Reflections on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and Planning for National Children’s Grief Awareness Month

Grief impacts the entire family. Recent research on grief in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic estimates that each death affects nine surviving family members. That is nine people left to find ways to cope with their grief. The grief community’s focus in October and November are on the youngest members of our family. 

October was Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, a time dedicated to education, awareness, and remembrance of all forms of pregnancy and infant loss. Raising awareness and education is important to helping with prevention, policy change, and grief support. The topic of pregnancy loss has historically been taboo and considered private. Many bereaved parents suffered in silence alone, but pregnancy and infant loss organizations are working to change this narrative. The loss of a child at any stage is devastating and it is important for parents’ health and emotional well-being to access the services they need to support them in their grief and let them know they are not alone.

November is National Children’s Grief and Awareness month, dedicated to supporting children in their grief and educating and empowering their caregivers, whether it be parents, extended family members, teachers, or coaches. We often worry about being honest and open with children when it comes to death and dying because we fear what their reaction might be. Caregivers’ natural instinct is to protect or shield, but research shows that everyone in the family does better when family members talk openly with each other because honesty builds safety, security, and trust. Children are inherently resilient and often understand and can handle more than we think. We can be the models for our children in coping with grief, inviting them to share their story, acknowledging that all feelings are valid, and engaging them in grief support programs.

In honor of National Children’s Grief and Awareness month, we invited a member of the COPE community and a Camp Erin NYC alumnus to share some reflections on her grief experience. 

Click here to read her reflections.

At COPE we hope to support all members of our community through our own programming, including our Teen Support Group or Camp Erin NYC, or referrals to other local organizations. Please contact our Clinical Director, Claire Sharkey, LCSW, at claire@copefoundation.org or T: 212-574-0540 for support and explore our resources page on our website www.copefoundation.org/grief-resources/.

We have also included a few of these resources below to support the bereaved children in your life or for those coping with a pregnancy or infant loss.

March of Dimes: https://www.marchofdimes.org/index.aspx 

Star Legacy Foundation: https://starlegacyfoundation.org/ 

Pregnancy Loss Support Program: https://www.pregnancyloss.org/ 

National Alliance for Children’s Grief: https://childrengrieve.org/awareness/children-s-grief-awareness 

The Dougy Center: https://www.dougy.org/ 

Eluna Network: https://elunanetwork.org/