John Hunt Jnr from Newcastle West Pipe Band playing at last year’s ‘Wave of Light’ ceremony at University Maternity Hospital Limerick Picture: Dave Gaynor
University Maternity Hospital Limerick and a number of other landmark buildings in the city will light this Thursday evening as part of an international ‘Wave of Light’ marking Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day.
UMHL will be bathed in blue and pink light for the event, which is run in association with Féileacáin, the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Association of Ireland - the national charity supporting families affected by perinatal loss.
The maternity hospital is one of a number of buildings in the region to be illuminated in blue and pink light for the occasion. Nationwide, more than 120 buildings, monuments, and landmarks will be part of the worldwide wave of blue and pink light.
According to the organisers, the idea is to create conversations about baby loss, providing an opportunity to bereaved parents and families to talk about their precious babies. It's hoped that individuals will also join the Wave of Light by lighting a candle for one hour from 7pm this Thursday.
Marie Hunt, Clinical Midwife Specialist, Bereavement and Loss at UMHL said: “We are joining the Féileacáin Wave Of Light to show our support for those families bereaved through miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death, and to acknowledge their babies who have lived such short lives.”
As part of the initiative, the facade of the UMHL building as well as the front of the reception area will be illuminated in blue and pink between 7pm and 11pm.
Covid-19 restrictions will prevent people from gathering in person for the Wave of Light. The UMHL bereavement team at UMHL will light a special Féileacáin candle in the reception area of the hospital in memory of all babies who have died in our community.
"We will be thinking of the parents and families who grieve, and we encourage people to light their own candle at 7pm for one hour. If you take photos and wish to post them to social media, please use the hashtags #feileacainwaveoflight2020,” Marie said.
The commemorations of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day will be followed next month by UMHL’s annual Ceremony of Remembrance, which this year will be a virtual service streamed live from the Church of the Holy Rosary on Sunday November 22nd, at 3pm.
Bereavement Support and Midwifery staff at UMHL are reaching out to parents who have experienced the death of a baby or pregnancy loss at any stage, to involve them in the ceremony and ensure their precious babies are commemorated. The service will be led by Fr Des McAuliffe.
“Although Covid-19 and public health restrictions mean that we cannot hold our Ceremony in the usual way, this remains an important date in our calendar, and we are grateful as ever to Fr Des and the Church of the Holy Rosary for enabling us to stream the event online," said Rita O’Brien, Clinical Midwife Specialist, Bereavement and Loss at UMHL
“The loss of a pregnancy at any stage can have devastating effects, and we want to reach out and join families together to remember and celebrate each little life,” she added.
Anyone in the Mid-West who has experienced the death of a baby or the loss of a pregnancy can email the child’s name to firstname.lastname@example.org before 5pm on Monday, November 16.