What (And When) Is the Pregnancy And Infant Loss Awareness Walk?

Updated

Losing an infant is always a tragedy. In support of families globally, you can join the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walk this year by signing up online. Through your support, donations will lend a hand to families that often suffer in silence.

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Scroll below to read through some basic FAQs about the walk, including ways to register, prepare, and join in the candle-lighting events that follow.

What Is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month?

Text about the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness walk with images of leaves

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month invites advocates, researchers, and others to recognize the heartbreak parents face after losing a child.

The platform amplifies voices working to change extreme healthcare disparities affecting one in four women. Many of them experience poor maternal health care in response to socioeconomic factors and structural racism.

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Where Is the Walk Typically Located?

Anywhere you are. In our shrinking world, you can sign up for a virtual walk from almost any place on the planet—that includes wherever you’re located.

The goal is to raise money for any of your favorite nonprofits, so just pick a beautiful location to meet with your friends and head out for a leisurely or brisk walk (or hike).

When Does the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walk Take Place?

The annual event is virtual and held in October. You can sign up to walk anywhere and at any time you choose. When you’re finished, upload some pictures on the Internet and share your experiences with people everywhere.

How Do You Sign Up for the Walk? 

There are several organizations online where you can sign-up to record your walk. All you have to do is choose one that suits your locations and your donation’s best interest. 

Organizations like the Fletcher Foundation allocate money raised from walks to financially support families saddled with financial issues due to the child’s loss. On their website, register your team’s name and an email that’ll work best for contacting your group. Include a picture file from your team’s adventure and click send. While you’re not required to raise money for the walk, 100% of the donations go to parents in need.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep holds a Spring walk fundraiser to support families in grief through photography by offering Grief Packages to hospitals and continuing education services for medical staff. With your registration fee, you’ll receive a t-shirt, program book, and a butterfly growing kit if supplies are permitting. To join, all you have to do is:

  1. Register your information
  2. Sign agreements 
  3. Make a donation
  4. Continue to payment  

New York City’s annual walk for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness is themed: The #goPINKandBLUE Walk. Online, you can register as a virtual walker or as a sponsor. The money collected from registration fees and donations supports The Baby Resource Center’s prenatal and pediatric education and awareness programs for staff and parents-to-be. You can walk alone, create a team, or join one to offer support if you’d like to be part of the event.

Tips for Preparing for the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walk

Text about the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walk with an image of a candle

There is more than one way to get ready for the Awareness Walk. You can even get busy the entire week before and finish off with your big walk in October. This is a great way to spread awareness and even get some friends to join in! Here are a few ideas:

Update your social media profile image with post banners or hashtags

Get started by showing friends and family in your social media feeds or emails what you’re planning.

Change your banner on your Facebook Profile to support Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. If you need an image, you can download media files from Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc.

When you post, make sure to use the following hashtags as often as possible before, during, and after the awareness walk:

#NeverForgotten

#BLAW

#pregnancyandinfantlossawarenessmonth

#WAVEOFLiGHT

#goPINKandBLUE

Share your story with others to reflect and set intentions

If you’d like to write for the Fletcher Foundation, you’re invited to share your loss, encourage those on a journey toward hope, offer advice or tips on grief and grieving, and suggest any resources that found helpful or would have helped. 

You may also consider sending one of your articles to the local newspaper for publication to bring awareness to your community.

Add your baby’s name to the Baby Name Wall

The Empower Mama Foundation supports all parents who’ve lost a child by honoring their baby on a digital memorial wall. To add your child’s name, they’ll ask you to provide:

  • An email address
  • Your first and last name
  • A phone number
  • Your child’s name(s)
  • Your baby’s date of birth and death
  • A due date
  • Any additional child’s details 

Look for events at the local children’s hospital

Many children’s hospitals rally support behind parents in October. For instance, one hospital in San Angelo, Texas, plants rose bushes in the Baby’s Rose Garden at the Shannon Medical Center to honor the babies who’ve died.

Send flowers to a hospital or religious organization in honor of your baby

Choose an organization that best suits your needs and plan to send flowers to them on the day of the walk to bring more members of your community together, if only through good thoughts and prayers.

Contact the local radio station

If you listen to a particular morning show or another on your afternoon drive, jump on the phone and let them know the importance of the day for parents globally and give a few tips on what to say to a loved one who lost a baby.

Invite them and the rest of the audience to cheer on some walkers or watch the Echo Seven Project light-up landmarks.

Coordinate a team outfit

Gather up your finest blues and pinks to coordinate outfits with your walking group. To accessorize, shop online at any nonprofits associated with infant loss or other organizations that donate proceeds to support parents in need. 

Or look for a bargain at your favorite workout apparel business when you buy in bulk.

Set your intentions the week leading up to the walk

Baby Loss Awareness Week is a build-up for the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walk with events to help you set your intentions. You can support parents through organizations like the IRIS Foundation, Star Legacy Foundation, and Féileacáin. Or, if walking is very personal to you, you can choose to focus on your little one in the days leading up to the walk.

