A Note from the ICEA President | In Our Hearts


I am starting this month’s note on the somber topic of infant loss. October 15th is World Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. The month of October is designated for awareness of pregnancy and infant loss with it also being SIDS Awareness Month. Every year, tens of thousands of families experience the loss of a pregnancy and/or infant. The loss can be devastating, and in the past was not really talked about. I remember working with a lady many years ago who had lost a little sister; born still. She talked about how they wouldn’t let her mom hold the baby or even see her. And she sadly spoke about how her mom was not really the same after that experience.

As a part of my position, I sit on our hospital Perinatal Bereavement Committee. We have worked hard to train key staff (myself included) in Perinatal Bereavement. We continually analyze our processes and compassion around this tragic loss. We now have mementos, pictures, better visitor policies, less copious paperwork, and Cuddle Cots so that families can keep their baby in the room with them longer after death.

During the challenging time of COVID and reduced visitation, our staff experienced the devastating tragedy of one of our own having a mid-pregnancy loss. Her family was allowed to visit despite the restrictions and our staff covered each other so that they could all go visit and comfort her and her family. What used to be a taboo topic is now talked about and recognized. Families are allowed to celebrate and grieve their baby.

In addition to the above mentioned ways we recognize loss, we have an annual bereavement ceremony. A donor provided a memorial tomb in a local cemetery where we can add ashes every year. Any family who doesn’t have the means or desire to cremate their baby can use or services and then the ashes are respectfully held until the ceremony. All families who have had a loss are invited. We read the names and have a non-denominational service. It’s touching and inspiring to see families who have never met hug and comfort one another. One year a family brought balloons not only for their own family but all the others so they could write their baby’s name on a balloon. At the end they released them. Although I’m not a fan of releasing balloons, the beauty of the gesture of giving in their own grief touched my heart.

I encourage you to find out what is available in your community. How can you help and support those who have had a loss. When we talk about those we’ve loved and lost, we keep them alive in our hearts.

Moving to other topics, October is very exciting for the ICEA board of directors! We are getting very close to our Conference As of this moment, the countdown is telling me it is 16 days, 23 hours, 26 minutes, and 45 seconds away! We really hope you plan to join us. As a reminder, the recordings will be available through the end of the year for those who can’t fit it in their schedule during the dates We will also be holding the member meeting during the conference. So even if you can’t attend the conference, we hope you will join the member meeting. We will be providing a synopsis of all the hard work along with a tour of the new website.

Strategic planning will be happening prior to the conference. The board will be looking at the best way to serve all of you. One of the things we will be discussing is more committee involvement where you will have the opportunity to work with board members to advance our organization. We hope you will consider the joining a committee and becoming involved with ICEA. The future is bright and we are excited to ways for all of you to participate and share your ideas.

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