Province creates Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Families who have had children die during pregnancy or infancy are celebrating the province's decision to officially make Oct. 15 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.

‘I hope it would open up more conversations about it. It happens to so many more families than we know’

People taking part in the Walk to Remember stream out of the IWK Health Centre in Halifax. (Stephanie Blanchet/CBC)

Families who have had children die during pregnancy or infancy are celebrating the province's decision to officially make Oct. 15 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. 

The act was passed in the provincial legislature with unanimous consent on Friday. 

"I think it's wonderful that Nova Scotia has finally passed this bill," said Stacey MacLean, one of the organizers of the Walk to Remember, a walk held to honour the children who die at the very beginning of their lives.  

She said it's important for people to recognize how common it is for families to lose children during pregnancy and infancy.  

Heidi Brazier agrees. Two of her grandchildren died shortly after they were born. She hopes having an official day dedicated to that kind of loss will open people's eyes. 

Heidi Brazier had two grandchildren who died shortly after being born. She hopes having a day set aside to recognise pregnancy and infant loss will help people open up and talk about it more. (Stephanie Blanchet/CBC)

"I hope it would open up more conversations about it. It happens to so many more families than we know because many people don't talk about it and I think it's an important conversation for people to have," said Brazier. 

That's part of the reason the Walk to Remember was started.  

"We're just glad that people have a spot to come and communicate and talk with people who have gone through something they have gone through, because years ago it was never talked about," said MacLean.    

A group of volunteers along with staff at the IWK Health Centre help organize the Walk to Remember. It started with a group of women who all lost a child. 

"We just wanted something to remember babies that never got the chance to maybe walk in the footsteps that we would have liked them to take," said MacLean.   

Stacey MacLean helps organise the Walk to Remember. (Stephanie Blanchet/CBC)

She lost her first child while she was seven months pregnant back in 2006. That baby, who she named William, was stillborn and doctors couldn't figure out why. 

Not knowing what caused William's death plagued MacLean and worried her as she went on to give birth to three healthy children. 

"There's not a moment that goes by that I don't think about him or wonder what he would have been like with his brothers."

Her dead son is still a part of her family though. MacLean has pictures of William throughout her home, making sure she never forgets.

with files from Stephanie Blanchet