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Katy Moms Push Empty Strollers in D.C. to Support Stillbirth Education, Legislation


November 1, 2022

By Natalie Cook Clark

Some Katy moms joined over 1,000 mothers in Washington D.C. to push empty strollers and raise awareness for stillborn children.

Jenifer Franklin and Katie Moore push empty strollers at The Big Push D.C. walk event. Photo credit: Jenifer Franklin.

Katy mom Jenifer Franklin wants others to understand stillbirths and wants lawmakers to pass bills to help stop preventable stillbirths. She joined over 1,000 mothers recently for The Big Push walk event in Washington D.C. The event hosted by a group of organizations who like Franklin, want change.

23,000 Children Lost Each Year

According to The Big Push website, 23,000 children are lost each year to potentially preventable stillbirths. The moms all pushed empty strollers past the steps of Congress to raise awareness and ask for change.

Photo credit: Jenifer Franklin

“People just don't want to talk about it and therefore it doesn't get any attention,” says Jenifer Franklin. “More babies die each year stillborn than from drowning, car seat accidents, SIDS, premature, cancer, guns, flu etc. We spend so much time and money putting fences around our pools and making sure our car seats are in right, but we don't put that same effort into getting them here alive. That is messed up.”

By definition, a stillbirth is a pregnancy loss after 20 gestational weeks. 65 American babies are born still each day. According to The Big Push, 75% of U.S. stillbirths are believed to be preventable. The U.S. currently ranks 183rd in the Average Rate of Reduction of Stillbirth (ARR) out of 195 countries.

“I had no idea that something like this could happen,” says Franklin, who delivered her baby girl Madison stillborn at term December 7, 1997. “I had done everything right and then she was gone. We didn’t just lose our daughter that day, it was the loss of life as we knew it and I felt alone. It felt like someone put me in a boat out to sea by myself.”

Congress is Working on Bills to Help

Congress is working to pass bills to have more money specifically allocated for infant loss and prevention. Franklin hopes that more information can be given to expectant mothers on threats such as toxoplasmosis from litter boxes and other signs the could lead to stillbirth.

“Madison would be 25 in just a few months and sadly there has not been much improvement in society when it comes to this,” says Franklin. “That is very disappointing to me, and me and my friend Katie are going to try and bring support back to Katy, because right now there is no active support group for bereaved parents.”

Franklin is glad that she and her friend attended the walk.

“It reminded us that there is still a lot of work to be done in memory of our girls, and that we need to get to it,” says Franklin. “So many recent losses, and your heart just aches for them because you know they are wondering if they will survive this grief.”


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