As many of you know, I am a mother of pregnancy loss and many of my family members, including my sister is a parent of infant loss. Stillbirth is still a very taboo topic and awareness needs to be spread about it. Many people are still not familiar with the term and instead, refer to it as miscarriage.
What is a stillbirth?
A stillbirth is defined as the birth of an infant that has died in the womb, after having survived through at least the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. According to national vital statistics reports, stillbirth effects approximately 1% of all pregnancies, and each year about 24,000 babies are stillborn in the United States. CDC
Why is spreading stillbirth awareness important to me?
My son Carmelo Sebastian, the name and inspiration behind Melo and Me Photography, passed away in the womb at 33 weeks 4 days. Medical professionals suspected Melo’s death was due to Trisomy 18 or 21. However, many medical professionals remain puzzled about the causes of other stillbirths. Although stillbirth can affect any mother, regardless of ethnicity, and age, some women are more at risk than others.
Factors that may increase the risk of stillbirth are:CDC
- women ages 35 or older
- women who smoke cigarettes while pregnant
- medical conditions (eg: diabetes or high blood pressure)
- previous pregnancy loss
- multiple pregnancies
However, despite knowing factors that may increase the risks, more research needs to be done. For women like me, who’ve experienced stillbirths, I find it extremely upsetting that professionals have not included other factors (such as: pharmaceuticals) into their studies. I’m even more disappointed that many people are not aware of it at all. Shortly after Carmelo’s death, I notified my insurance provider to let them know that he had passed away. At that time I realized just how taboo it’s viewed as. I had to repetitively explain to the representative that my son did not have a birth certificate and why.
The bottom line is this —mothers of angel babies have a right to ask questions. We have the right to raise awareness about our losses, and encourage each other to speak up about topics like infant and pregnancy loss.
Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day
Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day is October 15th, please consider lighting a candle. You can also show your support to Moms and Dads by donating to nonprofit organizations like M.E.N.D.. MEND provides support and counseling to parents who’ve experienced infant or pregnancy loss. Melo and Me Photography has decided to donate two portrait sessions to M.E.N.D. Houston’s “A Walk to Remember” on October 15, 2016, in Carmelo’s memory.
If you are a parent of neonatal loss, and would like to attend a grief support group or counseling, please visit http://www.mend.org/. You may also show your support of Angel Parents by donating to organizations such as M.E.N.D. by clicking here or by visiting http://www.mend.org/donate-online/
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! I would greatly appreciate you sharing this blog post and our Facebook post with your friends.