Here’s a sample schedule you could follow in the week leading up to the walk:

  • Day one: Check your mental well-being.
  • Day two: Advocate for both parents’ ability to attend maternity and neonatal services.
  • Day three: Check out support for children, extended family members, and friends.
  • Day four: Learn about best practices in workplace support.
  • Day five: Support Black, Native American, BIPOC, and other marginalized communities to learn about risks and assumptions and how to be supportive.
  • Day six: Support members of the LGBTQ community, including those using surrogacy and non-biological parent sources. 
  • Day seven: Remember your baby.

Prepare to walk a 5k

If you haven’t walked more than a few blocks recently, you’ll want to prepare for the distance a month or so in advance. You know your body best, so contact a physician if necessary, and don’t forget to stretch before and after.

Pack a bag

Make sure to charge your phone before getting started so you’ll have enough juice to photograph beautiful things you see and take some selfies along the way. Consider packing a few necessities in your backpack as well:

  • Hydration: Water works best! Pack some electrolytes too—you’ll need them.
  • Fuel: An energy bar, cold potatoes, or some bananas will work. Just pack what you like.
  • Change in socks: Just in case October is a rainy month wherever you live.
  • Food for the kids: Anything that will keep the kids motivated. Cut apples and other fruit work well.
  • A candle: If you plan on participating in the global candle-lighting ceremony after your walk.

Take a walk

Plan your route along a scenic path or walkway so you can soak in the scenery. If you don’t know of one, cue in your location to AllTrails. There, you’ll find information about difficulty levels and terrain, and you can look at the photos other people have posted before you make your choice.

The walk itself can be as prescriptively meditative or chatty as you like, and you can snap a photo every time you think of your little one.

When you get home, make a collage of all the beautiful photos you took and turn them into a miscarriage keepsake, your newest smartphone screensaver, or a unique LinkedIn background.

Honor the day by lighting a candle 

For one hour, people across every time zone worldwide are invited to light a candle at 7:00 p.m. supporting Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. 

This event called the Wave of Light has the potential to bring loved ones together across the globe, sending a rolling wave of candlelight from one timezone to the next. Many participants host live feeds to stream memorials and share quotes about baby loss and offer memories.

Watch landmarks worldwide light up in solidarity

Finally, you can watch as the Echo Seven Project lights up nearly 400 landmarks globally to send love to all grieving parents in honor of children.

Join the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Walk

No matter where you are in the world, you can sign-up online to virtually join in any number of awareness walks dedicated to supporting parents through the loss of their baby.  This is a touching way to honor the memories of babies passed too soon, and support those who grieve them.


Sources

  1. @empowermamafoundation. Empower Mama, Facebook, n.d., www.facebook.com/empowermamafoundation/ 
  2. @IntlWaveofLight. Lights of Love International Wave of Light, Facebook, n.d., www.facebook.com/IntlWaveofLight/?ref=page_internal 
  3. “2020 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.” Share Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Inc., National Share, n.d., nationalshare.org/news/2020-pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness/
  4. “About Féileacáin.” Féileacáin Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland, Féileacáin, n.d., feileacain.ie/about/ 
  5. “About Us.” nilmdts, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, n.d., www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/about-us/ 
  6. “About Us.” The Baby Resource Center, Wizathon, n.d., www.wizathon.com/gopinkandblue/?id=5058
  7. Bedrossina, Leona. “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.” National Institutes of Health, NIH, 15 October 2020, www.edi.nih.gov/blog/opinion/pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness-month
  8. Fraire, Roseanna. "Walk to Remember’ for National Pregnancy, Infant Loss Awareness Month happening virtually.” San Angelo Standard-Times, Go San Angelo, 5 October 2020, www.gosanangelo.com/story/news/2020/10/05/national-pregnancy-infant-loss-awareness-walk-happening-virtual/3625410001/
  9. J., Daphne. “The International Wave of Light Is for All of Our Babies Gone Too Soon.” The Mighty, The Mighty, 12 October 2020, themighty.com/2020/10/pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness-month-international-wave-of-light/
  10. “Mission and Vision.” Star Legacy Foundation, Star Legacy Foundation, n.d., starlegacyfoundation.org/mission-and-vision/
  11. “Our Mission.” The Fletcher Foundation, The Fletcher Foundation, n.d., thefletcherfoundation.org/our-mission/
  12. “The Official Site of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.” Remembering Our Babies October 15th, October 15th, n.d., www.october15th.com
  13. “Welcome to Baby Loss Awareness Week.” Baby Loss Awareness, Baby Loss Awareness, n.d., babyloss-awareness.org
  14. “Words of Welcome.” Infants Remembered In Silence, Inc., Iris Remembers, n.d., www.irisremembers.com 

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