It’s one of the traditions of modern-day motherhood: the baby book.
Mothers document the moment they discovered they were pregnant and carefully fill out the family tree.
But one Minnesota author’s new book tries to find a way for women to honor the babies that didn’t make it, creating a memorial baby book for parents who suffer a pregnancy loss.
One page is titled “Something’s changed.” On it is the prompt: “When I first knew something was not as I expected I was [blank] weeks and [blank] days pregnant.”
Margaret Scofield, the author behind the book “I Love You Still,” was inspired by her friend, Ann Pearson, who lost her daughter to miscarriage when she was 10 weeks pregnant.
“They ended up [doing an] ultrasound and [we heard] those dreaded words of ‘we didn’t find a heartbeat,'” Pearson told local NBC news affiliate KARE11.
Months later, Pearson told Scofield about her miscarriage. Immediately, Scofield wanted to do something.
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“When I got off the phone … I wanted to send her some form of comfort,” she told TODAY Parents. “And maybe this wouldn’t happen to everybody, but I just looked for a baby book online.”
She couldn’t find one for miscarriages.
“There are so many options for pregnancies with favorable outcomes … so I assumed there would be options for the one in four women who miscarry,” she said. “I just resolved that I would write the book because I couldn’t find one.”
The book is specifically designed for events and emotions that come after miscarriage, stillbirth or newborn loss. The prompts inside the pages help parents navigate their loss, and document the memories they have.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 10 to 20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage, and the actual number might be even higher since women often don’t know they are pregnant when they lose the baby. Most miscarriages happen before the 12th week of pregnancy.
Scofield said she worked with doctors and non-profits to write the book, which includes a list of resources for grieving parents.
Pearson said the book helped her process her loss.
“I can’t even tell you how healing this has been, because it’s just an outlet for me, to just have proof that she existed,” Pearson told KARE11. “You know, this is my proof.”
Pearson told KARE11 the book also serves as a way of remembering and honoring her daughter Riley.
“She would have been four. She would have been going into preschool this fall,” she said. “This (book) slides in right next to my other kids’ (baby books) and it looks really similar to theirs. And then I know — I’m a mom of four.”
Scofield said she has been overwhelmed by the demand for her book; it is entirely self-published and she has had a hard time keeping up with orders. She said she’s mailed books to at least 17 countries and it’s No. 12 on Amazon Baby Journals.
“Because of the nature of the book, when someone wants it and can’t get it, I feel really bad about that,” she explained. She pulled money out of savings to publish it — including winnings she earned on “Wheel of Fortune” — and is hoping to find an agent and publisher.
“I just kind of had to keep chugging along,” she said. “Truly this is an absolute labor of love.”