Today, the Pregnancy and Infant Loss (PAIL) Network hosted Canada’s largest memorial butterfly release event at Bruce’s Mill in Stouffville, Ontario. The uplifting family-friendly event attracted nearly 600 people and released 250 live butterflies. This unique event enables families to honour their children who were lost but will never be forgotten. It also celebrates the strength and perseverance of the families who have experienced pregnancy and infant loss and, share a common struggle.
According to Kemayla Fleming, Executive Director and Director of Programs at PAIL network, “In Canada, there are six stillbirths per 1,000 births and miscarriages occur in nearly 20 per cent of pregnancies. These are heartbreaking losses that many never have the courage to talk about as they struggle to find answers. At PAIL Network we understand, and we are here to help.” Considering that more than 1,000 births occur every day in this country, it is no surprise why PAIL Network has become such a crucial community organization and vital resource for hospitals and healthcare providers.
Unfortunately, after a devastating loss, many families suffer in silence, and parents feel a range of volatile emotions from anger and depression to self-blame. Parents often don’t take the time or seek the help they need to grieve, deal with the trauma and emotionally heal. Mother’s often feel stuck, like they are in an emotional prison. Just when parents think they are getting better, something triggers a flood of unresolved feelings, having a profound effect on their relationships with family, friends and co-workers.
Fleming who suffered the loss of her son Harrison in 2009 believes the event is important because it allows people of all ages, particularly children to talk openly about their losses. When she asked her five-year-old daughter Elodie about the importance of the upcoming butterfly release event, she said, “We release the butterflies so that they can take our messages up to the babies in heaven.” Elodie, then added, “Mommy, I want us to bring a cake with happy faces on it, because I want the sad mommies and daddies to know it’s okay to smile again.”
This simple yet powerful message highlights the struggle parents endure, as they try to reconcile what has happened, why it happened, and search for hope once again.
Perhaps more than anything, the annual butterfly release helps families realize they are not alone, with PAIL Network they gain the strength of a compassionate, supportive community as they go through their journeys to recovery.
About Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL)
Pail Network is the leading organization in Canada for pregnancy and infant bereavement, serving families and healthcare professionals for 25 years. Previously known as the Perinatal Bereavement Services Ontario, the organization was founded by four bereaved parents who realized that special community support services were needed for families who had experienced the tragic loss of a pregnancy or infant. PAIL network provides much needed resources, workshops, peer led support groups, training and a support hotline for parents and primary healthcare providers. If you are grieving the loss of your baby PAIL network understands and is here to help. To access more resources please visit www.pailnetwork.ca
For event photos, interview requests and more information
Echo Communications Inc.
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL)
Executive Director and Director of Programs
905-472-1807, ext. 5325