Jennifer Grieco Desmarais is on the blog today! She is a holistic mother of four kiddos and three angel babes, loving midwife and my (Giselle’s) sister. She has joined us this month to help create more knowledge, awareness, support and love to mamas who have experienced a loss. Through her personal life and midwifery stories, she is opening up the platform to create more discussion around such a sensitive topic. She starts our month of Pregnancy, Infant and Child Loss Awareness with some powerful statistics and a space for other women to connect. Enjoy!
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. This is such a fragile subject that is near and dear to my soul, not only because my family and I have personally crossed this heartbreaking threshold, but I have also had the honor as a midwife to support clients and their families as they have experienced their own loss. Through the love and support of our own community, my husband and I were not only able to heal, but are currently creating a platform to also help others process their loss. For now, I am humbled to be given this space to share my heart.
The purpose of this month is to honor, support and provide awareness for families who have lost a child to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes. The most recent March of Dimes statistics show that approximately 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage; and some estimates are as high as 1 in 3. Out of the nearly 4.4 million annual confirmed pregnancies in the U.S., 900,000 to 1 million of those end in pregnancy losses EVERY year. More than 500,000 pregnancies each year end in miscarriage (occurring during the first 20 weeks). Approximately 26,000 end in stillbirth (considered stillbirth after 20 weeks). Approximately 19,000 end in infant death during the first month. Approximately 39,000 end in infant death during the first year. Lastly, an estimated 19% of the adult population has experienced the death of a child (this includes miscarriages through adult-aged children).
Most people are shocked to see these statistics. My intention is not to create fear or cause stress but instead to create awareness around a topic that is largely avoided in our current culture. I can’t help but wonder, why are more people not talking about this subject? And, more importantly, where is the support for these people or families? As a woman who had this experience, that was one of my first thoughts. “Where can I find support? Where are the answers?”
Our culture is not equipped to support and process ANY kind of loss, let alone the loss of a pregnancy or infant. We have reached a place in society that when a person experiences this, there is an expectation to return to “normal life” as soon as possible. Most employers do not provide counsel for grief processing, nor is there sufficient time allotted for bereavement leave. We are expected to put on a smile, get back to work, get back to life. The intensity of grief has no place for release and the end result is a depressed society feeling unsupported and unsure where to turn.
There needs to be a shift.
More than likely, you personally know someone who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss, or this may even have been your personal experience and unfortunately…
Not enough of us are sharing our stories.
It is time to create space to grieve. To cry out our angel baby’s names. To SCREAM. To howl at the moon and weep. To allow ourselves to be surrounded by a community; a support space; a safe space. To encourage fathers to express themselves and grieve alongside us. To feel every ounce of emotion as it arises. It is time to FEEL, EXPRESS and PROCESS this grief through us and, when the time is right, it is even possible that we can transmute this grief into a new form; a poem, a special trip, and sometimes even a rainbow baby.
Everyone’s journey is individual, and my desire in all of this is that each of us can find our support; our sisters and brothers, our conscious counselors and family to hold us when we are on our knees with the wind knocked out of us. We need to be carried, nourished, lifted by others when we physically and emotionally cannot and it is absolutely okay to ASK FOR HELP. Helpers do exist to wrap you in support and safety and to walk alongside you as you heal. I have personally learned that experiencing every aspect of grief can allow for a profound, soul shifting journey and when one finally rises from its depths, you are never the same.
I invite you to share your story.
You are not alone, and I truly honor your journey.
I am incredibly grateful for Honest Mama creating space for these conversations to take place. I will be lighting a candle on October 15 and encourage all of you to participate. Share the name of your angel so we can honor him/her for being a part of your journey as we create a spark of love. Perhaps this is our opportunity to give voice to all the Mothers, Fathers and Little Souls to express all that has been silenced. May this voice bring healing to the broken hearts, souls and bodies this month.
I wish you profound healing and ceaseless love.
Jennifer Grieco Desmarais
Jennifer is a Women’s Holistic Healthcare Provider, Licensed Midwife. She is passionate about supporting women in all forms of their birthing and creative endeavors. She currently provides women’s holistic health coaching via phone and skype. You can reach her at [email protected].
The following are some Pregnancy & Infant Loss Resources that I found helpful in my journey:
• Seasons Within is a great Inland Empire Resource for mothers/families and they have an event on October 15 at a private residence to honor our angel babes. Please contact Kathie Neff for further information.
• This is a great website with upcoming local “Walk to Remember” events on October 15 to honor our angel babes. I love that they also provide suggestions for family and friends in how they can support families who have experienced loss.
• Forever Footprints is another great resource for families of loss, as well as this month’s featured charity on Honest Mama.