We wanted to end Maternity Week by bringing attention to a lesser-known, but still very important holiday: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Every year on October 15th, the United States, Canada, and Australia all observe this day to honor those who have a lost a child and remember the previous lives lost. There are a number of reasons infant loss can occur and among those are ectopic pregnancies (when a pregnancy happens outside the uterus), miscarriage, stillbirth, or sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS - sudden, unexplained death of a seemingly healthy baby that is under 1 year old) and others.
The United Kingdom has designated October 9th to 15th as Baby Loss Awareness Week after seeing the holiday being celebrated in other parts of the world. These countries honor these losses through candlelit vigils and a Wave of Light, which involves the lighting of buildings and monuments worldwide.
An estimated 10-20% of known pregnancies end in miscarriage. Most occur before the 12th week of pregnancy, but about 5% of miscarriages happen in the second trimester (weeks 13 to 19 of pregnancy). Stillbirths and ectopic pregnancies are even rarer. Stillbirths can occur any time after 20 weeks and affect 1 in 100 pregnancies and ectopic pregnancies occur in 1-2% of pregnancies. About 1 in 1,000 babies die from SIDS every year with the greatest risk being between 2-4 months. The risk decreases after 6 months and is incredibly rare after the baby has turned 1. The exact causes of miscarriages, SIDS, and stillbirths are still unknown. On the other hand, ectopic pregnancies may occur because of hormonal imbalances, abnormal development of the fertilized egg, or because a woman’s fallopian tubes may be damaged due to inflammation or being misshapen.
These types of losses are often brushed under the rug and rarely spoken about openly because they are seen as taboo and have been viewed negatively in many cultures, which takes a huge emotional toll on those experiencing them. Women and their partners may feel guilty, ashamed, alone, or as if they have done something wrong, even though these situations are completely out of their control. In recent years, women have become more vocal about the pregnancy complications and losses they have experienced like model Chrissy Teigen, who after a very difficult third pregnancy, had a stillbirth last year. Other celebrities, including Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, singers Beyoncé and Carrie Underwood, and the Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, came forward to share their own stories to decrease the stigma surrounding these issues and to make other women feel seen and heard.
We hope that this post serves as a thoughtful reminder that not everyone has the same experience during maternity and that these different experiences still define us all as mothers. Knours wants to carry on these conversations to assure you that we will be there for you and that we will cheer you on through all the cycles of life. Our hope is that more women feel comfortable talking about the complications and losses they experience to eliminate the stigma surrounding this important issue. Always remember to take care of yourselves, both mentally and physically, and to do what’s best for you to help you heal during these difficult times. Sending much love your way.