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Reaching Out to Ease the Pain from the Loss of a Child

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and experts say if a friend or family member has suffered an infant loss, it's beneficial to them if you recognize the pain they may feel as a result of that loss. Credit: Lisa Runnels/Morguefile.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and experts say if a friend or family member has suffered an infant loss, it's beneficial to them if you recognize the pain they may feel as a result of that loss. Credit: Lisa Runnels/Morguefile.
October 6, 2015

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thousands of Tennessee families lose a pregnancy or newborn child every year, and experts say the loss can devastate an entire family, particularly when they don't access help that is otherwise available.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and Amy Moseley with the Hope Clinic for Women in Nashville says if you have a friend or family member who experiences an infant loss, experts recommend you reach out to them to show your concern and recognition of that loss.

"The more they're able to talk about it too and feel like it's not something that people shy away from and that they can't express, the more acceptance there is," she says. "Then the less shame and guilt there's going to be around these issues."

In addition to the mother, Moseley says it's important to also check in on fathers and siblings who are also mourning the loss of the child. Counseling resources available through your doctor or local hospital.

Moseley says grief from the loss of a child can re-emerge as years pass, when parents think of what milestones the child would be reaching, such as learning to walk, starting kindergarten and other life events.

"They say they feel like people are putting an expiration date on their grief," she says. "They feel that they should have moved on, or 'gotten over it by now.' Just acknowledge and understand there's a real relationship with this unborn child that they had, and it's a real loss."

Sleep-related deaths – just one cause of infant mortality – are on the decline in Tennessee, falling from 130 in 2012 to 117 in 2013, according to the most recent data available. Despite the decline, experts recommend safe sleeping practices to prevent any unintended deaths to young infants.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service - TN