What You Can Do This Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

This month, Benefis is honoring all the parents who never got to bring their babies home, for what was lost, and for all the what-might-have-beens. 
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, when we honor that “there is no footprint so small that it cannot leave an imprint on our hearts.” Saturday, Oct. 15, is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 
We extend our deepest sympathies to all who have lost a pregnancy or infant; for our Obstetrics Unit, it is heartbreaking and an honor to walk that journey at patients' sides. 
Donors to Benefis Foundation’s Mickealson Stillborn Fund support families through these losses. The fund was created to provide comfort and information to families who have experienced the loss of a baby who is stillborn. To contribute, visit Benefis.org/give or call the Foundation at (406) 455-5840.
If you are grieving, please be kind to yourself. This month represents an opportunity to share your story with others going through similar losses, to memorialize your baby, or to remember in whatever way suits you and your family. When you're ready, reach out for help. There are resources available.
If someone you love is grieving, please honor their loss. Some ways you can show your support are:
  • Offering space to talk about their baby.
  • Sending a kind note and/or a treat like flowers, a massage gift certificate, or a coffee.
  • Text that you're thinking of them and keep checking in.
  • Use the baby's name.
  • Recognize that the loss affected other members of the family, too.
  • Remember to mark on your calendar and reach out on special dates, like the due date.
  • Offer to help with specific tasks like laundry, meals, or babysitting siblings.
  • Be flexible if your co-workers are coping with this loss.
  • Above all, take their lead in how they want to handle their loss.
  • Click here for more advice from the Star Legacy Foundation.
Avoid minimizing their loss, ignoring what they’re going through, or asking when they’ll try again. 
Kristen Srna, manager of the Benefis Obstetrics Unit, recommends that if you start a sentence with "at least...," you're probably on the wrong track in this situation.
"Unfortunately, a lot of families go through loss. When we provide care for them, we want them to lead, and  we also want to acknowledge it's a valid experience they're going through," she said. "Acknowledging people's loss is very important, and so is supporting them in the way they want to be supported, which can be tricky because everyone deals with grief in their own way at their own pace." They encourage a very gentle approach and to let the family guide the care. 
"If they want the baby in their room the entire time, we support that," Kristen said. "We provide them with a memory box and birth record for their child -- it's a birth, and it should be recognized as such."
Another priority is lining up care for the moment and going forward. The family is offered chaplain services, and our perinatal counselor provides services for up to a year after the loss, whether that loss was in Labor and Delivery, the Emergency Department, at home, or wherever. 

Kristen found out her grandmother had a miscarriage and she acted like no one was supposed to know. 
"It's not a shameful thing. It's not something we have to hide," Kristen said. "This happens to a large number of people."