October - The Month for Strong Women & Men
Growing up, I always knew the month of October was the month for Breast Cancer Awareness but it was only in my 28 year of age, that I found out that it's also the month for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. Actually, October is an important month for many reasons, and none of these are more important than the other but I really wanted to shed some light on Pregnancy and Infant Loss, especially since no one talks about it... I mean, who really wants to talk about losing a baby? It's a very sad subject.
Let's first look at the stats, between 10 and 15 percent of known pregnancies end in miscarriage (Healthline, 2019). If you think about it, that is a very high number. On top of that, 1 out of 4 women will experience either pregnancy or infant loss in their lifetime. The first time I read that, I was at work and coincidentally, there are 4 women working in my section (me being one of them) and it made me think which one of the 3 women I work with ever experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. In Trinidad and Tobago, our last known stats (Statista, 2019) reflect that for every thousand births, there are 15.7 infant deaths.
But these are just numbers... I'm sure you personally know someone who has experienced a pregnancy or infant loss. I know quite a few, including both family and friends. I try my best to be there for them at the time it happens but this is usually something they would have to go through alone, going through their stages of grief on their own time... and bouncing back to their seemingly normal selves.
Becoming aware of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month made me reflect on my own pregnancy with my daughter because it is honestly a blessing to be able to carry and bring forth your own child in this world. I can't imagine it being any other way or even begin to imagine how it must feel to lose a baby. Hence, I deem this October, the Month of Strong Women.
I want to personally acknowledge all women, whether they have experienced pregnancy or infant loss or not, because we are truly some amazing beings. Our strength and resilience in the face of adversity is definitely noteworthy.
For the men (I haven't forgotten you guys), I know pregnancy and infant loss affects you too. I admire how most of you, despite going through your own grief yourself, step up to the plate and continue to support and protect your partner during this vulnerable time. However, don't forget to speak up yourself when you're grieving - you don't only need to be strong for your partner, you need to be honest as well and say how you feel. Many men turn to self-sabotaging actions after experiencing a trauma like pregnancy and infant loss due to not speaking up about their own grief.
As October comes to an end, I know the grief associated with pregnancy and infant loss doesn't end just because the month in which we publicly recognize it does. However, as November 1st arrives, it brings with it a newness and a fresher outlook on life for me because I learned alot regarding pregnancy and birth during the past month.
As I end this post, I want to leave this affirmation for anyone who needs it. It's my favourite affirmation and the first one I say with baby girl every morning. You can give it whatever meaning you want because it is a flexible term but one that I know positively impacts those who say it.