Did you know that 2,000 women in the United States will suffer a pregnancy or infant loss today! Yes, just today! By the end of this year, the number of those affected will rise to nearly 700,000 – or 25% of the female population of the United States!! [1. http://archive.wired.com/geekdad/2011/10/national-pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness-day-i-am-1-in-4/%5D Think about that for minute. 25%!! According to these statistics, one out of every four of the women in your circle of friends and family is likely to face this pain!
Did you know that a woman is twice as likely to go through a pregnancy/infant loss as she is to be diagnosed with breast cancer? Yes, you read that right! In fact, a woman is more likely to have a miscarriage/infant loss than she is to be diagnosed with one of the top three cancers affecting women. [2. http://www.cancer.org/cancer/cancerbasics/lifetime-probability-of-developing-or-dying-from-cancer] Please don’t misunderstand me, cancer is a horrible thing! I have had grandmothers, aunts, and cousins diagnosed with brain, breast, colon, lung, and lymphatic cancer. Some of them received treatments and are now living healthy lives. Others endured treatments, but did not receive complete healing until they met the Saviour. I have no doubt that they all faced fear, pain, suffering, and grief during their battles with this awful disease! I do not wish to minimize the importance of early detection and proper screenings, the value of continuing research, or the necessity of awareness and support groups for those who face the many kinds of cancer that plague our fallen world. I do, however, want to draw your attention to an often overlooked group of women: mothers who have lost their child through miscarriage, stillbirth, or SUID.
Did you know that the spontaneous loss of a pregnancy before 20 weeks is called a miscarriage. [3. http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pregnancy-loss-miscarriage/basics/definition/con-20033827] From 20 weeks until full term, the loss is referred to as a stillbirth. [4. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/stillbirth%5D There are no tests that will determine if the pregnancy or birthing process will result in a loss. In fact, for most women, even when a loss occurs, there are often no definitive answers to explain why. When a child dies after birth, a medical condition or disease may be the cause. Sometimes, accidents or other tragedies are to blame. Unfortunately for others, there are no concrete causes. These unexplained losses fall under the category of Sudden Unexplained Infant Death and, this year alone, will claim up to 3,500 lives of infants up to age 1. [5. http://www.cdc.gov/sids/data.htm]
Did you know that the movement to acknowledge miscarriage and infant loss in the United States began in 1987? On October 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October 1988 as “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.” In 2002, three women began petitioning both state and federal governments to designate October 15 as “National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.” On September 28, 2006, as a result of years of time and effort, the House of Representatives passed Concurrent Resolution 222, Supporting the goals and ideals of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. All 50 states have since recognized October 15 as a day of remembrance and most will issue proclamations annually to draw attention to the designation. [6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pregnancy_and_Infant_Loss_Remembrance_Day]
Do you know someone who has endured this tragedy? She is not simply a number or statistic. She may be young; she may be old. She may be poor, middle-class, or rich. She may be single or married. She may have other children; she may not. She may have a strong faith in God to guide her through the dark times, or she may be one who believes she has nowhere to turn when her life is changed in a moment. She may be a homemaker, a teacher, a nurse, a librarian, a writer, a cashier, or a myriad of other things. Though her child was taken from her, she is still a mother! She has faced death and loss. She has suffered. Though she may have found healing from her pain and help through her grief, she will be forever scarred. In every sense of the word, she is a survivor!