Losing an infant is extremely difficult. In an effort to raise awareness of such a highly sensitive and difficult topic, October was designated as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month back in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. Even in 2014, a person who experienced a miscarriage stated, “I can’t think of anything else that is so very common, yet nobody talks about it.” The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month strives to open discussion on very personal and challenging topics in a the death-avoidant culture in the hopes of breaking this taboo.
Although miscarriages make up the end of 1 in 5 clinically recognized pregnancies (15% to 20%), infant loss also accounts for stillbirths, ectopic pregnancies, death of a newborn and SIDS.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month does not limit itself to miscarriages. Although miscarriages make up the end of 1 in 5 clinically recognized pregnancies (15% to 20%), infant loss also accounts for stillbirths, ectopic pregnancies, death of a newborn and SIDS. Each year, in the United States alone, nearly 90,000 babies die before they turn one. Roughly 2,500 of them are lost to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). The highest global cause of infant death is stillbirth with nearly 4.5 million babies tragically born stillborn around the world each year.
Since 2006, October 15th has been recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day in the United States. Canada, the United Kingdom and the Australian States of Western Australia and New South Wales have all followed suit with instituting the day of remembrance through their own respective governments. On Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, people observe by holding remembrance ceremonies and candlelight vigils. The day ends with the International Wave of Light, a way for participants to light candles in honor of the day. The lighting of the candles commences at 7PM in each participating time zone. The candles are left to burn for at least an hour. The lingering light from the candles reflects as a beautiful remembrance and honoring of those infants lost either during pregnancy or shortly after birth.
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