Home»Op-Ed»Don’t Take The Babies

Don’t Take The Babies

By Published On: 14 July 2011Last Updated: 13 July 2020

Do they feel? Do they grieve? Do they care if their families stay together? I did, I do.

Table of Contents

I was 19 when I found out I was pregnant, still a child myself- not that you could have told me that then.

The pregnancy was unexpected, though how could it be if I was having unprotected sex? I was foolish.

Even so, I wasn’t unhappy about the baby. I love children. I spent many years as a young adult taking care of them babysitting, after spending my childhood practicing on dolls. Becoming a mother was a dream of mine, one I couldn’t wait to fulfill.

The pregnancy wasn’t kind to me. I spent every waking moment sick, unable to keep down any genera of food. I was young and had no idea how to care for my pregnant body; it was challenging to continue my healthy, active lifestyle. Regardless, I was excited about the baby and planned for his/her arrival like any expectant mother would.

I was amazed at how my body changed to accommodate the growing baby.

I can clearly remember the feeling of the first flutter of life inside my belly- how the baby would respond to certain foods, sounds (songs- my baby liked heavy metal), and my own emotions. I remember the fat ankles too, don’t get me wrong, but there is a sacredness to pregnancy- joy.

We can create life, breath- carry it in our bodies, care for it, nurture it so that we can bring it into this world.

What a gift.

It was a special time; my brother’s wife had announced that they were also expecting their first child- our children would be born two months apart.  We couldn’t wait. My family was overjoyed.

Today is my son’s 16th birthday. It’s hard to think that it’s been 16 years already; time has a funny way of making things appear to happen in the blink of an eye. My brother also had a son, and they were indeed born two months apart- almost to the day. My nephew has grown into a fine young man, 16 this year as his cousin would have been.

My son, you see, my son died the day he was born.

There are reasons, explanations, medical terms that describe what happened to my son- they’re just words. None of them will change what happened; nothing can. Jonathon, my son, was full term and was born several days before my due date and two days after his father’s birthday. Circumstances meant that I was forced to have a natural birth, knowing that my son was already gone.

I didn’t know then and still struggle with now, how to cope with the loss of my first (and only) child. My son was baptized the day he was born, with my family surrounding me. We took turns holding him, trying to absorb a lifetime of love from a child we’d never get to know. We took pictures; we held his tiny hands in ours- amazed at the small fingers and toes.

But it couldn’t last, and I knew that I would have to call the nurse to come and get my son eventually. I would have to call her, and once I did, I would never hold my son again.

I don’t know if I’ve ever made a more difficult call when I pushed the button for the nurse. The time I spent with my son seemed to go by in a split second, it wasn’t enough- but my time was up. When the nurse came, I had a hard time letting go.  And when I finally let go, I collapsed.

My heart simply broke.

I mourn the loss of my child every day. There is nothing, nothing that I wouldn’t give to be able to have him here with me. I will never forget the life that I created and brought into this world. I never had the opportunity to mother my child, but I am a mother.

I imagine that cows, chickens, pigs, horses, birds, deer, raccoons, squirrels, and any animal that creates life, bring it into this world, would feel the same if they lost a child. I imagine that their grief is as painful as mine.  And like me, I doubt that these mothers ever forget their children no matter how many years pass.

We must stop taking babies from their parents, never to be seen again. Canine, feline, farm animal, exotic or otherwise- these animals create life, families.

There have been studies on the sentience of animals; do they feel, do they grieve, do they care if the family stays together?

For myself, I don’t need to read a single one of them to know that losing a child hurts. Human or non-human, children are simply children to their parents.


  1. […] here is a neat infographic, my favorite article about the mother-child connection called Don’t Take the Babies, a similar article called Veganism is For Mothers,  and Ari Solomon’s The Feminist’s […]

  2. Susan July 15, 2012 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    Thank you for making this connection. I found out that my son, Leif had passed away when my labour started. It will be 5 years in November. I remember making that call as well. I have bee told by crisis workers that there is no deeper pain than that of a parent who outlives their child. More people need to understand this; thank you for helping to spread the message. Much love and light. xx

  3. Maureen October 15, 2011 at 1:17 pm - Reply

    I can only try to imagine what you went through. You are so right in that every mother (human or otherwise ) feels the same. Thank you for sharing this. x

  4. Sarah August 4, 2011 at 6:12 pm - Reply

    Oh, thank you for writing this- it was so brave of you. So so sad for your loss KD, (we have lost 4 babies to miscarriage but are very lucky to have our three wonderful vegan children) and really admire you for making this important point.
    Love, Sarah

  5. Hope July 18, 2011 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Wow. What a heart wrenching yet very important post. Thank you for writing it.

