YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – The month of October brings about awareness for many different things. However, many don’t know that October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“I’ve lost two babies — one at five weeks and one at 10 and a half,” said Jessica Dell of Mineral Ridge.
Dell has experienced a mother’s worst nightmare twice. She says losing her first baby was extremely isolating.
“With my first loss, there was not really like anybody I knew to talk to. I was like, it was very lonely and isolating, and the people that I was close to didn’t really know what to say or they hadn’t been in that position before,” she said.
Dell says reaching out to people for help didn’t happen. She says, even with her husband, she felt alone. After some time, she found herself at Deanna Slifka’s office for grief counseling.
“The grief process for those that are mourning and grieving an infant or a pregnancy loss is a little bit different than traditional ways of grieving,” Slifka said.
Slifka lost her own child on the day of her scheduled C-section.
Her baby girl Sophia was the reasoning for starting Sophia’s Wings, a non-profit organization that provides counseling and support groups to families that have experienced this type of loss.
Her main goal is for families to know they aren’t alone.
“Statistics are one in four. One in four will lose a baby, and that’s huge,” Slifka said.
Slifka wanted to offer free counseling to families because that’s what she received while going through her loss. She wants to help women like Dell on their journey.
“The gift that she offers to families is incredible,” Dell said.
Dell and Slifka want people to understand the sadness some people have to endure as well as asking mothers about their babies.
“Most of us want you to talk about our babies or just ask about our babies ’cause it makes us feel good because our worst fear is being forgotten,” Dell said.
Both mothers believe loss children should be remembered throughout the entire year, not just October.
Sophia’s Wings is located at 189 Churchill Hubbard Rd. in Youngstown. For more information, you can reach them at 330-540-4037. They offer individual counseling, support groups and access to more resources