Loss & Grief: We’re Not Alone


Zealan Munsey, Photographer

While any loss of any family member is unimaginable, it seems to be that for those parents who lose a child during pregnancy or infancy, it’s the hardest thing ever. It affects the siblings and other family members, too. They’re left wondering, “What would it have been like to see them grow up?”

On Oct. 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. On Sept. 28, 2006, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day was made official and is to be on Oct. 15 annually.

On July 14, 2011, when I was 3, my brother Jedidiah (or Jed as I call him usually), was stillborn. It was due to the umbilical cord wrapping around his neck during childbirth. My parents were 27 at the time and had just got an “ok” for a space for a coffee shop, their dream. When you think about it, parents prepare for 9 months for their child and change their life accordingly during that time. When Jed was born already passed away, it affected them deeply, and they dropped the coffee business.

A year or so later, my mom experienced a miscarriage with my would-be sister, Hope. While miscarriages are dealt with in varying levels due to how long it is into the pregnancy or whatever reasons, it was hard as it was just continuing not being able to have a second child and a sibling for me. 

In 2017, my parents restarted their coffee business goals, creating Jedidiah Coffee during our 3 years living back in Northeast Texas (I was born there but grew up in SoCal). In this way, my little brother lives in our hearts every day. I carry his name too, on my necklace, one of my prized possessions.

This article isn’t just to make it known that the loss of youth is a big deal for families, but to show how you can help friends and family dealing with the loss during pregnancy or infancy of a sibling, cousin, grandchild, child, and more, or if it’s you that’s experiencing that type of loss. Just remember, you’re not alone.

Here are some tips on how to help someone get through loss in general, including pregnancy and infant loss.

  • Don’t ignore it, say some encouraging words

People tend to think that others want to be left alone in times like this, but at least in my experience, it’s just the opposite. Sometimes all that person needs is acknowledgment and to know people have their back. Not saying something makes it worse, as they tend to feel all alone. You can’t make up for that loss, but you can help them through it. If you don’t know how to address it, you can at the very least give them a hug and let them know you feel for them.

  • Don’t downplay it

Everyone has different ways of grieving. Some act like they don’t care (or maybe they really don’t, and if they make that very clear, then yes, don’t make it a big deal), and some don’t hide their feelings. Just make sure you treat it carefully from the get-go, and even if the person jokes about it (because sometimes humor, even if dark and weird, is how people get through things), don’t joke about it yourself, as you can go too far, and why do it in the first place anyways? You may think, well, they didn’t know that person that passed well. Maybe it was a stillbirth (a child that is born despite dying during pregnancy or the act of birth) of a family member or the passing of an old grandpa that they weren’t close to, but never assume that it’s not a big deal to them.

  • Be a good listener

If the world could just be good at listening to one another, we’d be way better off. Make sure you truly listen to what they’re saying. This goes for everything in life, but with loss, it’s super important. Let them know they’re heard and seen. 

Here are some tips if you’re going through a loss yourself:

  • Don’t close yourself off from others; it’ll only make things worse mentally
  • Know your lost loved ones are watching down on you
  • Remember that the people around you have your back

Just know you can make it. If someone’s going through loss, be a brother/sister and help them out. We’re all family. If we stick together, we got it.

To everyone experiencing loss, know at least I have you in mind and rest in peace to your loved ones.