  6. Ann LaGoy July 17, 2011 at 7:29 pm - Reply

    With a loss like this, it seems one second and 100 years at all times. I’m so sorry, KD.

  7. Rhea July 15, 2011 at 12:49 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss. It is so generous of you to share this beautiful tribute of love with us. Sending out lots of love and comfort to you.

  8. Jeri Taira July 14, 2011 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Wow KD. To put our heart on this page and share your words with us is an amazing privilege for me.

    I lost my child in pregnancy 22 yrs ago. I was 24. I can only tell you that a day will come when you’ll find joy in having had carried your son over those few months. It took me a long while. I still think of her, but now I smile at the beauty of having had her in me.

    Nobody can tell you how long or short a time it will take. It’s your heart, your son, and your experience.

    My prayers for the ease of your pain will be constant and filled with love for you. Today, I celebrate the gift of you and your beautiful words though sorrowful.

    Always in my heart,

  9. Marion July 14, 2011 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    great post. not much else to do or say as I can’t even begin to imagine your loss.
    big hug your way… and imaginary cookies

  10. Daria July 14, 2011 at 5:37 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this, KD. I am sorry for your loss.

  11. Elizabeth July 14, 2011 at 2:36 pm - Reply

    My heart aches for you and I can’t stop crying. Thank you for sharing this.

  12. jlschubert July 14, 2011 at 2:28 pm - Reply

    I am so, so sorry for your loss. My heart breaks for you. What a wonderful model of love and compassion you are.

  13. Celeste July 14, 2011 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Thank you for sharing Jonathon’s story. What a gift of love these sweet babies provide us when they are here and gone in an instant. His memory lives on in your heart. As a mother to a stillborn baby boy Oliver, your experience of recognizing the parallels between losing a baby with other species is so true. If only others would make this obvious connection. Thank you for sharing your son’s beautiful life with the world.


  14. Leinana July 14, 2011 at 1:29 pm - Reply

    As someone expecting her first baby right now, your story hit me really hard. I can’t stop weeping for your loss. Thank you for sharing though, and thank you for making the connection between human and non-human mothers… even though I was already vegan, since becoming pregnant I have thought even more about the pain and anguish that the non-human mothers, like dairy cows, must go through when their babies are cruelly taken away from them. Life is to be cherished and never taken for granted, or exploited. Thank you again. xo

  15. Taryn July 14, 2011 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    This post has me in tears. I’m so sorry for the loss you have felt but thank you for sharing your story. I wish more people could understand that this is how animal feel when their young are taken from them… maybe more people need to experience a loss like this to truly understand, though I can’t imagine that’s a pain you could wish on anyone.

  16. Nod To Style July 14, 2011 at 1:24 pm - Reply

    wow, how incredibly powerful this is. so so sorry for your loss.

  17. Sarah July 14, 2011 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    I am so sorry for your loss. Even though it’s been 16 years I can’t imagine the pain you still feel. Thank you sharing this beautiful yet painful story with us, it truly touch my heart!

  18. Chubby Vegan July 14, 2011 at 1:06 pm - Reply

    This is stunningly beautiful, heartfelt, and emotional. I have so much love for you and now I have so much more.

    Bless your heart today and always. XOXO

  19. Leonardo Mendel July 14, 2011 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    Hey KD, sometimes we just don’t know reasons why wrote a post, or in my case, how to react… thank you for this beautiful gesture of sharing the love you always had for life, human or not. When we say, ‘I knew it!’ arround the web, seems it’s not kidding or virtual feelings. Big hugs + kisses

  20. krista July 14, 2011 at 12:52 pm - Reply

    I am absolutely touched by the love and compassion in your post. thank you

  21. Gloria Ramirez July 14, 2011 at 12:42 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing your story. I too had my baby at 19, she’s 20 now. I am going to hug her today on honor of your son.

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HELLO! I'm KD Angle-Traegner.

Writer, activist, and founder of Four Urban Paws Sanctuary. I’m on a mission to help people live a vegan life. Read more about KD…