Advocates for Change
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Being involved with Count the Kicks has given me a place to put all the energy that I had planned to use for my son, Qasem into advocacy in his honor. I didn’t understand what a stillbirth was until he lost his heartbeat, I was admitted into the hospital to be induced, and they handed me a pamphlet entitled “stillbirth.”
I was enraged that I was never warned that this could be a possible outcome of pregnancy. I knew the chances of miscarriage, but after the first trimester, you were supposed to be safe. In my mind, there was no doubt that I would be taking my baby home in three weeks time. So If I, being a first-time mom that read and prepared for everything had no clue, then there had to be others that didn’t know either.
I had asked about kick counting because it was mentioned in my pregnancy apps, and was told if baby was active that it “wasn’t necessary.” That kick counting is saved for high-risk mothers, and I was as low risk as they come. But low-risk doesn’t mean no risk. I’ve met so many others whose stories sound just like mine. So I knew I had to share his story. Others had to know this could happen, and that there was a way to possibly prevent this outcome.
There have been so many times in my journey through grief, re-living moments and thinking “what if,” that drove me crazy. The biggest one being that I wish I had known this was a possibility. We had known a few friends that had gone through this, but I never knew or understood what happened, and I respectfully understood why they chose to keep it private.
That is why I chose to become what I wish I had. I told Qasem’s story to all our friends on social media; I am constantly reminding every pregnant friend to count their kicks in the third trimester (specifically to download the app), and I hand out app cards to random pregnant women I see out and about. All things I wish I had seen someone else do.
Count the Kicks is an incredible organization that has given me the opportunity to speak to nurses, doctors, politicians, and more. They give me a platform to continue to say Qasem’s name and tell his story. To spread awareness of how incredibly important it is to give this information to pregnant women.
The reasoning we’ve heard as to why stillbirth is not discussed with prenatal patients is that it’s “too scary.” We shouldn’t be treating prenatal patients as delicate flowers; we need to arm them with the information they need to feel empowered in their pregnancy, not afraid.
While we never got a chance to raise Qasem, he taught us more in his short life than we could have ever imagined. He made me a mother and an advocate.