy babies and preventing miscarriages.
2. Donate to Planned Parenthood. PP provides vital services for family planning including infertility testing, pregnancy testing, STD testing, abortions, quit smoking support, and much more.
3. Support pro-choice politicians. Access to clinics without waiting periods can be critical during a miscarriage and full support for late-term abortions gives families more options.
Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance/Awareness Day. I don’t blog much, but this is a topic near and dear to my heart. As many of you know, Monica and I lost one child due to low amniotic fluid and lost two others as vanishing twins.
The statistics on pregnancy and infant loss are horrific:
Each year in the US, 11,300 babies die on the day they were born.
1 in 160 babies in the US are stillborn.
10% to 20% of all pregnancies result in a miscarriage.
The actual number of pregnancies resulting in a miscarriage is probably much higher than 20% because many miscarriages occur so early in pregnancy that the woman doesn’t even know she’s pregnant.
Pregnancy and infant loss affects so many but gets so little attention. People are afraid to talk about it. Maybe it’s taboo because people don’t know how to talk about it. When it happened, I didn’t know how to talk about it. I still struggle with the topic. I do know this: the more I talk about it the easier it is.
I’m no trained expert, but through my own experience I have some tips for interacting and supporting those going through pregnancy loss:
Don’t get scientific or legal with terminology. The grieving parents just lost a baby. Not a fetus. A baby. Their baby.
Don’t try to rationalize or explain. Telling a grieving parent “Something must have been wrong and this is for the best” or “God wanted another angel” doesn’t help. In fact it can make it worse.
“At least” are probably the worst words you can use. “At least you didn’t know the baby,” “At least it wasn’t really a baby yet,” “At least you are young and can still have another one.” Nothing truly supportive can come after “at least.”
Don’t directly mention the baby. Stick to things like “I’m sorry for your loss,” and see where the conversation goes.
Actually, don’t mention any baby, pregnancy, or miscarriage. If you have a story, no matter how supportive or positive you think it may be, save it for another time. It won’t help right now. Trust me.
The one exception is if you personally experienced pregnancy or infant loss. In that case, it may help as grieving parents are seeking people to connect to who can truly understand their pain. It better be personal experience though and not a story about your friend, sister, or somebody else. I might sound arrogant saying that, but while grieving it was true.
Speaking about children may be OK, but it’s best to avoid the topic altogether if you aren’t sure.
Listen, listen, and listen. Let the grieving parents speak and let them guide the conversation wherever they want it to go.
Just because you are listening doesn’t mean you should be silent.
Grieving parents cry. They may try to hold it back in public, but they do cry. It’s ok to cry with them. In fact it’s appreciated.
Most people are sympathetic the first time they see the parents but never mention the loss again. Often they avoid it and pretend it didn’t happen. Grieving takes a long time and a simple “How are you holding up?” every once in a while goes a long way. It opens up the door for more conversation if the grieving parent so chooses, but it doesn’t invade their privacy or force them to talk if they don’t want to.
It’s like any other great pain: you never get over it; you can just hope to carry on. Some couples jump back on the wagon as having a child is the only way to lessen the pain. Others need to step back and can’t even think about trying for a long time, if ever. Either way, be supportive because they need it.
I’ve gotten to the point where I can freely talk about pregnancy loss. It was a hard long road and I couldn’t have done it without my best friend, Monica. We walked that road together.
Anyone needing a friend to talk to can always give me a call. It doesn’t matter if we see each other all the time or barely at all. I know the dark loneliness of it all and am certainly willing to extend an ear.
The last few years have been hell. They’ve left my heart broken and my soul shattered. I’ve shed more tears than I’d like to admit. Today I still cry but these tears taste so much sweeter. These tears are of joy as I found the thing that will mend my heart and repair my soul.
May I please introduce my daughter, Nicoletta Hope. 2:36 am. 6 pound, 12 ounces. 19.75 inches.
We are merely one week away from the due date and my daughter can literally be born any day now. When expecting your first child there is much to do and prepare for. Childhood is all about learning and I was thinking about all the things I need to teach my daughter. Here is my list so far. What have I forgotten?
How to make homemade pancakes
How to skip a stone
All the words to Billy Joel’s “Piano Man”
How to make homemade pasta sauce
We need each other
How to order a cheesesteak
How to boo like a true Philly fan
How to make a mess
How to clean up
Don’t belive everything you hear
You are priceless
How to use a drill
Righty tighty, lefty loosey.
How to program an if-else block and a for loop
Just because you can embarrass someone doesn’t mean you should
I’m not perfect
Your mother isn’t perfect either but she is close
When you are young you’ll think I know everything
As you get older you’ll think I know nothing
At some point you’ll find out the answer is somewhere in between
I’ll never put anything, including myself, before you
Please and thank you are very powerful
How to swim
How to build a snowman
How to fly a kite
Promises should never be broken
Sometimes promises get broken
How to throw a ball
How to swing a bat
It is not OK to be weak
Asking for help takes strength
Never stop learning
The world is not black and white
Nothing can make me love you more
Nothing can make me love you less
People will respect you more if you speak up
No one will respect you if you talk back
How to build a sandcastle
Don’t confuse love and like
How to change a flat tire
You may not be a princess but you should value yourself as one
Take pride in your appearance
Appearance isn’t everything
If you’re not 10 minutes early, you’re late
Forgive but never forget
Be able to be self-sufficient
Don’t be afraid to lean on others
If love is not unconditional, it’s not really love
Women can be strong, just look at your mother
Trying is more important than winning
Losing happens to everyone
When you allow losing to become a habit, you become a loser
Hard work doesn’t always pay off
Don’t be afraid to get your hands dirty
Be kind to everybody
Some people will try to manipulate your kindness
Some people think I’m too emotionally involved with sports
You can never bee too emotionally involved with sports
Don’t ever wear the logo of a non-Philly professional sports team
You can always come home
How to play bass
I like making up nicknames
Most nicknames I create don’t stick around very long
Family is more than just blood
How to dance in the kitchen
You will always be my baby girl
I will always love you
My name is Brian Mapes. I'm a father, husband, Phillies fan, Eagles fan, comic book lover, software engineer, technology lover, wannabe artist, and former MacRumors mod. These are my random thoughts.