Maria Mosca and her husband were newlyweds when they found out they were expecting their first child in December 2016. At 22-weeks pregnant at a routine check-up, Maria heard the worst words an expecting mom can hear, “I’m so sorry. There is no heartbeat.” She had never heard the word “stillbirth,” and didn’t know anyone who had lost their baby and had to deliver.

After 11 hours of labor, Lucia was born on May 3, 2017, at 3:24 AM. Lucia was healthy, beautiful, and sucked her thumb just like her mama. She had a cord accident, which caused her stillbirth.

Maria told us, “Saying hello and goodbye in the same day was the hardest thing to do.”

Knowing that she was meant to be a mom, Maria and her husband began to try to get pregnant again. After a year, they sought fertility help. Their rainbow baby was conceived via IVF. On June 21, 2019, their baby boy, Giovanni, was born. Maria said, “Pregnancy after loss was next in line for the hardest thing I ever had to do. I was constantly wondering if this was going to happen again. When would this baby’s heart stop beating?”

Little boy with candle for his angel sister - Finding Community while Pregnant and Parenting after Loss in a Pandemic: Maria’s Story

Photo Credit: Maria Mosca

Fortunately, Maria had an amazing support system of friends and family. She had also found support through a circle of loss moms she had met along her journey, some through the PALS Baltimore Meet-Up, and many of them were pregnant again at the same time she was. She found tremendous support from these fellow loss mamas because they truly understood how hard pregnancy after loss is.

Pregnant mama in rainbow dress holding son - Finding Community while Pregnant and Parenting after Loss in a Pandemic: Maria’s Story

Photo credit: Abbey H Photography

Even after Giovanni was born healthy and alive, the worry stayed. Maria found herself checking frequently to make sure he was still breathing, realizing that the fear of losing a child will never go away.

Then, when her son was nine months old, the pandemic hit.

Maria was devastated, realizing he was going to miss out on so many things and memories. While she knows he will never know, it was hard for her to not be around family.

Maria and Giovanni bump picture - FFinding Community while Pregnant and Parenting after Loss in a Pandemic: Maria’s Story

Photo Credit: Maria Mosca

And, in the midst of the pandemic, she found out she was pregnant again. While pregnancy after loss was the hardest thing since losing her daughter, Lucia, this pregnancy has been even harder due to the pandemic. This pregnancy is not only stressful and anxiety-producing, but it’s also so hard to go to every single appointment alone, without her husband. He is missing out on these appointments and seeing his baby on ultrasound. But, what’s even scarier and harder is the fear of hearing those words again–“I’m sorry, there is no heartbeat”–and being all alone.

Maria is due in April, and she is holding onto hope and praying that this baby will be able to grow up without this pandemic. This pregnancy feels extra lonely, as she can’t be around people to embrace or celebrate this baby.

After Giovanni was born, she had planned to do a group rainbow baby photoshoot with her pregnant and parenting after loss mamas to celebrate their rainbows and acknowledge their babies who died and brought them together. But, when COVID-19 hit, the photoshoot was put on hold and rescheduled several times.

Rainbow mama photo shoot - Pregnant mama in rainbow dress holding son - Finding Community while Pregnant and Parenting after Loss in a Pandemic: Maria’s Story

Photo Credit: Abbey H Photography

But, finally, in October, they came together, masked, to celebrate their friendship and their babies.

Maria’s photographer, Abbey H Photography, brought Maria’s vision to life, and it was a beautiful way to honor these courageous mams and all of their babies.

Pregnant mama in rainbow dress holding son - Finding Community while Pregnant and Parenting after Loss in a Pandemic: Maria’s Story

Photo Credit: Abbey H Photography

Maria is so grateful for these friends, many of who she met through Pregnancy After Loss Support. Some of those same mamas who were pregnant at the same time she was pregnant with Giovanni are now pregnant with her again. It’s so special to have these connections and support.

Lucia's Christmas ornaments - Finding Community while Pregnant and Parenting after Loss in a Pandemic: Maria’s Story

Photo Credit: Maria Mosca

As the holidays approach and the pandemic continues, Maria is thinking about her daughter, Lucia.

She would be three this year, and Maria thinks she would be so looking forward to Santa coming and bringing her baby dolls. They remember their daughter by hanging her stocking and ornaments each year.

Lucia's stocking - Finding Community while Pregnant and Parenting after Loss in a Pandemic: Maria’s Story

Photo Credit: Maria Mosca

Maria wants to tell courageous mamas pregnant after loss during the pandemic, “Hang in there. Keep fighting. The end is all worth it, and we have each other to lean on.”

And, she wants those who love someone who is pregnant after loss in a pandemic to know, “Pregnancy after loss during a pandemic is very lonely. We need to be checked on. Most of the time, we aren’t okay. With the pandemic going on our worries intensify on all the what-ifs for our baby, and how everything will be planned out for the birth. ”

Thank you so much to Maria for sharing her story with us and for the gorgeous photos taken by Abbey H Photography.

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Help PALS continue to support mamas who are pregnant after loss during the pandemic by giving to our What Would I Give Holiday Fundraising Campaign. Set up a recurrent monthly donation of $9 (for the nine months of pregnancy after loss), or make a one-time donation of $40 (for the 40 weeks of pregnancy after loss). Donate now.

Are you pregnant after loss during the pandemic and need extra support or resources? Join one of our Facebook peer-to-peer support groups and see these articles:

Are you parenting after loss during the pandemic and need extra support or resources? Join our Parenting after Loss Facebook peer-to-peer support group and see these articles:

Are you supporting a loved one who is pregnant or parenting after loss during the pandemic? Here are some ways you can help:

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