|Robyn Bear, the owner of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Keepsakes knows firsthand the heart-wrenching pain of pregnancy loss. She also knows how to help heal it. Robyn is the founder of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, (October 15th), officially legislated in 50 states nationwide, and growing.
Robyn’s story is both inspiring and compelling. Faced with the grief from the loss of six pregnancies, she needed to leave a legacy for her “angel babies”– and to help herself, and thousands of other women, try to heal from unspeakable pain of losing a baby.
While friends and relatives were initially sympathetic, Robyn found that few people, other than her husband, Russell, and her mother, Betty, could relate to the powerful feelings of grief she needed to express. As Robyn began writing her own story, she decided to create a book of stories, written by women who had also experienced pregnancy loss, as a way to move through the grief process and to honor all angel babies.
“The book was the start of something much larger than I had intended– but I didn’t know it at the time. I only wanted to express what others seemed to be uncomfortable hearing, and what needed to be heard. My heart led me to a place that I needed, and that so many other women were desperate for, “ Robyn says. That place was Pain Heartache and Hope, the title of a collection of 75 heartfelt stories of loss, edited and self-published by Robyn in 2000.
But Robyn wasn’t finished. By August 1998, she and husband Russell had received word of the medical reasons for their losses, and were trying to conceive through assisted reproductive technologies. While she felt comforted moving forward to try to have another baby, Robyn felt compelled to do more to honor her babies, and the thousands of babies whose stories she had come to know. “Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a special day set aside to remember day our angels and to honor the reality of this loss?” she thought. “I got to thinking that I could make it happen, but I didn’t know how. Of course, I didn’t let that stop me,” Robyn laughs.
Eager to meet her latest challenge, Robyn approached Lisa Brown, one of the first contributors to the Pain Heartache and Hope story collection, whose son Jackson was stillborn, on October 15, (YEAR). When they discovered that October already had been designated “Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month” by President Reagan, they set on a mission to get each of the 50 states to proclaim October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Together, Robyn and Lisa wrote letters to all 50 governors and received 20 state proclamations before October 15, 2000, the first official Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
With recognition building, the women launched October15th.com and recruited 50 volunteers to serve as state leaders to achieve legislation for a permanent day of remembrance in every state in the nation. To date, all 50 states have had yearly proclamations by respective governors declaring October 15th Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day and a house resolution has been passed.
Russell and Robyn currently live in a suburb of Houston Texas with their daughters, all born after having suffered 6 miscarriages. “We feel so grateful and blessed to have a happy ending to our family’s story,” Robyn says. “But we will never forget that our six angel babies are watching over us, and leading our hearts through life’s important journeys.”
Please visit http://www.october15th.com for more information about October 15th, Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Written by: Doreen Fera