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Celebrity case highlights pregnancy and infant loss awareness

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 10:40 PM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month with Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day observed on Oct. 15. The first full month of fall brings attention to a difficult subject. Adding to awareness is the recent experience of a celebrity couple.

One in four women suffers miscarriage loss. Thursday, a reminder of that grim reality came with news from celebrity couple, television personality and model Chrissy Teigen and musician John Legend.

Thursday, Eyewitness News spoke with a local mother who’s faced a similar tragedy and now helps other mothers and families who’ve experienced a lost pregnancy or the death of a newborn.

Ashley Opliger’s daughter Bridget, was stillborn at 24 weeks. For nearly six years, Opliger has been helping women across the country through their grief with her organization, Bridget’s Cradles.

The nonprofit’s volunteers make small cradles that allow families experiencing loss to hold their tiny babies. It also provides help through support groups.

“Helping others has been a huge part of my healing. It’s been one of the biggest parts in my journey," she said.

Opliger said seeing Teigen document her story on social media concerning the loss of her baby, reminded her of Bridget.

“Seeing that photo just broke my heart, brought me back six years,” Opliger said.

She said Teigen being open about her experience could help families with the grieving process and to talk about a topic that once may have seemed taboo for many.

“A lot of times, we don’t talk about what happens and we don’t know how to respond to women who lost their babies,” Opliger said. “It’s a big deal, and understanding that, that’s something that she might need to talk about and just giving her space to feel what she feels for as long as she needs to.”

Wesley Medical Center Maternity Nurse Navigator Morgan Tracy is among those there for patients who leave the hospital without a baby, letting them know they’re not alone. Wesley Perinatal Nurse Navigator Jolinda Kelley is also among the healthcare community there for grieving mothers.

“It’s heartbreaking. It’s never good,” Tracy said. “Our goal with loss is to meet women where they’re at, with this loss. So, wherever they’re at in their grief process, just help them walk through that.”

You can reach Tracy at 316-347-1785 or by email at morgan.tracy@wesleymc.com, or Kelley at 316-204-2728 or at jolinda.kelley@wesleymc.com.

You can learn more about Bridget’s Cradles, the organization’s mission and events on its website.

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