I wasn't going to write an October 15th blog. I was afraid it might scare or turn off some expecting mothers whom I would love to work with. However, as I saw the posts of remembrance come through on my Facebook feed today I could not remain silent.
Roughly 1 in 4 women experience a loss, whether it be a miscarriage, a still birth (loss of a child from 20 weeks - term but born without breath and brain activity), or a neonatal loss (loss of a living child after birth). (Miscarriage rates and perinatal mortality rates) A loss and the subsequent fear of pregnancy and birth is what actually led me to birth work. I'm a big believer in education. If I fear something I learn all that I can about it. Knowledge is power.
My biggest (ridiculous) fear is getting attacked/eaten by a shark. I live in Ohio. This event is not probable. However, I am an armchair Ichthyologist. I read, watch, and consume anything I can to learn about sharks. If you're ever lost in an ocean get on my life raft because you'll have the best chance of survival with me.
With this obsessive behavior pattern in mind, after a miscarriage, I became terrified of pregnancy and birth, I did all I could to learn more about the physiology of pregnancy and birth. I was shocked to learn how many women experience perinatal loss. I knew of one other woman in my family, a cousin. I supported a friend through the emotional aftermath of a hidden abortion and then the neonatal loss of her daughter. It seemed like no one else really talked about it.
Since that time I supported a few friends who have experienced perinatal losses. I have served clients who have survived the birth of a child born sleeping. Unfortunately, despite all of our power, wisdom, knowledge, and technology, perinatal and infant loss is more common than any of us would like to admit. By being uncomfortable with it our society tells us it is something shameful, or wrong.
There is nothing shameful or wrong with being a mother of a child no longer with us. Let us honor our babies. Acknowledge their existence, their influence, their impact. Check out the October 15th website for ways you can honor your children or those who have lost.