Event offers healing and self-care for mothers who have lost a baby


Orange-based nonprofit Forever Footprints hosted its annual Nurture to Remember event Tuesday, where 100 women gathered at the Venue by Three Petals in Huntington Beach for a day of self-care and celebration.

The event created an atmosphere of support and community with beauty services, meditation, yoga and art for those who have struggled with infertility, miscarriage and infant loss.

Women received facials, massages and manicures, took yoga classes, ate appetizers and created arts and crafts at multiple stations.

The nonprofit’s executive director, Brateil Aghasi, formed an “affirmation circle,” leading breathing exercises, stretches and positive mantras.

“We’re facing this together with genuine love and strength,” Aghasi said. “Forever Footprints is there for you 365 days.”

Stillbirth affects about 24,000 or 1% of pregnancies annually in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

That is about the same number of babies who die during the first year of life and 10 times Sudden Infant Death Syndrome totals, according to the CDC.

Participants were encouraged to bring a friend or come alone. For many, the pre-Mother’s Day event offered an opportunity to focus on themselves and empathize with others who experienced similar hardships.

Mayra Bejarano of Corona got involved in 2015 after her baby, Ivan, arrived stillborn at 30 weeks.

“They’ve been my emotional support,” she said of the nonprofit, wiping away tears.

In addition to emotional support, Forever Footprints provided Bejarano with a “memory box” containing molds of Ivan’s hands and feet and a preemie outfit to help create positive memories.

Bejarano attends the nonprofit’s monthly support group for grieving parents.

“It’s very hard to talk about child loss, but this unique club gives us a chance to talk about what may be uncomfortable,” Bejarano said.

Mayte Hernandez of Santa Ana received an oxygen facial provided by Facialworks of Newport Beach. Hernandez has participated in the nonprofit’s events for the past two years.

“Child loss is a touchy subject — nobody wants to talk about it,” she said. “But having an organization that understands what you’re going through helps.”

Twitter: @vegapriscella