October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. A single month that focuses on increasing awareness of the most traumatic loss of all: The loss of a little loved one.
“Those who’ve lost, painfully suffer every single day – and whilst a single month of focus would never suffice to ease their agony, we look at October awareness month as a time to help others who may be struggling. This help is often done by way of sharing their journeys and learning from such,” Says Michelle Groenewald a Perinatal Bereavement Worker and Director of Empty Wombs – Pregnancy and Baby Loss Support Group.
“South Africa has outstanding support groups,” continues Michelle. “Empty Wombs, for example, is a pregnancy loss and baby loss support group that provides amongst other services, support groups for bereaved parents and grandparents. Such groups continuously strive to educate individuals of the possible grief journey ahead. Education is the greatest tool that humans can give one another and coupled with a caring and experienced support group has and will help thousands of women and men as they grieve in their own way. We need to value the lives of every baby and acknowledge their life and their loss. Families and friends can offer support by remembering the baby that was lost, including their birthdays and not shying away from saying their name.”
Within Empty Wombs, we focus on Grieving through Creativity – an essential part of the healing process. We do this through creating beautiful Hope Boxes (an initiative started by phenomenal mom Nanki Robbertse) which are then filled with special gifts for a newly bereaved mother, in the hope that she will know that she is not alone. We are passionate about raising awareness around Pregnancy Loss and Baby Loss, every single day of the year. I have come to regard the moms of this group as family.”
Roughly 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriages worldwide and the death of a baby can occur in many ways. Nanki’s beautiful baby boy Kaleb’s heart stopped beating at 39 weeks. Her only family photos with her boy, are with his lifeless body. At Jen’s last scan, full term, her baby girl Diani had no heartbeat. The photos of her husband dancing with their little girl, after she was born sleeping, are some of the only memories they have left and the only dance he would ever have had with his girl. Chantelle’s first born son Ty died during his first day on earth. He had a cystic hygroma on his neck. She never got to hold him alive as she was incapacitated with a c-section and could not get to the NICU to see him. Alicia’s daughter Alize died at 22 weeks of pregnancy due to a uterine rupture, with Alicia nearly loosing her life too in the process. Cindy went to get checked out because her daughter Klara-Belle’s movements had slowed down at 32 weeks. Her daughter had a problem with her heart. She had an emergency c-section and she was in NICU for 3 weeks before she died.
One way in which you can help honour babies gone too soon, is to participate in the International Wave of Light on October 15th – which is World Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. You can participate in the International Wave of Light by lighting a candle at 7 pm local time to honour all babies gone too soon. Keep your candle lit for at least one hour to create a continuous “wave of light” across all time zones covering the entire globe!
Usual website links:
The Hope Box Initiative: https://thehopeboxorg.weebly.com/hope-boxes.html
Empty Wombs: https://www.houseoffertility.org/Pregnancyloss.html
Empty Wombs Private Facebook Group – contact Michelle to join.
— Written for and on behalf of Empty Wombs by Caroline Malan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
For enquiries, please contact: Michelle Groenewald – email@example.com