Tens of thousands of families all over the world are devastated each year by the death of their baby. The grief of these families and the value of their babies’ lives are very rarely acknowledged. In 1988, US President Ronald Reagan declared October as a month to recognize the unique grief of bereaved parents in an effort to demonstrate support to the many families who have suffered such a tragic loss. Promoting awareness of pregnancy and infant loss not only increases the likelihood that grieving families will receive understanding and support, but also results in improved education and prevention efforts which may ultimately reduce the incidence of these tragedies. While that was in the States, in Canada, we have legislation as part of the legislation in 2008.
The Legislative Assembly of Manitoba created Bill 226. This bill proclaims October 15 in each year as "Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day".
In Manitoba, the not for profit organization Manitoba Angel Dresses aims to help these grieving parents and families by donating hand sewn gowns, bonnets (which are either sewn or knitted), a blanket, and a keepsake for the parents to remember the small life that was lost much too soon.
The effects of loss are variable for each individual and family unit who experiences bereavement; common effects include, however are not limited to: depression, anxiety, changes in relationships, development of unhealthy coping mechanisms, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. These effects, amongst others, are often underestimated, misunderstood, and otherwise overlooked by health care professionals, friends, and even family members, especially when concerning pregnancy loss related bereavement and subsequent grief.
The Manitoba Angel Dresses are holding three information booths before the new year. The first one will be October 19th, followed by one on November 29th and December 9th at the Shoppers mall here in Brandon. The booth will be open between 10am and 5pm. It will also be fundraising through their Angel Dresses Calendars, which can be bought for $10. The calendars showcase the amazing talents and dedication of the volunteers.
Any questions can be asked at these booths and if you wish to volunteer for the organization, you can fill out a form at the booth or the information can be discovered at their website or Facebook page.
@manitobaangeldresses for Facebook