Craig woman offers support to mothers who have lost a baby | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig woman offers support to mothers who have lost a baby

Lauren Blair

Five-year-old Jayden Cox holds up a flag he made for his unborn brother, Jace, with the help of his mother, Kourtney Cox. After her fourth miscarriage, Kourtney created Jace's Memory Boxes and Flags to try to help other mothers who have lost babies.

— Loss and grief are things that every person experiences at some time in their life. For parents who lose a baby, be it born or unborn, that experience of loss can be especially painful and misunderstood.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, dedicated to supporting and providing resources to parents who have lost children because of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirths, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome and other causes.

The month originally was designated by President Ronald Reagan in 1988.

For one Craig mother, this October is an especially tender and important month.

Kourtney Cox has lost four unborn babies in the past four years, the last two during the second trimester.

"It just got harder every time," Cox said. "I don't think I really processed or dealt with the first ones. I think I just kind of blocked it out, but it has to come out eventually."

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Her most recent loss happened in March, when she went in for a checkup 17 weeks into her pregnancy and the doctor couldn't find a heartbeat. She was told her baby was gone, sent home and told to come back in the morning to deliver.

"You feel cheated and the shock — by (the fourth) time, I didn't expect it,” Cox said. “They don't really teach you that one in every 160 births is stillborn, one in every 4 women (experience pregnancy loss). But nobody talks about it because this society has just made it to where nobody talks about babies that die."

According to the American Pregnancy Association, 670,000 women miscarry a pregnancy each year. As many as 15 to 20 percent of all pregnancies end in miscarriage, which is defined as the loss of a pregnancy due to natural causes within the first 20 weeks of pregnancy.

Furthermore, nearly 30,000 babies are stillborn every year, according to the Pregnancy Institute. Stillbirth occurs when a baby dies in its mother's womb after 20 weeks of gestation up to the moment of birth.

"The feelings you experience after an early pregnancy loss are often more intense than most people, including you, might expect," national nonprofit Share said in a pamphlet for mothers who miscarry. "The death of a baby at any stage is a very real loss."

When Cox lost her fourth pregnancy, she found there was very little support available to help her understand and heal from her loss.

"When I was first going through it all in March, there's no support groups, and the one counselor I went to had no experience. There's nobody in this area. So I basically found a lot of my stuff on the Internet, different groups," Cox said.

Her own struggle prompted her to do something to help other parents who experience the loss of a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or other causes.

To honor the child she lost in March, whom she and her family named Jace, she started Jace's Memory Boxes and Flags.

With the help of her 5-year-old son, Jayden, Cox creates handmade flags and boxes filled with mementos and small items to comfort grieving parents. This month, for the first time, she delivered three boxes to The Memorial Hospital to give to patients who experience a miscarriage or loss of an infant.

Cox hopes she can eventually form her efforts into a nonprofit organization to do more to help women who experience losses like hers in Moffat County.

"That's one of my major reasons for doing this," said Cox, who wants women to know they're not alone. "There's resources, there's support, there's hundreds of thousands of women to help you."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1794 or lblair@CraigDailyPress.com.