When a loss during pregnancy occurs, couples are left to deal with the shock, guilt and anger that comes with losing a baby. It is a heartache that just doesn’t go away. But we carry them in our hearts forever. History was made on December 8 with the passing of Bill 141 in Ontario, Canada, making it the first known healthcare legislation of its kind in North America.
The Bill, The Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness, Research and Care Act, 2015 has officially become law in Ontario. It had received widespread support across the legislature and a lot of support from The Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. The Ministry now will have an additional duty to make certain that the necessary resources are given to fund research and expand more programs for families that have been impacted by pregnancy loss and infant death. They have also declared that October 15 is officially Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
With nearly 20 percent of Canadians suffering a pregnancy loss or infant death, the Bill is a significant step in the right direction. Michelle La Fontaine, a bereaved mom and president of the board of directors of the Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Network said, “As Ontario’s leading organization for pregnancy and infant loss for the past 25 years, we believe that this is precedent-setting legislation that we hope will spark other provinces across the country to quickly follow, this is a healthcare issue affecting hundreds of thousands of families and healthcare professionals across Canada.”
Jamie McCleary, an Ontario mom has experienced the tragic death of two of her children, Perrin in 2007 and Matteson in 2008, knows first hand how hard it is for families facing pregnancy and infant loss. She said, “Mothers shouldn’t have to weep at the computer, desperately trying to find someone to talk to, fathers shouldn’t have to sneak off to the bathroom to let their own tears fall, trying to be strong for their partners. Parents shouldn’t have to be so terrified of feeling that pain again, that they never try to have another child. Help should be there, always, thank God for PAIL Network.”
Wendy Moulsdale, nurse practitioner in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and also the chair of education for PAIL Network, believes that the passing of Bill 141 is certainly a step in the right direction. She said, “Having personally supported hundreds of families experiencing the loss of a baby and trained even more healthcare professionals on how to provide compassionate bereavement care, it is crucial that we make pregnancy and infant loss a priority healthcare issue. I believe this Bill is an important step to begin collaborating with the Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. Together we can share knowledge and clinical best-practices to establish standardized and compassionate care for bereaved families across the province.”