President Ronald Regan was one of the first high level public figures to recognize the singular experience of early loss. In 1988, he proclaimed October as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month in the USA.
"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 a child, there isn't a word to describe them. This...recognizes the loss so many parents experience...It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS and other causes."
Before that, in 1959, the United Nations, included the statement, as part of its Declaration of the Rights of the Child, “…the child… needs… care… before as well as after birth…”
Sands UK has been a leading force in advocacy, outreach, and research. Their first Babyloss Awareness Week was held in 2002. Italy followed suit in 2007, while Queensland and New South Wales in Australia created days of recognition for Oct. 15 in 2003 and 2009, respectively. The United States passed Concurrent Resolution 222 in 2006, marking the observance of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day nationally every year.
Here in Canada, proclamations, which are only in effect for the year they are enacted, have been made periodically across the country. The first were observed in New Brunswick and British Columbia in 2005. Proclamations were created in Nova Scotia in 2008 and 2009. It would take another eight years before Nova Scotia would put Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day into law with Bill 38. It happened in a unanimous decision on October 13, 2017, after two previous failed attempts at recognition. In 2015 in Ontario, Bill 141 was groundbreaking legislation. It provided one million dollars in funding and required the provincial Ministry of Health to research causes of pregnancy loss and to develop programs for families affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and infant death.