Stillbirth Remembrance Day

candle

Today, September 6,  in some states of the USA  and Canada is a day set aside to honor and remember babies that have been stillborn. In many cases, this definition is expanded to include babies lost to miscarriage, SIDS, and complications of pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancies, among others. In light of this latter definition, Stillbirth Remembrance Day is sometimes known as Stillbirth and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.

The idea of an annual day to remember stillborns followed perhaps the most notable stillbirth in recent years, that of Breanna Lynn Bartlett-Stewart in September 2000. In Breanna Lynn’s home state of Arkansas, widespread media coverage following her stillbirth sparked an unprecedented public awareness of the seemingly random and largely unknown killer of more than 26,000 babies each year in the United States alone. In response to public lobbying, the state legislature of Arkansas passed a law proclaiming Breanna Lynn’s birthday, September 6, to be Arkansas Stillbirth Remembrance Day; the day was first observed on what would have been Breanna Lynn’s first birthday, September 6, 2001. This proclamation was warmly welcomed by most Arkansans, even if they had no personal connection to a stillborn baby. On this day, the noon news in Little Rock showed motorists on Interstate 30 traveling with their lights on in memory of the stillborn.

Following Arkansas’ example, several other Southeastern U.S. states passed laws enacting September 6 to be Stillbirth Remembrance Day in time for Breanna Lynn’s second birthday in 2002. With each passing year, more U. S. states issued similar proclamations; on September 6, 2005, Breanna Lynn Bartlett-Stewart’s fifth birthday, 39 U.S. states officially paused to remember babies lost to miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death.

For all those who are grieving the loss of their precious babies, I am lighting a candle of solidarity today, a tiny flicker of light in the darkness of our grief and I offer up a prayer for healing and peace of heart for us all.

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