Tuesday, October 15, 2013
National Pregnancy And Infant Loss Awareness Month
Most people know the month of October as breast cancer awareness month... but did you know it is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? In 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared the awareness month... Here is his speech, Proclamation 5890:
Each year, approximately a million pregnancies in the United States end in miscarriage, stillbirth, or the death of the newborn child. National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems. Health care professionals recognize that trends of recent years, such as smaller family size and the postponement of childbearing, adds another dimension of poignance to the grief of parents who have lost infants. More than 700 local, national, and international support groups are supplying programs and strategies designed to help parents cope with their loss. Parents who have suffered their own losses, health care professionals, and specially trained hospital staff members are helping newly bereaved parents deal constructively with loss. Compassionate Americans are also assisting women who suffer bereavement, guilt, and emotional and physical trauma that accompany post-abortion syndrome. We can and must do a much better job of encouraging adoption as an alternative to abortion; of helping the single parents who wish to raise their babies; and of offering friendship and temporal support to the courageous women and girls who give their children the gifts of life and loving adoptive parents. We can be truly grateful for the devotion and concern provided by all of these citizens, and we should offer them our cooperation and support as well. The Congress, by Senate Joint Resolution 314, has designated the month of October 1988 as "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month" and authorized and requested the President to issue a proclamation in observance of this month. Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October 1988 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities. In Witness Whereof, I have hereunto set my hand this twenty-fifth day of October, in the year of our Lord nineteen hundred and eighty-eight, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirteenth.RONALD REAGAN
It wasn't until 2006 that congress approved a proposal to make October 15th National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. That campaign began in 2002 by Robyn Bear, who after 5 miscarriages desired to raise awareness for those who had little to no support during their losses. With the help of Lisa Brown and Tammy Novak, they changed the way America thinks... or at least put it out there. Who says a few friends can't change the world?
With the help of the American campaign, Canada soon followed. In recent years, UK, Western Austrailia, New South Wales and Italy have recognized and instituted a holiday.
You can visit Robyn's website here.
That's a little history for you... and here are some more shocking facts.
1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriage. One in FOUR. That's astounding. Having three angel babies myself, sometimes it feels like even higher odds than that. I AM ONE IN FOUR. Are you? If you are, I want you to know that on this day I am specifically praying for you, as are countless other people reading this blog.
The goal of all of this? To let those know, who are suffering. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! You don't have to grieve in silence. You are a mother... whether your child is in your arms or in the arms of our Father in Heaven.
Although Pregnancy and Infant Awareness Day is not an international holiday, there is an international celebration of these little lives happening today! At 7:00 pm in every time zone, parents all over the world will be lighting candles in their children's honor. The idea is to have one continuous "wave of light" connecting all of us together over the entire world in love and support. The candles will burn for one hour.
We will be lighting three candles this evening... thinking about that seems like it is far too many. One would be too many, but here we are. Today, especially I find comfort in the community I have found through our losses... and knowing tonight, their candles will burn with mine.
On a side note, while sitting in my backyard a few days ago, I looked up and saw this:
Yes, my heart lies in Heaven... and in my mind, I could hear my three little children saying "Mommy! Look at the picture that God helped us draw for you!"
I love you my darlings, I miss you so.
Until we meet again,