Connecting Moms and Hearts
Did you know that approximately 5 in 1,000 babies suffer from a neonatal death in the United States? This number may seem small, but 1% of families each year are suffering from an infant loss. October is Infant Loss Awareness Month that raises awareness of infant illnesses such as preterm labor, life-limiting conditions at birth or even sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
Experiencing the loss of a pregnancy, infant, or child brings unimaginable pain, grief, and isolation to the parents and family. Non-judgmental support, information, and connection with others should always be readily available and communicated to all parents going through this hardship.
St. Clair Health’s Women and Children Services department is dedicated to supporting moms and their family through every stage of life. St. Clair partners with a local non-profit organization, The Little Fox – Toby’s Foundation, to provide support and resources for grieving families.
The Little Fox Foundation was founded by a local Pittsburgh family that lost their infant. “Our son, Toby, died at 12 weeks old from SIDS. He was a healthy, thriving, happy baby boy who went down for a nap on August 24, 2016, and didn’t wake up. We have been participating in and hosting events, through Toby’s Foundation, for Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) awareness month since 2016 when we lost our son,” says Katie, Toby’s mother, Co-Founder of the Little Fox Foundation.
The Little Fox – Toby’s Foundation was created in memory of their son Toby, to support families who experience the death of a baby or infant and to also educate on the importance of safe sleep practices. Katie mentions, “In the first few months following Toby’s death, Dan, my husband, and I knew that more could and should be done to support and assist families who suffer loss.” Toby’s Foundation offers support services through workshops and connecting families with similar loss journeys together.
“Our main mission is to host retreats for parents, mothers, fathers, and siblings that offer workshops, healing practices, and ways to help with the day-to-day grief that we all experience after the death of a baby. We want the parents that have experienced loss (miscarriage, stillbirth, Termination for Medical Reasons (TFMR), or infant loss) to know that they are not alone and their children deserve to be celebrated,” says Katie.
St. Clair Health and The Little Fox Foundation is committed to our community and patients to make sure each family is receiving the help they need during and after a tragic loss.
Tips for Survivors: Coping With Pregnancy or Infant Loss
- Be gentle and kind to yourself.
- Consider “memory-making” with your baby.
- Take the time to process the loss.
- Do what feels right and take it one day at a time.
- Respect your partner’s way of grieving. We all grieve differently.
- Share your loss with others.
If you are a bereaved parent or grandparent who has experienced the death of a baby, please click here to find resources, organizations, articles and more that can be helpful for you, at any point of your grief journey.