Every loss in our lives is a painful one, but suffering a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death is a special kind of heartache. Mere words alone can't ease that pain, but reading or sharing a quote for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day can help a grieving parent feel supported and just a little less alone during an overwhelming and emotional time.
In 1988, President Reagan designated the month of October as a time to acknowledge pregnancy and infant loss. It wasn't until 2006 that Congress declared October 15 National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, the result of a years-long petition campaign by three mothers, explained National Day Calendar. The day is a time to honor and grieve all forms of pregnancy and infant death: miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, and infant loss due to medical conditions, illness, accidents or violence.
Even in our current social-media society, where oversharing is the norm, it can be difficult for women to open up about their pregnancy losses, or to reveal the depth of their grief over losing a baby. (I suffered a miscarriage years ago, and this is the first time I've written about it publicly.) It's still a subject we tiptoe around, and that's understandable. It's highly personal. It's awkward. It's so incomprehensible — why should a life be taken so young? — as to be beyond words. Yet being able to openly recognize and mourn the loss can help in the healing. As Shakespeare wrote: "Give sorrow words. The grief that does not speak/Whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break."
Below are a few of the many meaningful quotes on pregnancy and infant loss that can be shared either on social media or with a family member or friend who is going through her own personal agony. They all recognize the pain and questioning, rather than offering well-meaning platitudes that don't really help (like "God must have had a reason" or "You can try again"). Take it from someone who's been there: Just acknowledging that there's a day devoted to the unique grief of pregnancy and infant loss can go a long way toward helping moms feel less alone.
1. "I guess love wasn't enough for us to survive./I swear, I swear, I swear I tried./You took the life right out of me./I'm so unlucky. I can't breathe./You took the life right out of me./I'm longing for your heartbeat, heartbeat." — Beyoncé
We tend to forget that celebrities are human too, capable of the same joys and sorrows that affect all of us. Case in point: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter suffered a miscarriage before having her daughter Blue Ivy, according to Huffpost. In the documentary Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream, she opened up about her personal tragedy, and these deeply felt lyrics are from her song "Heartbeat."
2. "At sunset, the little soul that had come with the dawning went away, leaving heartbreak behind with it." - L.M. Montgomery
This poignant quote comes from Anne's House of Dreams, one of the sequels to Anne of Green Gables. Finally married to Gilbert Blythe, Anne suffers the loss of their first baby, a girl named Joyce, just hours after birth. Anne is heartbroken beyond Marilla's attempts to comfort her, saying, "It hurts so much that I'm afraid of life."
3. "When a child is born, it is the mother's instinct to protect the baby. When a child dies, it is the mother's instinct to protect the memory." - Unknown
Perhaps worse than losing a baby is forgetting that the child existed in the first place. Whether it was an early-stage miscarriage, a stillbirth, or the unexpected loss of a baby to an illness or SIDS, each loss is worthy of being remembered and mourned.
4. "Even those that never fully blossom bring beauty into the world." — Unknown
From the moment the parents hear the pregnancy news, babies bring a hope and joy that lingers on even when their lives are cut far too short.
5. "[It] took us to a place that was really dark and difficult." — Mariah Carey
Other music icons have known the grief of pregnancy loss. MTV reported that Mariah Carey suffered a miscarriage three years before she and husband Nick Cannon welcomed their twins, Moroccan and Monroe. She admitted that it was "weird" to talk about it publicly, but, as she told Access Hollywood, "We really learned a lot as people" from the ordeal.
6. "Some of us are mommies of children, some of us are mommies of angels, and some of us are mommies of both. We are all mommies." — Alycia de Lucio
Women who lose children through miscarriage or infant loss are no less mothers than women raising toddlers or teens. This quote reminds us not to make a grieving woman feel any less of a parent.
7. "We remember: the babies born sleeping, those we carried but never held, those we held but could not take home, those who came home but could not stay." — Unknown
A simply expressed sentiment that encompasses all aspects of pregnancy and child loss. Post this quote to show that you honor the memory of all the babies lost under all circumstances.
8. "To lose a child is to lose a piece of yourself." — Dr. Burton Grebin
The late Dr. Grebin, who specialized in palliative care for children, witnessed the love and grief of hundreds of parents. He spoke these words with the voice of authority.
9. "Remembering (child's name) on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day."
This caption makes a simple but powerful statement for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. It can also serve as an announcement for a mom who hasn't yet told anyone about her loss. If the parents lost a pregnancy before deciding on a baby name, they could say, "Remembering the child we lost to miscarriage" or "Remembering our angel baby."
10. "Some say you are too painful to remember. I say you are too precious to forget." — Unknown
It can be hard for family members and friends to speak to a parent who is grieving a pregnancy or infant loss. They may avoid the subject altogether for fear of making the pain worse. In fact, it can help to bring the subject into the open, or at least to let the parent know that you're there when they want to talk, or just to cry.
11. "I never got to hear you cry/I never saw your beautiful eyes/I never touched your soft skin/I never saw your feet kick/But you are my angel/And you will forever be missed." — Unknown
What makes an early miscarriage all the more painful is that the parents miss out on even the briefest moment of knowing what their child looks like, much less being able to touch the life they created. This anonymous quote expresses that loss beautifully.
12. "A life need not be long to be meaningful." — Unknown
A baby lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss may not have had a chance to reach their full potential on earth. But for the brief time they existed, either in the womb or in their parents' arms, they made an impact on their family's life that will never be forgotten.
13. "I would have given my last breath just to see you take your first." — Unknown
A parent's all-encompassing love is expressed in this heartbreaking caption. Grieving parents weep for all the "firsts" they'll never see: first cry, first smile, first steps, first day of school, first wedding dance.
14. "I will not stay silent so you can stay comfortable. I will speak my child's name until I can no longer speak." — Unknown
This is just one of the many quotes and poems found on the FB group Mommies With Angel Babies. Among the expressions of grief pn their page are statements like this one, which shares the anger many parents experience when they feel they have to disguise their pain for the sake of those around them.
15. "Somebody said it was all for the best, that something was probably wrong. Somebody said it was meant to be. Different verse, same miserable song." — Unknown
This one really spoke to me as a mom who experienced miscarriage. The poem, called "Somebody," continues: "Somebody said, 'You can have another,' as if that would make it all right./Somebody said, 'It was not a real child.' Somebody's not very bright./Somebody thinks it is helpful to say when grieving should end./Somebody shows their true colors. Somebody isn't a friend./But somebody said, 'I'm sorry.' And sat quietly by my side./And somebody shared my sorrow, and held my hand when I cried./And somebody always listened, and called my lost baby by name./And somebody understood that I'd never be the same."
16. "We talk about them, not because we're stuck or because we haven't moved on, but we talk about them because we are theirs, and they are ours, and no passage of time can change that." — Unknown
Months, years, and even decades later, pregnancy and infant loss is part of a parent's history and identity. Allowing the parent to freely talk about it is one of the greatest gifts we can give. We can say, "This is part of who you are, and it deserves to be acknowledged."