Two months after the death of his infant daughter, Conservative MP Tom Kmiec rose in the House of Commons on Monday to urge members to “hug your kids.”
In a statement made just prior to question period, Kmiec — who represents the riding of Calgary Shepard — marked National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day by thanking fellow parliamentarians for their support as his family grieved the loss of their six-week-old daughter in August.
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“Over the summer, my family said goodbye to our youngest daughter, Lucy-Rose, after only 39 days,” Kmiec began before thanking the doctors, police, nurses and Canadians who supported the family throughout the experience.
“Too often, we prize a long life of achievements over life well lived, filling the hearts of those around us with warmth and compassion. On this day, let us grieve. Grieve for the parents who have lost a child as well as the siblings who have lost a lifelong best friend. Next time you’re home, hug your kids. If they’re old and have their own, hug them anyway – even if they protest. Life is too short and none of us know when our time will come.”
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Kmiec and his wife, Evangeline, had said in a statement in August that their daughter had been diagnosed with the chromosomal disorder Trisomy 13.
According to Toronto’s SickKids Hospital, half of babies with the condition die within the first few days to weeks of life.
Only a small percentage survive beyond their first birthday.
Kmiec’s statement prompted a standing ovation from all sides of the House of Commons.
Speaker Geoff Regan rose as he finished to express his own support as well.
“I think he can see that the love and support of the parliamentary family are with him and his family,” he told Kmiec.
National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day is also known as National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
It aims to spark conversations about infant loss and miscarriage.
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada estimates 15 to 20 per cent of Canadian pregnancies end in miscarriage.