Star Legacy Foundation Raises Awareness for Stillborn Babies
26,000 families in the U.S. experience pregnancy loss every year
MOORHEAD, Minn. — The Star Legacy Foundation is raising awareness for pregnancy loss by hosting a 5K event and fundraiser.
One participant in the event, Audra Mikesh, describes how she felt she found out her daughter was stillborn.
“Blank. They told me and I didn’t know what to do. It was a very hard day for everybody,” she said.
Her baby passed away two days before her due date in October of 2016.
“I only have one daughter, when people ask, she’s still there. They ask her age, and I let them know she’s in heaven,” she said.
To bring awareness to stories like Mikesh’s, the Star Legacy Foundation is honoring stillborn babies and raising money for stillbirth research.
Organizers say stillbirth isn’t talked about enough, even though it happens to dozens of families a day.
“71 families go from the excitement of having a new addition to their family to something completely and totally different. That’s a hard transition to make. There’s a stigma around pregnancy loss. It’s a difficult thing to talk about. The more we talk about it, the easier it gets for families,” Jason Pratt with the Star Legacy Foundation said.
“It’s good that people are raising awareness for stillbirth. It’s something that’s not talked about. I was never told that it was something that could happen,” Mikesh said.
She says her advice to other moms who are coping with loss is to talk about what they’re going through.
“Not a lot of people want to talk about their kids. I know after I had [my daughter] Tessa, more people started telling me about their experience. The more you talk about them, it makes them real,” she said.
“Telling your story when you’ve lost a child is really important. It helps keep your child’s memory alive. It helps with healing, feeling like it’s the new normal, that it’s a part of you,” Pratt said.
“It’s been a year and half, the days go better. I still have my hard days. It’s always there. It’s not something you ever really get over,” Mikesh said.
With time, she says coping gets a little easier.
The 5K was started in 2008 by Jason and Tandy Pratt, who lost two baby girls to stillbirth.