This post originally shared on earthmamaorganics.com.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, was designated as the month of October by President Ronald Reagan on October 25, 1988. Baby Loss Awareness Week is commemorated October 9th through the 15th and October 15th is officially designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
In 2002, three women who had each suffered multiple miscarriages – Robyn Bear, Lisa Brown and Tammy Novak – petitioned the federal government and the governors of all 50 states to observe Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th. As of 2016 all 50 US States had yearly proclamations and the day is observed annually in Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Norway, Italy and Kenya as well as the US.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day was created to provide support, education and awareness for those who have suffered or may know someone who has suffered a miscarriage, an ectopic pregnancy, a stillbirth or the loss of an infant.
Light pink and baby blue are the official colors of the cause and are used on commemorative ribbons, pin badges and publicity to help build campaign awareness.
LOSS IS COMMON
Infant loss and miscarriage are more common than we generally believe. Between 10 and 20% of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, most of which occur within the first seven weeks. An ectopic pregnancy occurs in one of every 50 pregnancies. Stillbirth accounts for 1% of all pregnancies – approximately 24,000 babies a year – and is ten times more common than SIDS. About 3,500 babies die suddenly and unexpectedly in the US each year. In addition to SIDS, babies die in their first year of life because of congenital malformations, disorders related to short gestation, low birth weight and other causes. Over 23,000 infants died in the US in 2016.
According to the founders of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, too many families grieve in silence. The death of a baby is not a rare event; it could happen to anyone.
BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK
The purpose of Baby Loss Awareness Week is to call for tangible improvements in research, care and policy around bereavement support and to highlight bereavement support and services available for anyone affected by the death of a baby at any stage.
Here are some things you can do to commemorate Baby Loss Awareness Week and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
– Approach buildings and landmarks that illuminate at night and ask them to turn pink and blue throughout the week of October 9th to the 14th. Use this template of an inquiry as a guide.
– Ask local shop fronts or community wall spaces like a library, doctor’s office, hospital or work place to host a remembrance wall or display for Baby Loss Awareness Week.
– Organize or participate in a walk or ceremony on or around October 15th. Here are suggestions on things you can do.
– Check out the list of activities and walks in US states and Canada commemorating Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. You can join one of them or add your own activity to this list.
– A number of non-profits have awareness pin badges available for sale on their websites for Baby Loss Awareness Week as fundraisers for their organizations.
– Use collateral materials from Baby Loss Awareness Week to write a Tweet, create a Facebook post, or upload an Instagram image. Use the #babyloss hashtag. You can also post a web banner, or change your Facebook or Twitter cover photo for Baby Loss Awareness Week to one of these provided.
At 7PM (your local time) on October 15th, families around the world will join in remembering all babies who have died too soon by lighting a candle and leaving it burning for at least one hour, creating a global wave of light. This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space. If you have other children, involve them in the commemoration. You can join the virtual Wave of Light by taking a photo and posting it to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram using #WaveofLight at 7PM local time.
Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort is a site for mamas who have suffered the greatest loss. There you will find grief resources, support suggestions, and a safe space to honor grief and express loss. Healing Hearts Baby Loss Comfort also includes a companion Facebook community where women can hold each other’s grief, and offer comfort and guidance.