There are many things you can do during this month to promote conversation, encourage compassion, and promote awareness.
Here are a few:
Infant Loss Facebook groups are full of creative ways to honor babies and create awareness.
Other Awareness Projects
May 2013- New Documentary in the Works - the STILL Project
Producers Jonathan and Carrie Pascual are in production, traveling the country and the world gathering stories, information, messages of loss and hope. Their movie STILL will present many sides of the death of babies, including miscarriage, stillbirth, and early infants. To support, LIKE, and financially support this Hollywood production that will be seen in theaters all over the world. They could use our financial support to get this film done and in theaters. It may also have a life beyond movie theaters and home DVDs. One idea is to make it available as a training/awareness film for staff, students, and community. Visit www.thestillproject.org
Sherokee's note - I have met these wonderful people (parents of Elena who was stillborn and Isaiah their rainbow baby) and I can't say enough about this wonderful project. What I have seen so far is very, very impressive. They have the heart, they understand the message, and this will be a knock it out of the park movie full of love, compassion, and challenges for our communities.
2014 Watch the movie RETURN TO ZERO on Lifetime or purchase it from Amazon...share with family, friends, and birth professionals. the FIRST full length drama featuring stillbirth as its subject.
Minnie Driver stars with Paul Adelstein, and Kathy Baker the acting was incredible. Minnie was nominated for an Emmy for her amazing acting as Maggie, mom of Arthur who was stillborn. Share this with family, friends, and birth professionals. Highly Recommend! www.returntozerothemovie.com
March 2013, NY Times article on Stillbirth
Read the NY times article on Stillbirth and Star Legacy Foundation Ex. Director - Lindsey Wimmer's fantastic!!! blog in response to the article on Stillbirth, which can be found as a link in this blog stillbirthmatters.wordpress.com
Awareness and Stillbirth Risk Reduction
January 2013, Announcing a new coalition— Action for Stillbirth Awareness and Prevention www.StopStillbirthASAP.org
Having 26,000 babies die of stillbirth each year in the U.S. and hearing too many stories of families receiving, less than optimal care and support is no longer acceptable. We seek a national consensus to change this. And we need strong voices and huge numbers to make this happen. Will you join us as we grow and work to ease the burden of stillbirth and prevent as many deaths as possible?
As we approach Mother’s Day and Father’s Day 2013, we are reminded of the thousands of parents who will be celebrating or avoiding these bittersweet holidays. For many people, identifying themselves as parents when they are not actively parenting a living child is very difficult. This recognition is just one of the many aspects regarding pregnancy loss that makes stillbirth awareness and prevention so difficult.
Like so many things in life, the issues surrounding stillbirth will require significant efforts, resources, and people to realize changes in the number of families affected every year. Many people at an international conference in Baltimore represented organizations and groups that focus on specific aspects of pregnancy and infant loss, or families who have experienced specific types of pregnancy and infant loss, or researchers who are studying specific areas of pregnancy and infant loss. One thought that emerged was the idea that if all of these groups would work together toward the common goal, success is much more likely and each individual mission is more likely to be achieved.
Out of these ideas, the Action for Stillbirth Awareness and Prevention (ASAP) Coalition was born. (www.StopStillbirthASAP.org) There is strength in numbers. The purpose of this coalition is to speak loudly with many voices and a common message and to support each of the unique strengths and abilities of the many individuals and organizations involved in stillbirth efforts.
The mission of this coalition is relatively simple: To raise stillbirth awareness, unify voices, and accelerate prevention efforts in the United States.
The goals as established by the Steering Committee include:
1. Build a national coalition of organizations, concerned individuals, parents and health professionals.
2. Attain recognition that stillbirth is a significant public health concern and action is imperitive.
3. Educate and empower families through child-bearing years of the benefits of healthy pregnancies and risks and realities of stillbirth.
4. Educate and partner with healthcare professionals to minimize stillbirth risk.
5. Ensure that policy makers have current, accurate and comprehensive stillbirth information and data to support informed decision-making.
6. To encourage support, compassion, understanding, and resource sharing while recognizing that stillbirth is the loss of a child and the families’ future hopes and dreams.
All individuals and organizations who would like to see an increase in stillbirth awareness and prevention efforts are welcome and asked to join! There is no financial obligation to join – just a desire to make a difference!! When members complete the registration form, they are asked if, how, and where they have abilities to help. To date, there are over 300 organizations and individuals who have joined! Please consider adding your name to this growing list of supporters!
For those who are wondering how to honor the parenthood of those who do not have living children this Mother’s Day or Father’s Day – consider showing your love by adding your name to this coalition in their honor.
Too many of us have lived through times when our community of family, friends, and co-workers are at a loss of how to help us. They may seem to forget after a short while and some never even understand that this loss is BIG and matters. Work supervisors and colleagues are rarely comfortable with how to interact and be supportive. Enduring such misunderstanding and silence adds to the intense pain and anguish that already exists. Therefore, building some awareness about what families go through and need at the time, and over time, can really help shift the culture and support given.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month throughout the world. It began in 1987 after many of us worked hard to get President Ronald Reagan to make this declaration. In 1989 we marched down the Washington DC Mall to the steps of the Capitol with 500 baby blankets. We held a beautiful memorial service, then visited the Kennedy grave at Arlington Cemetery.
October 15 is also a key day in October that is celebrated throughout the world. In fact, on this day a 7 pm candle lighting tradition spreads the light and message across the globe as caring people light candles outdoors. As it occurs in each time zone and spreads, the goal is to tell others why people do this (to honor all babies who have died) and how others can help (see How to Help/Family & Friends). Thanks to Robyn Bear, Lisa Wynberg Brown and their team for accomplishing this.
You can visit the site October 15th to learn more about activities that will occur in October and beyond. If you work on an activity such as a Memorial Walk/Run/Candle lighting Ceremony, fundraiser, educational program... be sure to register it at this site.
There are also many things you can do such as
There is much that can be done. Chat with others who may have done such things for years. Maybe you can join them, create a similar event in your community with their help, or collaborate in other ways. If each person does one thing, it is amazing to thing of all we can do together.