Remarks to the Cobb County Commission, Sept. 22, 2020

As prepared for delivery.

Chairman Boyce, Commissioner Ott and members of the Cobb County Commission thank you for the opportunity to be here today.

I would be lying if I said I was excited about the need for a resolution to commemorate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. It’s a month that shouldn’t exist, but sadly it does. But, taking a moment to reflect and remember means a lot to those who have lost a child.

Anyone who has experienced such a loss knows there are not a lot of answers. My wife, Ruth, and I found that out three years ago when we lost our son.

We began by asking a simple question: “Why?” We quickly learned people don’t like that question, and they have no answers.

Sadly, those who have encountered this tragedy know that death is just the beginning. Parents experience a range of problems after a child’s death, and those problems follow them everywhere they go. They must face it every day.

Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Georgia Department of Public Health show infant loss remains a serious issue.

In Georgia, in 2018, there were 888 infant deaths. Georgia ranked No. 7 nationally with a rate of 7 deaths per 1,000 live births. We can do better.

I recognize we’re not going to solve the problem here today, but we can’t expect to tackle an issue if we don’t first recognize it as a problem. I hope resolutions like this will go a long way to shining a light on a problem that plagues far too many people locally and nationally.

We can’t speak for everyone who has lost a child, but we can say we appreciate your action to declare October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Let’s hope it’s a month we will no longer have to commemorate sometime soon.