Infant Death is, Unfortunately, More Common Than You Think
Dealing with death at any stage, or any age is difficult, but when thinking of death most people’s minds automatically jump to later life stages. Nobody expects to lose child hours, days, months after they are born, or even before you’re able to hold them. Infant death is a reality, and it happens more often than we think. According to the CDC, the infant mortality rate is over 6.15 deaths per 1000 live births per year. This number doesn’t even account for miscarriages or stillbirths that occur daily.
Death of a child is a horrid thought, which is why the topic has become so “taboo” in our culture, but the more we talk about it the more we see how many people that we’re connected to have dealt with this as well.
My first experience with infant death was my first experience with death. I was six, a big sister to a three-year-old, and excited for my younger brother to make his appearance. My memory from this time period is hit and miss, but one thing that I do know is that my brother has never been forgotten. Since then I have dealt with the loss of my niece and had my own traumatic experience with my daughter being in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. From all of these experiences, I have learned a few things–I have learned that bringing a healthy life into this world truly is a miracle, it is difficult and there are many times you can do everything right and everything can go wrong. I have also learned that we need to talk to heal and remember these lives that have touched our soul, even if it was for just a brief moment, they have made a difference in our worlds.
My hope for you as you follow this blog is to grasp a greater understanding of infant death, to not fear away from the topic and to celebrate the lives that have been and will be.
Cassie is a grief facilitator with the Open Arms Support Group. This support group is for families who have experienced the loss of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or shortly after birth.
These blogs were written by members of the CHI Health Behavioral Care team.