October may mean something different to many of people.
Maybe it’s decorating for Halloween, pumpkin spice everything, or creating massive piles of fall leaves that are hard to resist jumping in to. What is probably less common, though, is associating October with the fact it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
In October 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated the entire month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Later in 2002, a group of women successfully petitioned the federal government, as well as the governors of each of the 50 states, to observe Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th of each year. It is a day of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death which includes, but is not limited to, miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS or the death of a newborn.
Each year, approximately one million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of a newborn baby. Most miscarriages occur early on in a pregnancy. While there are many miscarriage causes, the most common is a genetic error during the first few days after conception. However, losing a child later in a pregnancy or after birth is significantly harder for parents.
Parents who lose babies usually feel alone. Health care practitioners often are not well trained in dealing with a patient’s loss. Treatment for mothers generally ends once the physical symptoms of loss have abated. Friends and family may not know how to help.
Too many families grieve in silence, sometimes never coming to terms with their loss.
Unlike the terms “widow” and “orphan,” no one word describes a woman or parent who has lost a child. Without a simple term, the loss often goes unsaid. Unless you wear a T-shirt emblazoned with your children’s names or tattoo them on your wrist, you rarely speak their names aloud no matter how much you need or want to tell others. And for women who have struggled with pregnancy loss, there seems even less place to mention the love they feel for babies they will never have.
If you or someone you know has suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss due to SIDS/SUID, prematurity or other cause, we hope you will join us in this national tribute to create awareness of these tragic infant deaths and provide support to those that are suffering. Each year this day is observed with remembrance ceremonies and candle-lighting vigils. Traditionally, at 7:00 pm in all timezones, families around the world will light candles (and leave the candle burning for at least an hour) in memory of all the precious babies who have been lost during pregnancy or in infancy. On social media you can use #PregnancyAndInfantLossRemembranceDay when posting your remembrance or tribute.
Locally, there are several events you can participate in as a way to honor loved ones. In Lafayette, Maddie’s Footprints is gearing up for its Eighth Annual Footprints Forever 5K Fun Run/Walk on Saturday morning, October 14th. Footprints Forever has become a signature Maddie’s Footprints event as it unites family and friends to celebrate the life of a child. The event includes a one mile and 5K fun run/walk but also activities for children, music, food, beverages and a remembrance ceremony.
In Baton Rouge, Anna’s Grace Foundation, with support from Ainsley’s Angels – Support For Infant Loss, and Angels Among Us, will sponsor A Walk to Remember on October 15th at the Main Library at Goodwood. Please visit https://