In honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, Pee Dee Crisis Pregnancy Center will be hosting a special candlelight memorial celebration on Oct. 15 in remembrance of all children whose lives were lost due to miscarriage, stillbirth, pre-mature death, regretted abortion, ectopic, neonatal or accidental death.
The event, called Footprints on Our Hearts, will be held at the Cole Plaza, located at 514 Rockingham Road in downtown Rockingham, next to City Hall.
The idea for the ceremony originated with Richmond County resident Rebecca Phifer, who wanted to reach out to others like herself.
“I had a miscarriage on Nov. 6 of 2011, and I had a really hard time with it,” Phifer said. “My pastor referred me to the Pregnancy Crisis Center. I was doing some research and saw that there was a national day in remembrance of lost babies, so I mentioned it to the center. It’s something that I wanted to do for other people in our area — to try to help them, to let them know they’re not alone, and that there are other people that have been through the same thing they have.”
Terri Robinson, director for the Pee Dee Crisis Pregnancy Center, said Phifer approached the center for help in creating a special commemorative event.
“In the process, we found out that President Reagan passed a proclamation in remembrance of lost babies,” Robinson said, “and it’s something that we at the crisis center wanted to do to help. We’ve had so many that have had stillborns or miscarriages or even babies who died shortly after … We wanted to offer something to the community.”
The Oct. 15 Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (PAILRD) campaign began in 2002 as an American movement. Now, 10 years later, the Pee Dee Crisis Pregnancy Center said it encourages anyone affected by the loss of a baby to join them, including family, friends, supporters, and medical professionals in continuing the legacy of children that passed too soon.
During the event, there will be luminary bags with the names of lost children on them. Songs, poems and speakers will also be included in the ceremony.
Registration begins at 6:30 p.m. Candle lighting and the reading of names will begin at 7 p.m.
Candles will burn from 7 to 8 p.m. in honor of the International Wave of Light, a movement in which candles are burned for an hour or more as part of an international, continuous chain of light spanning a 24 hour period.
The Crisis Pregnancy Center will also have staff on hand to write a certificate of life for deceased children.
“We’re doing this because you can’t get a birth certificate unless you carried up to 5 months,” Robinson said. “So we’ll have someone there to write a certificate of life for those that want one for their baby.”
In addition to the event, the Crisis Pregnancy Center plans to initiate a support group called Empty Arms for parents trying to cope with the loss of a child through any of these circumstances. The group will meet on the second Tuesday of each month from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., beginning Nov. 13.
For more information about the support group, contact the center at 910-895-6616. Hope’s Doorway Pee Dee Crisis Pregnancy Center is located at 110 N. Lawrence St. in Rockingham.
To pre-register for the candlelight ceremony, contact Rebecca Phifer by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, by phone at 910-334-5896, or contact the pregnancy center.
— Staff Writer Mallory Brown can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 18, or by email at email@example.com