Help for Pregnancy and Infant Loss

by K-Berens
a baby's crib that is empty

Remembering our Babies gives parents help in coping with the grief of losing a stillborn child or infant.

Stillbirths and miscarriages are one of the most painful experiences for families expecting a new child in their lives. Approximately 26,000 stillbirths occur in the United States every year – on average, 1 in 115 births. Governments in the United States, Canada, Australia and Italy have formally recognized the annual date of October 15th to observe International Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

Robyn Bear, founder and president of rememberingourbabies.net, is no stranger to the painful loss of a child. After suffering six miscarriages, Bear had the idea to campaign for a day devoted to remembrance.

“I believe it may have been around Memorial Day 1999 or 2000 when I was driving and I just looked at my husband and said there should be a day of remembrance for pregnancy and infant loss. He agreed,” said Bear, “I then called one of my friends, Lisa Brown (co-founder and vice president of rememberingourbabies.net), and told her my idea. She was immediately on board.”

“This movement gave my grief a purpose,” said Brown, “I had so much anger and energy inside of me.”

The date of October 15th was chosen by the two, said Bear, for the date Brown’s child, Jackson, was born still. Bear said October was chosen initially for a 1988 proclamation by President Ronald Reagan, stating that Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month would be observed at that time.

Since the beginning of the idea, the duo have been campaigning tirelessly to push their cause into the the public eye.

“We began by having a network of volunteers, one from each state, to achieve a proclamation from every Governor in the USA,” said Bear, “Once that was achieved, which took several years, a lot of letter writing and a lot of support from volunteers, we were able to go to the House of Representatives (in 2006) and make it permanent.”

Bear encourages everyone to observe the full month of October devoted to this cause. Her website, october15th.com, posts every known public ceremony, walk and event within every major city and community. However, she does encourage that the date of October 15th be observed in a special way.

“On October 15th, we ask every one to light a candle at 7 p.m. in their time zone all over the world,” said Bear.

In addition to the devotion of a month to their cause, the two friends also have a website with a wide spectrum of memorial keepsakes for people to show their support and to bring awareness to their cause. Amongst the large variety of high-quality memorial keepsakes are the necklaces, which Bear says are the most popular.

“We have so many different designs that can be engraved, hand stamped or made from clay through sculpting,” said Bear, “I believe these are the most popular because they lay close to the mama’s heart.”

Bear, who has three daughters aged 13 and twins at 10, acknowledges the feelings expecting mothers may have during their pregnancy.

“Honestly, there is no cure for the anxiety, especially for mothers who have already lost a baby,” Bear said, “The waiting and worrying especially after you have already had a miscarriage is very hard to deal with.”

However, her involvement in this movement has helped her cope with her grief.

“I buried myself into the October 15th mission which, honestly, saved my life,” said Bear, “I would imagine if you asked other women, they would say it gave them peace to know that on that month and that certain day, people actually acknowledge the losses so many of us go through.”

“Shared grief is shared healing,” adds Brown, “I believe that October 15th has absolutely made a difference to more than thousands of families.”

Brown emphasized their collaborative efforts with other groups and movements, and mentions the upcoming film Return To Zero, based on a true-life story about a couple coping with the grief of their stillborn child.

Bear has also compiled a book of stories from women who had these losses. The book, Pain Heartache and Hope is available for a free download.

For more information about Robyn and Lisa, October 15th, their memorial boutique and for help with coping with grief please look at these links:

http://www.october15th.com/

http://www.rememberingourbabies.net/

https://www.facebook.com/RememberingOurBabies

http://www.returntozerothemovie.com/

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