October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

United Church to host service of remembrance, Oct. 15

Submitted by Pam Miller

It is estimated that one of every four pregnancies will end in a loss.  About 37,000 soon-to-be-parents lose their baby along the way each year in Ontario and as many as one in three women will lose a pregnancy in her lifetime.  Many of them struggle with a system that often lacks support and training, as well as families, friends and even health care providers who don’t know what to say.  Their grief is compounded by a lack of answers and insufficient research to provide them.  The stigma in talking about such a tragic event, has until now been concealed under a veil of silence. 

Pregnancy loss, whether at a few weeks or full term, is one of the last taboos of women’s health care.  It’s still considered normal not to announce pregnancies for 12 weeks – just in case- but even such early losses can have long-lasting psychological and physical effects.  The numbers of woman, men and families (including children) who suffer from this undeniable grief and have had to ‘remain silent’, ‘move on’, ‘forget it ever happened’, ‘have another one’, etc., is monumental.

Often a child’s first exposure to death is through baby loss, the loss of a sibling, a cousin or a family friend’s anticipated Baby.  Siblings often suffer a double loss as their parent’s emotional support may not be as readily available to them as they cope with the tragedy of losing a baby or pregnancy.

In Canada, it was not until December 2015 that The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Research, Support and Care Act (Bill 141) was passed.   This Act requires the provincial Ministry of Health to conduct research into causes of pregnancy loss and to develop programs for families affected by pregnancy loss and infant death. October 15th has been declared Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.  This day is observed with remembrance ceremonies and candle lighting vigils.

On October 15th, The International Wave of Light invites participants from around the world to light a candle starting at 7:00 p.m. and leave it burning for an hour.  The result is a continuous chain of light spanning the globe for a 24 hours period in honour and remembrance of the children who die during pregnancy or after birth.   We invite you to participate in this activity and join a community of people remembering their babies.

We will be holding a Service of Remembrance on October 15th at the First United Church beginning at 7 p.m.  We are inviting all those who have been affected in someway by this loss to join us in remembering our babies.

Pam Miller, Grandmother of Lennox John Joseph Miller-Roussin, born still on October 8th, 2015.    

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