The provincial government of British Columbia, the Cities of Victoria, Vancouver, Richmond, Courtenay, Campbell River and the District of Saanich have all proclaimed October 15, 2014 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. The day has been recognized in the United States since 2006 while a federal recognition in Canada has not been realized yet. In addition to BC, Manitoba, Northwest Territories and Saskatchewan officially recognized the day in 2014.
This recognition is vital to raise awareness about miscarriage, stillbirth and the death of infants during delivery or shortly after birth – issues that affect many families in this province. In the first half of 2012 alone BC Vital Statistics Agency reports 220 stillbirths and 79 infant deaths in this province. These statistics do not include the high number of miscarriages that occur before 20 weeks of pregnancy. The death of a baby is a devastating tragedy that profoundly affects parents, grandparents, siblings and other family members.
“The death of a baby is a unique trauma” says Jens Locher, founder of the BC Childloss Support Network and creator of the website www.october15.ca. The site provides resources to support bereaved parents and showcases many initiatives and events organized with regard to Pregnancy and Infant Loss across Canada. “In my experience, it makes a positive difference for many bereaved parents to be able to connect with other families who experienced a loss of a child. Our goal is to form communities of support and to improve the resources available to bereaved families.” says Locher.
Vancouver will join other major Canadian cities in supporting the awareness campaign. BC Place Stadium and Telus World of Science will light up in pink and blue on October 15 to honor and remember the children who have died far too early. The day provides an opportunity for everyone to reach out in a sensitive way to friends or colleagues who have lost a child. Sending a little note that a candle will be lit in memory of a child, or mentioning their names are just two ways to remember the children.
At 7pm local time on October 15 people all over the world will light candles in memory of their beloved children. Due to different time zones this will form a continuous wave of light going around the Earth. Everyone is invited to participate in this activity and to join a community of families remembering their babies.