On Monday 15 October Australian bereaved parents will pause to remember their babies who’ve died, joining families from the United States, Canada, Norway, Italy and Kenya in observing International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
This annual day of remembrance is a significant one on Sands’ calendar, honouring the approximately 106,000 thousand babies who lose their lives to miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death each year.
“Parents consistently tell us that opportunities to acknowledge their baby’s life and to simply say their name are so meaningful to them and their families,” said Sands’ Chief Executive Officer, Jackie Mead.
“We know that recognising and validating bereaved parents’ experiences and honouring their grief helps families cope with and adjust to life without their baby as best they can,” she said.
“International Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day is a powerful opportunity to do so as a community, whilst also encouraging more public conversations about what are still quite taboo topics.”
Each year Sands organises a number of memorial events for bereaved parents and their families across Australia. This year, Walks to Remember will take place in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia, with the addition of candlelight remembrance ceremonies in some locations and an online Wave of Light.
“Our Walks to Remember are special annual events around Australia that bring bereaved parents together with their families and friends to commemorate their babies who’ve died, to share their experiences openly and to support each other,” said Ms Mead.
“Each of our local events has its own identity and history and is led by a group of Sands volunteer parent supporters. The walks attract so many local families each year and are just one of the ways Sands uses its model of peer support to companion parents on such a difficult road.”
“When you connect with a Sands’ volunteer parent supporter, whether at a local event, on our national support line, by email or live chat, you can be sure you’ll be heard and understood. Each of our volunteers is themselves a bereaved parent who brings the unique attributes of personal experience, empathy, and hope to those who perhaps can’t see a way forward after loss.”