It’s a club no parent wants to be part of, but it’s more common than you may think. Statistics show, 1 in 4 women experience a loss such as miscarriage, still birth or infant loss. Chances are, you know someone who has gone through it. But oftentimes, people don’t talk about it, or friends and family don’t know how to bring up the taboo topic. I’ve had many friends dance around the subject, and I don’t blame them. How do you bring up such a heartbreaking life-altering event? Even more than 2 years later, I’m still brought to tears many days when I think about my two angels. Often, they are happy tears, but the grief still kicks in when I least expect it.
October is “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month”, a movement that was introduced by President Ronald Reagan back in the 1980’s. Over the years, October 15th has become a day of remembrance, a chance to educate and raise awareness of infant loss, as we honor all of our babies who were gone too soon. The day has grown from just the United States, to now around the world. At 7pm in your time zone, light a candle in honor of our children. It will create a beautiful wave of light around the world. We’ll be lighting a candle for Parker and Abby and all of the other babies who have joined them in heaven.
I was honestly clueless about pregnancy and infant loss until I experienced it firsthand. Just this month, I had the honor of speaking at our local “Walk To Remember” event in Springfield. I was blown away by how big the event has grown over the years. Hundreds of families took part, with friends there to support the bittersweet day. It really is a beautiful ceremony. We receive a pinwheel for our baby, and as our angel’s name is called, we add it to the Garden of Dreams. This was our third year for the walk, and each year, we take our pinwheel home and plant them in our yard. I love to watch the wind blow them, a sign that my two angels are always nearby.
Over the past two years, I’ve learned so much about the child loss community. I’ve met strangers who have shared their losses with me and I’ve heard from old friends who have reached out to share their stories. I’m in a unique spot being a television news anchor. We often don’t like to become the story, but on rare occasions, I feel like it’s warranted. I’m grateful to my news director, who didn’t even hesitate when I pitched a series on child loss. He gave me the OK and allowed me to dive into a topic that is so rarely discussed on television (or in public). Tonight (October 15th), I will bravely share with viewers what it’s like to lose a child. I recently visited our local hospital where my triplets were born and talked with doctors and nurses who treated me. But the story isn’t about me, it’s about every single mother who has walked in the same shoes. And it’s about the hospital staff. Even though they try, they can’t separate themselves from the grief. One of our nurses said it perfectly: She will never forget the faces, the families and the babies she meets. It takes a special kind of person to be able to help parents navigate through those early hours of losing a child. I’m honored to be able to share different stories during this month of awareness. My three part series will bring out the tears, but also warm your heart. I’ll be posting the videos and links on my Stacey Skrysak’s Facebook Page.
When I think of my 22 weekers, I often think of this quote: “There’s no footprint too small that it cannot leave an imprint on this world”. Our children may be gone, but not forgotten. This month, I’m thinking of Parker and Abby, my heart heavy as I long to hold them again in my arms. And I’m thinking of those of you, my friends and strangers, who have carried a child, but never met them. I’m thinking of the babies who were born sleeping and those who never made it home from the hospital. The child loss community is much larger than you may realize, but the more we open ourselves to talking about it, the more we can educate others.
For more information on grief support groups, click the link below. The national SHARE non-profit organization has chapters across the country, with many holding monthly support group gatherings.
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