While October means Halloween for some and the changing of the leaves for others, for those of us who have lost a baby, it’s the time of year when we remember our departed children. October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness (PAIL) Month — a time to honor the memory of the little ones we lost, and to support loved ones who are mourning. And while most parents honor their losses every day, there are many bereaved parents who honor their losses during PAIL Month in a special, specific way. When there are events put together by non-profits, Instagram challenges (like CarlyMarie’s), and even more forms of remembrance bereaved parents express, the entire month is one of remembrance..
I must admit I don’t normally do anything during PAIL Month. I used to write a blog post during this month (or during World Prematurity Day in November) to commemorate my daughter, Margaret Hope, and her memory. But other years, I simply light a candle during the International Wave of Light (which takes place in the early evening of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, on the 15th).
This year, however, I decided to challenge myself. As a freelance writer who has also lost a baby, I feel it’s my duty to share stories of loss, as well as general advice and help for fellow loss parents. I’m proud of the work that I’ve done in honor of my daughter and for the loss community, and I think I’ll try and make this my tradition for every October to come. I also spoke with other loss parents, and this is what they did during the month to honor the babies they lost:
“This October 5th was our angel baby Karter Ryan's 1st Anniversary. We kept going back and forth on how we would honor our baby boy. So what we decided was to light a candle on his anniversary day until the end of October to honor all the angel babies and their families, especially moms.
We also asked our family and friends to light candles as well, and some of them sent pictures of their candles to us. We then invited family over to help take our mind off of everything, and while we were outside a rainbow appeared. My husband turned to me and said, 'Karter is smiling down on y’all, and it disappeared within five minutes. It warmed my heart and soul.”
“This is our first PAIL month, as my son passed away August 25th because I had a full placental abruption. In honor of my son's due date, which was October 11th, we did a balloon release. On each balloon, we attached letters from his family and friends telling him how much we love him and miss him.”
"I wrote over 100 babies names and displayed them with candles for wave of light. This is all done in memory of our sweet baby Lachlan. His urn is there in the middle"
“I lost my son Elliot when he was 1.5 years old due to a horrid case of RSV. This month is so important to me because its a time where everyone gets together and remembers the loss of my sweet, innocent baby boy. He never leaves my mind, but it's nice to have a day/month dedicated to remembering him.
I lost him when I was 19. Barely old enough to be an adult. No one should have to bury their child. It's something I don't wish on my worst enemy. It's the groups on Facebook that help me through the days. Talking to people who know what I'm going through is so helpful. If it wasn't for this awareness month, Facebook groups, and my family and friends, I wouldn't be where I am today. I'm happy with a 6-month-old baby boy, but I will always remember my angel.”
“We usually are very private with our remembrances of our precious and only son Will Allen Rose, born sleeping July 12, 2011 due to e-coli causing me to go in to septic shock. I have posted a single candle on my Facebook page, as I have usually not been home for various reasons. I really don't know why we do not do something more. I guess, for us, the simplicity of a candle really is the best symbol. I love that someone started this, because it helps more than you know.”
"Our daughter Phoenix's birthday is this month. She was stillborn. We give a gift to our first child born that day, as we could not give her anything. we also did cake with her siblings, and a candle as well."
"Same as last year, we participated in the international wave of light. Many of our friends and family joined us all around the world to honor our little one. It was very special."