SHARE Atlanta - Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support

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October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss
Awareness Month

Much of this is included in the SHARE Atlanta brochure on "October is Loss Awareness" by Marcia McGinnis

Proclaimed by President Reagan in 1988

Christine Reagan,
President Reagan's premature child,
died shortly after being born, on June 26, 1947...
we remember her here, as well as all of our children...

Summary of History by Marcia McGinnis, Fall 2003

  • Proclaimed by President Reagan in 1988

  • It took six years of educating politicians and society to make this happen.

  • Why? Pregnancy and Infant Loss is not a topic that is easily understood. Birth and death should not happen at the same time. When it does, there is denial about the significance of the death because of the short time of the presence of the life. In this denial, parents are asked to “move on” before they have had time to heal.

  • Why? Many doctors as well as society in general, who support life, find it very difficult to fully comprehend the number of babies that die and the resulting heartbreak that families endure.

  • 26,000 stillbirths occur per year.

  • An estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies ends in miscarriage - some doctors associated with March of Dimes state 50% of pregnancies end in miscarriage.)

  • 19, 000 newborns die during the first month.

  • 460,000 babies in the U.S. are born too soon every year, some so small they must fight to survive

    Death happens...parents and families grieve. Advocacy for emotional support and outreach was and still is needed. (These estimates are based on statistics derived from a combination of March of Dimes statistical information and the last study done by Allen Wilcox, MD, New England Journal of Medicine, July 28, 1998)

  • What? We have to focus on grieving, healing, and continuing our life in a meaningful manner to honor our baby’s memory. Being aware of the issues and advocacy of these issues can be an important part of healing. Advocacy is necessary for prevention to decrease the number of deaths as well as for understanding the importance of emotional support for gradual healing.

    "Why Have an Awareness Month?

    Because life, even the tiniest life, is special
    Because life, even the tiniest life, must be remembered
    Because parents want to remember
    Because grieving parents need sensitive doctors, nurses, clergy, funeral directors and families
    Because the larger community needs to be reminded that infant losses occur often
    Because the larger community needs to know how to help grieving families
    Because the larger community needs to be reminded that life, even the tiniest life, is special"

    As written in the "The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Center's Loving Arms" newsletter (Fall '84, Aug./Sept. '91)

    "Planning and attending October Awareness Month activities is a great comfort for many.

    It assures us that our babies are not forgotten. In raising Awareness we are helping the bereaved parents who will follow us on our grief journey. What a wonderful way to honor the memory of our special babies."

    Taken from Hannah's Prayer Website and agreed with by those of us at SHARE Atlanta!

    The articles below were taken from Hannah's Prayer as reported on their October Awareness Page...thanks to them (Special thanks to Donna Roehl whose research through several back issues of the Loving Arms newsletter made it possible to share much of the information about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and the history of this event that is presented on this web page.) for researching the details(in writing!) of what we have known to be true for so long!!

    "Director's Column" by Susan Erling

    Loving Arms Newsletter

    "Big News! We have secured the Presidential Proclamation, declaring October, 1988 as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. This unified, two-year effort has produced the rewards we all had hoped it would by affording this cause top recognition and acclaim. At PILC, we plan to use the proclamation throughout the upcoming year to promote further awareness and activities."

    "After six years of work, educating, enlightening, and supporting each other, this Presidential Proclamation is an impressive pat on the back for each of us. Personally, I would like to extend a respectful thank you to Ronda Brown and Sherokee Ilse who worked diligently on this effort, to Minnesota Senator Rudy Boschwitz, to Pennsylvania Congressman Bud Shuster, and to all the legislators, groups, and individuals who made this success story a reality.Thank you!"

    "In fact, the history of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness goes back even farther than 1988. In a 1984 issue of Loving Arms it was stated that Minnesota "Governor Rudy Perpich will officially declare the week of October 1-7 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Week."

    Stopping the Loss: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Menu

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