Sunday, August 30, 2009

Knitters and Crocheters Needed To Honor Infant Loss

The International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) is trying to call attention to the issue of infant mortality.

They are asking that as many people as possible knit baby hats (preemie or full-term) and send them to their local ICTC chapter by Sept 15th.

September is Infant Mortality Awareness Month. We are drawing attention to infant mortality by knitting or crocheting one baby hat for every baby that did not reach its first birthday.
I am sure many of us in the birth community (and outside it too) have known women whose babies have died and never made it to their first birthday. There are many difficult things in the world, definitely, but this surely has to be one of the hardest.

One of the difficult things about working in the birth community for an extended period of time is that sooner or later, someone you know loses a baby. Several beloved friends of mine have lost babies over the years, mostly to stillbirth, and I honor the memories of these babies. In addition, a dear online friend of mine lost her baby at term just a few months ago, so this is near and dear to my heart in particular right now.

While stillbirth is technically not the same as infant mortality (infant mortality are the babies who die in the first year after being born alive), that's stastistical hair-splitting to me. Yes, I understand the statistical reason for separating these categories, but to me emotionally, a baby's death is a baby's death, and they are all tragic.

Therefore, I still feel I am honoring my friends' stillborn babies by drawing attention to the ICTC project, even though technically they are not part of the infant mortality stats. In addition, I am honoring the babies of other women I know who are part of the official infant mortality stats because they died from SIDS or similar causes. Regardless of cause or timing, I mourn them all and I honor them all.

Here is a link to an organization ( that is working with the ICTC on this project, and which also has links to infant hat patterns right on the site. If you'd like to help but don't have any patterns, be sure to go to the following site and then follow the links:

The same patterns can also be found on the ICTC website at:

Here is the full description of the project from another website:
ICTC is asking every able body to join us in knitting or crocheting at least ten infant hats and sending them to the ICTC State Representative in your state by September 15th.

The ICTC State Representatives are listed on, or you can send them to ICTC, PO Box 11923, Portland, OR 97211.

The hats will be displayed at an infant mortality awareness rally in the week of September 26th. At the end of the public awareness project the hats will be given to infants as “Going Home” gifts when they leave the local NICU units. What a comforting gift to an ill baby and support to worried parents. By participating in the “Heads Up” Campaign, we can increase awareness about the causes of infant mortality and then create the solutions to reduce infant deaths.

The International Center for Traditional Childbearing (ICTC) is an international organization established in 1991, and head quartered in Portland, Oregon. It is an infant mortality prevention, breastfeeding promotion and midwife training organization. The mission is to increase the number black midwives, doulas, and healers, to empower families, in order to reduce maternal and infant mortality. ICTC educates on the causes of infant mortality and provides solutions through education, direct services and training midwives and Full Circle Doula Birth Companion Training.

This campaign is being co-sponsored by Birthing Hands of DC and other supporters. To learn more, visit or call 503.460.9324.

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