October is widely recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. What many people don’t know is that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, as proclaimed by President Reagan in 1988.
Each year in the United States, more than six out of every 1,000 births result in a still birth or newborn death, and many more babies are lost to miscarriage before the 20th week of pregnancy. The grief that the bereaved parents experience following these losses are profound, yet is often misunderstood and discounted by those who have not been there.
Oct. 15 has been officially recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. At 7 p.m. local time next Sunday, thousands of people across the country will light a candle to remember these lost, but never forgotten children. I will be joining them.
My daughter, Madison, was born June 29 at only 27 weeks gestation, and died July 27. To honor her memory, I hope to help other bereaved families find the support and comfort they need, and to help the outside world understand why this is so important. For more information, please visit www.october15th.com.