Each year, over 700,000 women experience pregnancy loss; 26,000 of them lose their babies after the sixth month of pregnancy, and 20,000 babies die, every year, in their first month of life. My baby was one of those numbers.
My son Matthew Liam Rupe was born premature at just 22 weeks on March 19, 2004. He passed away on my chest on March 21, 2004. He weighed 15.6 ounces and was 10 inches long. My beautiful tiny son. Our family now walks every year in the March for Babies in honor of his short life and babies like him.
Pregnancy/infant loss is more common than I ever imagined, and it does not discriminate. It affects women of all ages, of all races, of all walks of life. It’s not just something that happens to “other people,” it can happen to anyone. Hundreds of thousands of women go through the death of their child every year, yet no one talks about it. Because it’s become such a taboo, “hush-hush” subject in our society, women are often forced to suffer in silence. Alone. We’re told to “get over it,” or “try again,” but I can tell you from experience, losing your baby is not something you just “move on” from.
It’s impossible to move forward and heal without talking about the experience, and without the support of others. I have shared my story on a recently launched website called Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope (www.facesofloss.com). On this site, hundreds of women, like me, are sharing their stories of pregnancy/infant loss, along with a picture of their face. Each story is categorized by type and stage of loss, subject, and city/state, so that other women who have recently experienced a loss can find stories similar to their own. So that they can know they are not alone. It is our hope that by telling our stories, and showing our faces to the world, taboos will be broken, lines of communication will be opened, and healing can begin for the 85 women in this country who go through the pain of finding out their child has died, every hour, of every single day.
October 15 is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day. I ask that you do a story on or around this day to help us spread the word and let women know they are not alone. I ask that you help us give them a voice and a chance to share their stories with the world. One in every four women will experience pregnancy/infant loss at some time in their life. Even if some don’t end up experiencing it themselves, someone they know — their friend, their sister, their coworker — will. This is a story that is incredibly relevant, and incredibly needed for everyone. Thank you for your time and consideration.
Gallia County, Ohio