Linda Cichon: Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Month — it takes a community to heal

Together, we can improve the health of our community, one family at a time.

Since I lost my baby more than 30 years ago, every part of who I am and what I do has changed. Loss like this can bring lifelong trauma to a mother and her family, but also heightened awareness of life – how precious it is and how fragile it is.

Driven to support women who have suffered the same loss that I did, for more than 20 years, I have worked at Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County (HMHB), including in my current role as the organization’s executive director. HMHB is committed to reducing the infant mortality rate by developing programs and services for low-income pregnant and parenting families and supporting women who have experienced loss.

Tragically, in Broward County, more than 300 babies will die each year before their first birthday. There are many factors that can lead to the death of a baby, including birth defects, pregnancy complications, and preterm birth.

While Broward County’s overall infant mortality rate is lower than most counties, our preterm birth rate remains high. For Black women, that rate is 56% higher than for other ethnicities.

This month is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month – a time to honor and remember the lives of children lost during pregnancy or infancy and the mothers who were changed forever by this loss.

My experience taught me that the road to healing isn’t a singular act – it involves a whole community of friends, families, neighbors, and supporters. That’s one of the reasons we developed our annual free and open-to-the-public Forget Me Not Memorial Event to demonstrate that each person in Broward County benefits when we care about each other.

Beyond the support of those close to the mothers we serve, we rely on the support from our community partners to expand our work. The MolinaCares Accord and Molina Healthcare of Florida recently invested $700,000 to improve health outcomes for underserved Floridians. This included a donation benefitting several HMHB initiatives like The Mahogany Project, a health education program to support high-risk pregnant women in low-income parts of our community. Support like that from Molina allows us to continue targeting risk factors and fill gaps where services are not meeting the challenges.

In the last year, the program provided resources and more than 1,300 hours of education to over 50 predominantly Black mothers-to-be. We are proud to say all babies whose mothers participated in this program over the past four years celebrated their first birthday. This is the most important metric of success in our work.

During a time when our social fabric may seem tenuous and fraying, we are always and eternally connected by our shared existence and humanity.

Together, we can improve the health of our community, one family at a time.


Linda Cichon serves as the director of finance of Healthy Mothers, Healthy Babies Coalition of Broward County, Inc. a 501(c)3 organization whose mission is strengthening families and improving birth outcomes in the underserved community within Broward County through comprehensive programs, education, and access to vital support services.

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