POINT PLEASANT — Families who have lost a child due to a miscarriage, stillbirth, birth defect or other cause are invited to join together on Oct. 15 for the fifth annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in Mason County.
The remembrance ceremony will begin at 6 p.m. at the Mason County Fairground.
“Our mission is to show parents and families of angel babies that they are not alone and that their babies will never be forgotten,” said organizer Hannah Parsons. “This event is for anyone who has been touched by miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss.””
Parsons knows the devastation firsthand. She had both a stillborn son, who was born at seven and a half months, and a daughter, who passed away after 28 days. She said one thing that really bothered her was she never received a death certificate for her son.
“The hospital wouldn’t give me a death certificate because he was stillborn,” Parsons said. “They said he was never a person because he never lived, but I know he lived. I felt him move inside of me. He was a person.”
Parsons continued, “What’s important is that people remember these babies. They are not replaceable, even with another child.”
The event raises awareness, according to Parsons. She said it is therapeutic and shows families they are not alone.
“It’s a place we can cry openly, because everyone knows what everyone there is going through,” Parsons noted.
Registration begins at 6 p.m., with the program starting at 6:30 p.m. A balloon release will follow the program, and luminaries will burn from 7-8 p.m. Each child’s name will be read, as well as poems. Music and prayer will also be a part of the program.
Parsons said the event is free of charge. She and several friends join together to provide the balloons for the release and the luminaries. The Mason County Right to Life organization also takes part and is providing the helium.
Anyone unable to attend, but wanting their child remembered, can leave a message on the Facebook page, “5th Annual Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day,” according to Parsons.
Those who do attend can decorate their own bag for the luminary. There is also a tag attached to each balloon for those who want to include a message.
The awareness day is a national event held annually on Oct. 15 as a result of President Ronald Reagan proclaiming October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in 1988.
In making the proclamation, President Reagan stated (in part), “When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.”
For more information on the local event, contact Parsons at 304-857-2640 or Heather Spencer at 304-812-7994.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing who lives in Mason County.