Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Are you a bereaved parent living in Ontario?

In the "it's about time" category, Mike Colle, MPP for Eglinton-Lawrence (in Toronto), introduced a private member's bill (Bill 141) this week -- the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Research and Care Act, 2015.

If passed, this bill would require the Ontario Ministry of Health to undertake research on pregnancy loss/infant deaths, in order to establish & expand counselling programs to bereaved mothers & families, and to undertake comprehensive, wide-ranging research into the best practices available in risk reduction and causes of pregnancy loss & death. It would also establish October 15th as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in Ontario (something I thought had already happened several years ago).

The National Post published a great article yesterday about this new (and long overdue) initiative. In addition to mentioning that one in three women will lose a pregnancy during her lifetime (which I have heard before), it quoted another figure that floored me: 37,000 parents in Ontario lose a baby at some point during their pregnancy every year. 37,000!! That's enough to fill a good-sized town. Assuming two parents per child, that's about 18,000+ lost pregnancies. In Ontario alone. Every. Single. Year.

That's a lot of grief and loss, people. :(

As the article states:
Many of [these parents] struggle with a system that often lacks support and training, as well as families, friends and even health care providers who don’t know what to say. Then their grief is compounded by a lack of answers and insufficient research to provide them.
You can bet that if 37,000 parents were losing their children each year to automobile accidents or playground accidents or airplane crashes, there would be a huge public outcry, and swift action would be taken to investigate why this was happening and what could be done to remedy the situation.

Why should things be any different just because those children died before or shortly after birth?

Those of us who have experienced pregnancy loss know how badly an initiative like this is needed.  But if this bill is to be passed, public support will be critical.  You and your families can show your support by:
  • signing and submitting petitions to Mike Colle's office (here's a link to a sample petition).
  • sharing this news on social media and asking your friends & family to share and show their support. (I don't often post about loss-related matters on Facebook, but I have been sharing the heck out of this since I learned about it.)
  • calling, writing or emailing your local MPP, the Minister of Health, and the Premier. (I just emailed them all tonight. I can't remember the last time I contacted a politician about an issue I felt strongly about. But this, of all issues, is worth the effort.)
I know this is a taboo subject. I (still) find it difficult to talk about publicly, even after 17 years. (Blogging to strangers, though -- well, that's different, lol.)  But it's just too important NOT to take action when we have this opportunity to make a real difference.

Let's get this done!


  1. Well said, Loribeth. I wish we had such acknowledgement here in NZ too.

  2. This is long overdue! I hope the bill passes!