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Count the kicks: Meet the 12 mums who have bared their bumps after the death of a baby to raise awareness of stillbirths
When Sophia Mason lost her baby daughter due to a tragic stillbirth, she knew she wanted to do something to help other mums avoid such a tragedy.
She and twelve brave friends have all bared their bumps for a poignant calendar to emphasise the important of feeling your unborn baby kicking.
Their campaign called ‘Count the Kicks’ aims to help raise awareness of medical conditions during pregnancy which can lead to the tragedy of stillbirth.
Kelly Bennett poses for May with beautiful yellow butterflies painted all over her pregnant bump
Mei-Yun poses for January with a Chinese dragon painted in a circle on her bump in orange and green
Deborah Cunnane poses for April with a rainbow coloured bump
Miss Mason, 36, tragically lost her
own baby daughter Chloe after her placenta failed a week before she was
due to give birth.
her own campaign helped save the life of her baby son George – who was
delivered by emergency caesarian after his heartbeat slowed to dangerous
Miss Mason, who
lives with her partner Dan Wyatt, a firefighter, in Guildford, Surrey,
said: ‘George’s heartbeat started to slow down, which was a sign of my
because of the campaign, I knew it was a danger sign as I hadn’t felt
him kick. If I hadn’t gone straight to hospital it would have been
‘The campaign helped to save his life and I want to help other lives to be saved too.’
Mason, 35, stunned medics when she first fell pregnant with her
daughter Chloe in 2009, as she had lost both her legs to meningitis at
the age of 16.
Kirsten Gilett poses for October with a pumkpin while Sarah Wilkinson who is July strikes an Olympic-themed pose complete with Union Jack and a football as her bump
The 12 mothers taking part in the calendar pose in just bras and pants adorned with the words Count The Kicks
The disease destroyed not only her
dreams of being a ski instructor, but she also thought she would never
be a mum after doctors told her that the disease may have taken a
devastating toll on her body.
Mason, a makeup artist, said: ‘When I did manage to survive meningitis,
the doctors said there could possibly be problems with me getting
pregnant in the future, as my body had been so battered by the disease.
was something that has always worried me as I have a really strong
maternal instinct and I always wanted children of my own one day.
Janet Shields poses for March in a poignant black and white photo a child hugging her bump
Isabel Turkington for June Stephanie Boyd for September
Joanna Stage poses with rose petals in striking black and white photo for February
The calendar has now sold over a thousand copies and has managed to raise 40,000
‘When I discovered I was pregnant I was thrilled. I couldn’t believe I was actually going to be a mum.’
At 39 weeks pregnant, tragedy struck when Miss Mason was told that her baby had no heartbeat.
She said: ‘I hadn’t felt the baby move for two days and when I was scanned at the hospital it showed there was no heartbeat. We were absolutely devastated.’
Sophia Mason with newborn son George. She was helped by her own campaign as was aware when he wasn’t kicking that he was in trouble
When Sophia Mason lost her baby daughter due to a tragic stillbirth, she knew she wanted to do something to help other mums avoid such a tragedy
Miss Mason then started researching stillbirths on the internet and discovered there were more than 4000 cases a year in the UK.
She said: ‘I was horrified when I realised how many babies were dying like this. I learned that it was not normal for a baby to move less during late pregnancy, and I hadn’t been told this, so I felt really uninformed.’
‘I spoke to other mums who had suffered stillbirths too. They had also been confused about what to worry about and afraid to bother their midwives.
‘I was desperate to change this, and knew that I needed to do something about it.’
So Miss Mason started her Count the
Kicks Campaign to explain about common warning signs. She set up a
Facebook page and within several months had more than 5,000 mums join
She said: ‘I wanted to
urge expectant mums to notice what’s normal and if anything changes to
call their midwife. Some mums contacted me to say that without my
information, their babies wouldn’t be here today.’
A few months later Miss Mason discovered she was pregnant again for a second time.
Alysha New poses for November in a stunning rainbow coloured scarf in a black background
Charlotte Dennison poses fully clothed for August with an ice cream next to Brighton peer
said: ‘I was anxious and monitored my baby’s every move. Then when I
was 36 weeks pregnant I felt the baby had stopped moving. I was
terrified I was going to lose this baby too.’
Miss Mason went to hospital and doctors discovered that the baby’s heartbeat was slowing. She was given an emergency caesarian and her baby George was delivered, weighing 6Ib8.
She said: ‘Tests later showed that my placenta had been failing which had caused George’s heartbeat to slow down. The doctors told me it could have proved fatal if I hadn’t noticed it when I did.
‘So it was thanks to my Count the Kicks campaign that I noticed it when I did.’
Miss Mason then decided to produce the Beautiful Bumps calendar and twelve brave mums came forward to show their bumps for the calendar.
The calendar has now sold over a thousand copies and has managed to raise 40,000.
Miss Mason said ‘George is now seven months old is a happy little boy. But its thanks to his sister Chloe that we are saving lives – and it saved his too.’
For more information about the calendar visit www.countthekicks.org.uk