Losing a loved one is never easy, but those dealing with the loss of a pregnancy or very young infant face their own set of challenges. While it's always appropriate to honor this grief, there is a specific day dedicated to recognizing one's loss. National Pregnancy And Infant Loss Remembrance Day acknowledges an important (although incredibly difficult) type of loss that many people have to face.
Each year, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is observed on October 15 in many countries all around the world. It occurs during October because this is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, according to National Day Calendar, and specifically commemorates those who who suffered a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. On October 15, 1988, President Ronald Reagan declared the first Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with these words:
“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. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.
Although so much about the world has changed since 1988, the feelings of intense loss that sometimes get overlooked by others still haunt those affected by miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant death. It's an incredibly difficult topic, to be sure, but one that deserves more attention and concern.
There are so many ways that people who have suffered this type of loss, as well as those who support them, can make their voices heard this October. For instance, hashtags such as #neverbestill circulate throughout social media, inviting anyone to share their story with this particular type of loss on a public forum. Organizations such as the Village of Valley Stream even light up their buildings pink and blue in support of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month, as @StarLegacyNYM's tweet shows above. Raising awareness about the commonplace issue of infant loss, as well as giving a voice to the grieving, are two of the biggest goals.
In addition to the entire month, October 15 is set aside as a day to specifically commemorate and support those who have lost children far too young. Even if you haven't had to face this particular type of loss, there are still ways to show your support for others. For instance, you can join the International Wave of Light by lighting a candle in honor of all babies who have passed too soon, according to the Star Legacy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to stillbirth prevention and the support of healthy pregnancies. If you would like to get more involved, the Star Legacy Foundation has plenty of resources for volunteers, whether you're interested in attending an event or joining a local chapter. On a more personal side, you could reach out to any loved one who has experienced this loss to to show your support. It's a difficult topic, to be sure, but the National Pregnancy And Infant Loss Remembrance Day is so important to families the world over.