In October of every year, we step back as a nation to take a moment and give space to mothers and families who are grieving from pregnancy or infant loss. National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day encourages us to show kindness and empathy to the hurting and raise a voice for families affected, so they will know they are not alone or forgotten.
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, also recognized by some as National Miscarriage Day, is recognized every year on October 15.
“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them,” President Ronald Reagan said in 1988 when he first declared October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. But community leaders later took it a step further by petitioning to create a special day of remembrance; National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Why was National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day started?
Roughly 10 to 15 in 100 pregnancies end in miscarriage, and approximately 24,000 babies are stillborn each year in the U.S. per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That is an overwhelming amount of grieving families.
Three miscarriage awareness activists, Robyn Bear, Lisa Brown, and Tammy Novak, came together to bring awareness to pregnancy and infant loss. Their goal was to have a specific day set aside during October to remember the lost babies and offer community support and advocacy to these families. In 2002, the day was established, but in 2006 it was officially passed by the House of Representatives as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
As a way to honor the day, on October 15 at 7 p.m., you can take part in the International Wave of Lights. During this time, you light a candle to honor the lost babies who are among the stars.
How to support grieving families in your community
One way to support a family who has experienced pregnancy or infant loss by memorializing their baby under the ‘Our Stars’ section on the Star Legacy Foundation website. There is also a #NeverBeStill campaign to remember all the lost babies.
- If you want to have a local proclamation in your city, you can send a request letter to your city officials. Having this day proclaimed will make the event official in your town and opens up further opportunities to raise awareness locally.
- If you personally know someone suffering from a loss, offer your friendship, resources, and a listening ear.
- Even if your friend is withdrawing and prefers to grieve in peace, you can still send them a message to express your support.
For all the families who have been affected by pregnancy and infant loss, there are no words that can take away the pain. But as you remember your babies, on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, people across the U.S. and Canada light a candle to remember them with you.
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