The Southern Tier Walks to Remember Infant Loss
On October 25, 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed that the whole month of October should be known as ‘Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.’ On that day, President Reagan stated,
"When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them. This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.
Robyn Bear had six first trimester miscarriages before giving birth to three beautiful children. Lisa Brown suffered the loss of two babies, one at 4 1/2 weeks in utero and another who died at 17 weeks in utero. Tammy Novak also suffered loss. Each of these mothers decided that they weren't going to forget the babies they lost or the pain they continued to live with and so in 2002, all three women petitioned the federal government along with the governors of each of the 50 states and requested that October 15th should officially be recognized as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. That year, 20 states signed proclamations supporting the date. By 2016, all 50 states had agreed to yearly proclamations, with Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, New York, Rhode Island, and South Dakota adopting permanent proclamations.
According to Hiring for Hope, 90,000 children die each and every year in the United States before they're even able to turn a year old. S.I.D.S. claims the lives of nearly 2,500 babies every year. In the United States, nearly 30,000 babies a year are born stillborn. Tragically, almost 20% of all clinically recognized pregnancies end in miscarriage year after year. Adding to the devastating loss is the financial cost.
The average cost to bury a child is $10,000 and yet the average American household income is roughly $50,000 a year.
When a child passes away, it doesn't matter how old they were or how it happened, the loss is equally devastating and is something that parents and other family members must live with for the rest of their lives. Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day are aimed at embracing those grieving a loss and others who are trying to understand and comfort.
On Saturday, October 6, 2018 United Health Services, in conjunction with the Perinatal, Infant and Child Bereavement Network, will host 'A Walk to Remember' as a way for our community to come together and support each other as we grieve and remember life, no matter how long or how short it may have been.
'A Walk to Remember' will step off at 11 a.m. at the Vestal Coal House on the Vestal Rail Trail, at 204 Stage Road in Vestal. Registration is suggested but not required. If you'd like to register for the walk, you can do so here. During the event, there will be a butterfly release, rock painting, and a resource table.
The walk length will be a quarter of a mile and will be dedicated to all of the precious angels who have died each year through ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. The entire community is invited to participate, whether you are a grieving parent, family member, friend, caregiver, or even a compassionate stranger.