Many landmark buildings across Ireland will light up as part of an international ‘Wave of Light’ marking Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day this evening, October 15th.
University Maternity Hospital Limerick will be bathed in blue and pink light for the event, which is run in association with Féileacáin, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland, which is the national charity supporting families affected by perinatal loss.
The maternity hospital is one of a number of buildings in the region to be illuminated in blue and pink light for the occasion. Nationwide, more than 120 buildings, monuments, and landmarks will be part of the worldwide wave of blue and pink light.
The idea is to create conversations about baby loss, providing an opportunity to bereaved parents and families to talk about their precious babies. Organisers hope that individuals will also join the Wave of Light by lighting a candle for one hour on October 15th from 7pm.
Marie Hunt, Clinical Midwife Specialist, Bereavement & Loss, UMHL, said: “We are joining the Féileacáin Wave Of Light to show our support for those families bereaved through miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death, and to acknowledge their babies who have lived such short lives.”
This Thursday evening, the facade of the UMHL building as well as the front of the reception area will be illuminated in blue and pink from 7pm until 11pm.
The commemorations of Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Day will be followed next month by UMHL’s annual Ceremony of Remembrance, which this year will be a virtual service streamed live from the Church of the Holy Rosary on Sunday November 22nd, at 3pm.
Although the COVID-19 public health emergency prevents the ceremony from proceeding in the traditional way, Bereavement Support and Midwifery staff at UMHL are reaching out to parents who have experienced the death of a baby or pregnancy loss at any stage, to involve them in the ceremony and ensure their precious babies are commemorated. The service will be led by Fr Des McAuliffe.
Rita O’Brien, Clinical Midwife Specialist, Bereavement and Loss, UMHL, said: “Although COVID-19 and public health restrictions mean that we cannot hold our Ceremony in the usual way, this remains an important date in our calendar, and we are grateful as ever to Fr Des and the Church of the Holy Rosary for enabling us to stream the event online.”
Rita invited anyone in the Mid-West who has experienced the death of a baby or the loss of a pregnancy to email her with the child’s name before Monday November 16th at 5pm, so that the name will be included in the ceremony. Contact Rita by email.
Meanwhile, Clare County Council is also helping to raise awareness of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
The Council will light up Áras Contae an Chláir in the colours pink and blue on this date.
Gemma O’Gorman, from Kilmurry McMahon, is raising awareness of the cause and the need for supports for families affected by miscarriage and infant death.
Ms O’Gorman said: “In lighting up its headquarters, Clare County Council, in my opinion, is creating a platform for those who wish to acknowledge their loss and show a sense of solidarity with each other and that they are not alone. It may also encourage those who wish to gather and talk.”
The Mayor of Clare, Cllr Mary Howard, said: “Clare County Council is pleased to support Gemma in raising awareness of the issues around miscarriage and infant death. We will be lighting up Áras Contae an Chláir on 15th October in sympathy with those who have experienced a loss and to mark this important day of remembrance.”