Recently, I read about a national day of remembrance that I didn’t know existed. Tomorrow –October 15 – is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I found out about this special day while reading Weekly Genealogy Picks on TransylvanianDutch: Genealogy and Family History.
According to Wikipedia, this day has been “proclaimed in New Brunswick, Manitoba, [and] Nova Scotia [in] Canada”. In the USA, where it is sometimes known as Stillbirth and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, October 15 is “set aside each year to honor and remember babies that have been stillborn. In many cases, this definition is expanded to include babies lost to miscarriage, SIDS, and complications of pregnancy, including ectopic pregnancies, among others”.
I wondered, "What could I do to honour this special day?" After a few moments of thought, I decided I'd write something about my grandmothers’ experiences.
My paternal grandmother, Julie (Vanasse) Belair, gave birth to six children, three sons and two daughters, between 1927 and 1937. Her second child, a daughter, was born on 29 June 1928 at St. Mary’s Hospital in Ottawa, Ontario. This unnamed girl, who was born prematurely, lived only three minutes, according to her death registration. She was buried on 2 July 1928 in Ottawa’s Notre-Dame cemetery. I can understand that this little girl was premature, because she was born 11 months after my father Maurice was born on 2 August 1927. Assuming she was conceived 2-3 months after this date, my grandmother’s second child might have arrived a month earlier than expected.
Julie’s last child, a son, was born on 31 January 1937 at home in Fauquier, Ontario. He was named Joseph, but I don’t believe he was baptised or even ondoyé (a French term that means a sort of provisional baptism, done by someone present at the birth because the child is in danger of not surviving). Joseph lived only one hour, according to the medical certificate of death. The cause of death was “congenital debility” with the contributory cause being “premature birth”. He was buried on 1 February 1937 in Fauquier.
My maternal grandmother, Juliette (Beauvais) Desgroseilliers, gave birth to nine children, two sons and seven daughters, between 1926 and 1938. Her first child, a son, was born on Christmas Day 1926 at home in Moonbeam, Ontario. He appears as “Xavier” on his death registration, but according to my Mom and her sisters, his name was “Noël”. He lived only one hour; cause of death: “To [sic] young to live”. Noël was buried on 26 December 1926 in Moonbeam. I suppose that “too young to live” is another way of saying premature. His parents Juliette and Eugène married the previous year on 18 August 1925, so it’s difficult for me to tell how premature he might have been.
To learn more about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day, visit Remembering Our Babies at http://www.october15th.com/
1. Wikipedia contributors, "Stillbirth Remembrance Day," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Stillbirth_Remembrance_Day&oldid=438564947 : accessed October 10, 2012).
2. “Ontario, Canada Deaths, 1869-1932”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 1 August 2007), entry for [unnamed female] Belair, death registration 29 June 1928; citing original data: Archives of Ontario, Registration of Deaths – 1869-1932, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario, microfilms MS935, reels 1-615.
3. “Ontario, Canada Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 October 2011), entry for Joseph Belair, death registration 31 January 1937; citing original data: Archives of Ontario, Registration of Deaths – 1869-1938, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario, microfilms MS935, reels 1-615.
4. “Ontario, Canada, Deaths, 1869-1938 and Deaths Overseas, 1939-1947”, digital images, Ancestry.ca (http://www.ancestry.ca : accessed 22 April 2010), entry for Xavier Cesgrosullier [as is in index], death registration 25 December 1926; citing original data: Archives of Ontario, Registration of Deaths – 1869-1938, Toronto, Ontario, Canada: Archives of Ontario, microfilms MS935, reels 1-615.
Copyright © 2012, Yvonne Demoskoff.