October 15th is International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or the death of a newborn. This day is one that I wish didn't have so much significance for me. But, it does and will most definitely continue to have significance for the rest of my life. You can read more about my infertility and pregnancy loss journey if you missed it. Actually, the whole month of October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, as proclaimed by President Ronald Regan in October 1988.
The statistics for these losses are staggering. The National Institute of Health estimates that of the 4 million births a year in the United States, there are 26,000 stillbirths; meaning one in every 160 births results in a stillborn. These stats don't even include miscarriages of any kind! With your help though, these statistics can change significantly for late-term pregnant women.
We can't prevent every loss, but there are organizations like Count the Kicks that are on a mission to increase awareness and help save babies if at possible. After learning that Norway had dramatically reduced its still birth rates by conducting a public health campaign on kick counting, five Des Moines-area moms, who each lost babies to late-term stillbirth or infant death, launched a statewide public health campaign in Iowa called Count The Kicks in 2009. The campaign was developed to prevent late-term birth complications and stillbirths and urges parents to contact their health care providers immediately if they notice significant changes in their babies’ movements. Scientific studies indicate kick counting, a daily record of a baby’s movements (kicks, rolls, punches, jabs) during the third trimester, is an easy, free and reliable way to monitor a baby’s well-being in addition to regular prenatal visits.
To learn more about how you can prevent the loss of more lives, join the Count the Kicks movement and spread kick awareness! CLICK HERE for more information, videos, and a Count the Kicks downloadable poster.
My losses were not late term, but learning about Count the Kicks put in perspective for me how you truly aren't "out of the woods" until your baby is delivered and declared healthy. Life is fragile. Nothing is more heartbreaking that losing a child at any stage. On this day I hope you would consider spreading the word, and by talking to your pregnant friends. Gently remind them to count those precious baby kicks. You never know. You may save that babies' life.
I'm very thankful that there is more being done to bring awareness to the issue of pregnancy and infant loss. Far too many families have been tragically touched in this way and grieve alone because no one seems to know what to say. You know what? A simple "I'm so sorry, what can I do for you right now?" is a great start. We don't want to simply forget our babies we've lost. They are real. They were just lost. And we never, ever forget them. Today and every day, I remember my four angels.
Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. It is something that was simply on my heart that I wanted to share. Thank you to MagicBullet Media for providing the statistics and information about Count the Kicks.