A number of provincial governments and many municipalities across Canada have proclaimed October 15, “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.”
Every year In Canada, over 2,500 babies are stillborn and over 1,700 do not reach their first birthday.
There are no precise statistics, but the number of children lost annually through miscarriages, stillbirths and infant death is believed to be in the thousands.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, (SOGC) estimates that between 15 to 20 percent of pregnancies end in miscarriage.
The SOGC is a professional health association, representing over 3,500 professionals working in the field of sexual and reproductive health, including obstetricians, gynaecologists, family physicians, nurses, midwives, and those providing related health services.
On October 15, communities across the country also hold a “Walk to Remember,” in recognition of parents’ loss due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS and the death of a newborn child.
This October, Peace River will join those communities and hold its first “Walk to Remember,” as part of the “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.”
The “Walk to Remember,” is also a means of dignifying the life of every baby, while encouraging community understanding and empathy regarding the grief and isolation families experience following the loss of a child.
Other primary objectives of the walk are to campaign for more research into the causes of miscarriages and infant death with the ultimate goal of implementing greater preventative measures, and to rally health services to provide support for parents who have lost a child.
Jamie Ellsworth, is the principal organizer of the Peace River’s first “Walk to Remember.”
“I got in contact with one of the organizers of “Tiny Hands of Hope,” who put on the first Grande Prairie “Walk to Remember” and through her guidance I organized, Peace River’s first “Walk to Remember,” says Ellsworth.
Ellsworth, who experienced a loss through stillbirth in 2014 and in January 2017 had a miscarriage, says that many people don’t know how to talk about this issue and someone who has never suffered this kind of loss does not know what to say to some who has. There needs to be a little more dialogue.
“If you haven’t had a loss, chances are you probably do know someone who did and you may not have known how to approach that,” she says.
While Peace River is a relatively small town, Ellsworth points out that it is a central hub for many communities in the Region from Sucker Creek, High Prairie up to Manning and all the way to Fairview and down to Guy.
“It is a very vast area. Peace River has on average about 400 deliveries a year and that is just live deliveries. It does not including all the miscarriages that come through here.”
So, it is appropriate that the Town of Peace River will join other municipalities across the country by formally declaring October 15 “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.”
The mayor of Peace River, Tom Tarpey, will sign that declaration on September 10 with some of the “Walk to Remember” organizers present.
The “Walk to Remember” begins at 1pm on October 15 in front of the Peace River Museum and concludes with a bubble release at River Front Part.
Another integral aspect of “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day,” is participation in the International Wave of Light.
The International Wave of Light, invites people to light a candle at 7pm local time and to leave it burning for at least one hour in remembrance of babies who died too soon and to show solidarity with all those who have experienced loss in pregnancy, stillbirth, and infant death.
Contributing to the global “wave of light,” one can participate individually by lighting a candle at home or in a group environment.
For more information on the “Walk to Remember” call Jamie at 780-814-4406.