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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

I usually despise "awareness" campaigns. Like, we all know that breast cancer exists by now. I'm all for breast cancer research, but "awareness" is a waste of everybody's time.

I'll make an exception for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, because miscarriages and stillbirths are astoundingly under-discussed in proportion to how common they are. Many people don't have the first idea how to respond to the news that someone they know has lost their baby. Awareness is actually needed.

Pro-life President Ronald Reagan was the first to declare October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. He said:
When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses his or her partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn't a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost their children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.
The lack of language to talk about the deaths of very young people is made even worse by abortion advocates, who (intentionally or not) harm grieving parents by using dehumanizing phrases like "clump of cells" and "tissue" to describe unborn children. As Constance T. Hull put it recently in The Federalist:
It is a lie that my grief is unwarranted. The world’s greatest deception today is the dehumanization of the unborn. Of course they are human. That is scientific fact, but even beyond the science, mothers and fathers know they have lost a child when there is a miscarriage. The grief is just as powerful and intense as the loss of any child born full-term.
Miscarriage has been largely shut out of public discussion, because our experiences betray the lies of the abortion lobby. We know the loss of a child or children. No level of cognitive dissonance can take away the truth. Mothers who have bled out their own child know better.
We need to stop grieving silently. We need to stop letting people tell us that we did not lose a child. We did lose a child, and our grief is real. No rational human being would grieve over tissue, but a mother who was united in love to her child knows the great loss that has been suffered.
Unlike abortion advocates, pro-lifers do not carry ideological baggage that prevents us from acknowledging parents' pain after the loss of a child before (or shortly after) birth. Accordingly, we have a responsibility to take the lead on raising awareness.

Secular Pro-Life has had guest authors write in memory of their miscarried children on a number of occasions, and we welcome similar guest posts in the future. Learn more about becoming a guest writer here. And as long as we're sharing stories, I should share mine. About 25 years ago, I lost a sibling to ectopic pregnancy. I'm beyond grateful that my mom came out of that harrowing experience with no ill health effects. Sadly, doctors could not save the baby. I do sometimes wonder what it would have been like to grow up with two younger siblings instead of just one. I know my parents wish they could have had a larger family. But there was nothing that could have been done differently.

If someone in your life has lost a baby, consider purchasing a card here; the creator of those cards is a psychologist and has had a miscarriage herself, so she knows a thing or two about saying the right thing. Do not say "God has a plan," "Everything happens for a reason," etc. These sentiments are particularly offensive to non-religious parents, although my Christian friends have expressed annoyance with them too.

Finally, as the daughter of a Southerner, my go-to response when someone loses a loved one (of any age) is to bring over food. They have enough on their minds as it is, without worrying about how to feed everyone.

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