• Cathleen holds her newborn baby Margot

The Power of Mom-to-Mom Sharing

  • KimberlyIsburg
  • 03.11.21

At Count the Kicks, we were thrilled to receive news that baby Margot near Cincinnati, Ohio, made it here safely earlier this year. So many factors made her safe arrival possible — Count the Kicks posters and brochures in her mom’s OB office, Ohio Department of Health making Count the Kicks education possible throughout Ohio, the Count the Kicks app, and a mom, Cathleen, who was in tune with her body and her baby and spoke up when she noticed something was off. 

There’s another powerful element to this story — the element of mom-to-mom sharing — that helped Cathleen take a change in movement seriously. Because she followed Amanda, of Minnesota, on Instagram, Amanda became the voice in Cathleen’s head to go in and get checked out when she noticed something had changed.

We all have the power to be that voice in someone’s head — to encourage them to pay attention to movement and speak up if there’s a change. This is their remarkable story, spanning two states, as written by Amanda.

“My daughter Juniper was unexpectedly stillborn at full term. Nothing I will ever do will bring her back. I truly think had I been educated of the importance of counting kicks and monitoring baby’s movements, that my daughter could be alive in my arms. As such, I have made it a personal mission to do what I can to prevent other moms from enduring the death of their child before their birth.

Since Juniper’s death, I have become an outspoken advocate for preventing stillbirth on my Instagram account and share frequently about the importance of counting the kicks and paying attention to baby’s movements. I am forever fighting the myth that ‘babies run out of room,’ something I mistakenly believed while pregnant with my first child.

The only time baby’s movement was discussed by my providers was as they were discharging me from my biweekly checks, in the most unconcerning way ‘call us if baby’s movement changes.’ Especially since Juniper was growth restricted and I was under such close monitoring, I felt like I didn’t need to pay attention to her movements and patterns. I really wished I had known the opposite. 

When I woke up to Cathleen’s messages that Margot was born alive, and with a true knot in her umbilical cord, I was floored. I was in shock; I was in tears. I was so, so, so grateful that she is here. If Juniper can’t be here, the next best thing is making sure other babies get to be here alive.

I’m so glad she followed my posts and trusted herself to go in to get checked even though she had just been in a few days prior with a passing biophysical score. Even though we live states away and we’ve never met. But she felt her baby had slowed down, and there ended up being a clear reason for that. 

It’s so wild to me. There’s this mentality with our society that we don’t want to ‘scare pregnant women’ by talking to them about possible bad pregnancy outcomes. Yet, every time you fly on a commercial airline, the possibility of an airplane crash is discussed, planned for, and everything is done to prevent it. No one talks about these safety demonstrations as unnecessarily ‘scaring passengers.’

Our prenatal providers need to be as brave as these pilots and flight attendants, an emergency plan thought out and shared, discussed at every appointment. Preventative measures should be shared and followed. Why can’t we do this with pregnancy? Why isn’t the very real possibility of stillbirth discussed and preventative measures shared and followed? 

If you are pregnant or know someone who is, next time you chat, share with them the importance of counting kicks and monitoring baby’s movements. Dispel the myth that ‘babies run out of room.’ Especially in COVID times, appointments aren’t happening as frequently, things are rushed, and there is additional worry surrounding going in for extra checks. All of these things mean it is all the more important to be cognizant of your baby’s movements and patterns and to go in if anything feels off. 

Your providers may not say it every time, but I will: going in could save your baby’s life and spare you a lifetime of grief and heartbreak. If movements decrease or change, do not hesitate to call and go in.” 

If you want to read more about Juniper’s story, connect with Amanda on Instagram at her handle @orangeafmama. To learn more about the importance of kick counting during the third trimester of pregnancy, please visit our Academy for Parents page.

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