October has a long tradition and significance as a month to remember children who died. Several Canadian provinces have recognized the day in the past as a result of the advocacy and requests of bereaved parents/families from across the nation.
A Brief History
In 1959, the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child stated “…the child… needs… care… before as well as after birth…” – Rights of a Child
In 1988, United States of America President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in that year with the words “National observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, 1988, offers us the opportunity to increase our understanding of the great tragedy involved in the deaths of unborn and newborn babies. It also enables us to consider how, as individuals and communities, we can meet the needs of bereaved parents and family members and work to prevent causes of these problems.”
In 2002, Babyloss Awareness Week held in the United Kingdom.
Since 2003 Sands Queensland has celebrated Awareness Day.
In 2005, New Brunswick recognized October 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and British Columbia proclaimed October Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
In 2006, Concurrent Resolution 222 passed the United States House of Representatives designated October 15 as an appropriate day to observe National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day nationally in each year.
In 2007 Italy had its first celebration in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Week.
In 2009, Manitoba passed bill 226 that declares October 15 of each year as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
In 2009, the parliament of New South Wales in Australia agreed to October 15 as a special remembrance day to honour the babies who have died in stillbirth or miscarriages and to recognize, acknowledge and support their mothers, fathers and siblings.
In 2010, Bill 118 passed the first reading in Ontario, but did not progress further.
In 2015 Ontario passed bill 141 which requires the provincial Ministry of Health to conduct research into causes of pregnancy loss and to develop programs for families affected by pregnancy loss and infant death. October 15 is declared as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in the province.
In 2017 Bill 38 passes the Nova Scotia legislature unanimously to declare October 15 as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
International Wave of Light
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. We invite you to participate in this activity and join a community of people remembering their babies. A similar event is hosted in December by the organization Compassionate Friends (Worldwide Candle Lighting).
A Walk to Remember
It has become a tradition to organize remembrance walks in September and October to honour the children who died. Such walks happen in many cities across Canada. Please see our event listing for details.
Did you spot an error on this page? Please let us know.