Did you know that October 15th was International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day? Not likely! While President Ronald Reagan, back in 1988, proclaimed the entire month of October acknowledging these deaths it wasn’t until 2006 that the House of Representatives passed a resolution designating October 15 as a day of remembrance for perinatal death. Now it is also observed in the UK, Norway, Italy, Kenya and Australia.
Coincidentally, October 15 was the day Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their pregnancy causing an outpouring of criticism for their “insensitivity”. It is probable that they too were unaware of this day of remembrance.
In the past parents commonly experienced “disenfranchised grief” whereby their grief was not acknowledged or supported. All too often a couple might have heard the words, “Well, you’re young, you’ll have another.”
Today there is recognition that all loss or change must be grieved in order to heal.
Today there is bereavement training for professionals who interact with the parents.
Today hospitals have set up procedures to support and counsel the parents.
Today rituals are offered to parents to help the grieving process. They range from holding the baby, taking photos, clipping a lock of hair and making footprints or handprints. Recognizing the need for parents to be with their baby Cuddle Cots can extend the time permissible.
REMEMBER it’s important to acknowledge the death of someone who has been loved.