March of Dimes has always been there for the most vulnerable. Right now, our country faces a serious maternal and infant health crisis that affects far too many moms and babies. These families share an unspoken connection through their struggles, battles, wins and losses.
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Diane’s journey to pregnancy was full of setbacks.
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Too many parents like Azeem and Marise experience the heartbreak of loss.
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After a miscarriage and numerous fertility treatments, she finally got pregnant with her first child in her forties. While overjoyed at being pregnant, she was at high-risk and constantly in fear of losing the baby. Suddenly, at 28 weeks and 5 days—during the global pandemic—her son was born by emergency C-section. “It was scary with COVID because they only allowed one parent at a time,” Diane said.
After their first pregnancy ended in a miscarriage at 11 weeks, they were devastated. They then went on to have two more losses—one at 19 weeks and another at 29 weeks.
“You never think that this is going to happen to you,” Marise says. She and
The beginning was rough for her. Her mental health had been managed for years, but she was diagnosed with hyperemesis gravidarum, which is severe nausea and vomiting during pregnancy, preventing her from taking mental health medication. Knowing that his wife is struggling isn’t easy for Kurt either.
“And since I wanted to breastfeed, that meant it was going to be me.”
After multiple complications and 93 days in the NICU, her son could go home. Now he's healthy and progressing. Diane’s grateful for all the NICU nurses and the doctors who taught her how to take care of him.
Diane wants other parents with babies in the NICU to know they’re not alone. By sharing her story, she hopes she’ll inspire others to reach out and get support. “Even if it makes them feel a little better for one day,” she said, “it'll be worth it.”
Azeem felt that most people didn’t acknowledge how big of an impact their losses had on them. “A lot of people do think that you're just supposed to get over it,” Marise adds. They found ways to try to support each other and also support others who have gone through this as well.
Even through all of this, Marise and Azeem didn’t give up hope of having children—a couple of years ago, they gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby girl. And they just recently gave birth to their second daughter. They want other parents who are experiencing this type of loss to know that they’re not alone. “Whatever you're feeling, there's no right or wrong to it,” Marise says. “Take it one day at a time and give yourself so much grace because you deserve it.”
Tell your story in a community of support that gives voice to experiences that are not always heard, from the joys of parenting to the heartbreak of loss.
Jordan and her husband Kurt are at 27 weeks in their pregnancy.
“Emotionally it's been a struggle,” he says. “But we're in it together so we just put a smile on every day and just support each other.”
She can’t overstate the importance of having access to constant care. She spoke to her physicians almost daily—and she feels lucky. “My physicians all communicated with me back and forth on a daily basis,” she says. “But if I didn’t have that support or access to that support, I really don't know where we would be in this journey.”
By sharing her story, Jordan hopes that other pregnant people will see that her situation is common and that there is help. “I know going through it, I wasn't finding a lot of people who identified with how I was feeling,” she says. “I just hope that someone realizes that there are other women like you and you're going to make it through just like we are.”
Discover more families and individuals whose stories inspire us every day.