Each year, October is recognized as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Too many couples grieve the loss of a baby alone, never coming to terms with their loss. Lifetime observes this month with respect and sensitivity.
Keep reading to learn more about the history of National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and to discover how you’ll know if you’re ready to turn to adoption.
In 1988, President Reagan founded National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, and said, “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.”
Family members and close friends may have a difficult time knowing how to support those who are grieving a miscarriage or infant loss. They’re not aware of the pain of losing a much-wanted pregnancy or child. Family and friends mean well, but they might be unsure of what to say. So, they say very few words or nothing at all. Others wonder when they can ask if the couple is ready to turn to adoption after dealing with infertility. It’s a sensitive topic to bring up when the couple continues to grieve the loss of a child.
How do you know when the time is right to move from loss to the call to adopt? The answer is going to be different for every couple. Our Founder and CEO, Mardie Caldwell, endured seven pregnancy losses before becoming a mom through adoption. Mardie shares that the time came when she realized that she wanted to be a mom more than she wanted to have a biological child. And, adoption could make her dream of becoming a mom happen.
“You see, choosing adoption doesn’t have to mean giving up on being pregnant. I just knew that I was ready to be a mommy and God was leading me toward the dream down a different road…Spend time together talking and praying about what each of you wants for your family. Adoption doesn’t have to be closing the door on pregnancy, just be sure you know how your adoption professional feels about a pregnancy while adopting. At our center, we will place your file on hold during this time and start up again when so advised,” says Mardie.
From time to time, Lifetime encounters those who hurry into adoption without taking the time to grieve a miscarriage or infant loss. In doing so, they might put an adoption opportunity at risk (or worse, treat their adopted child as second best to the child or daughter they might have had biologically.)
Before you can successfully adopt a baby, it’s important to accept your infertility. Pray for the right answer; this will take some time. Move at whatever pace is best, but realize that the longer you wait, the more you delay the precious time you could have with the child God has meant for your family!
As the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Lifetime Adoption, Heather Featherston holds an MBA and is passionate about working with those facing adoption, pregnancy, and parenting issues. Heather has conducted training for birth parent advocates, spoken to professional groups, and has appeared on television and radio to discuss the multiple aspects of adoption. She has provided one-on-one support to women and hopeful adoptive parents working through adoption decisions.
Since 2002, she has been helping pregnant women and others in crisis to learn more about adoption. Heather also trains and speaks nationwide to pregnancy clinics to effectively meet the needs of women who want to explore adoption for their child. Today, she continues to address the concerns women have about adoption and supports the needs of women who choose adoption for their child.
As a published author of the book Called to Adoption, Featherston loves to see God’s hand at work every day as she helps children and families come together through adoption.