When Mindy Danison miscarried her baby boy Riley at 7 weeks gestation, she was devastated. But a dream from God led her down a path very few could have imagined. As she shared images of Riley on Facebook, she knew that he could help save the lives of preborn babies at risk of being aborted. And when she miscarried her daughter Annabelle at 8 weeks gestation, she knew that she had to share her life as well, in hopes of saving even more babies.
These two innocent and short lives helped change hearts and minds about abortion. Since their stories spread across the world, Danison has received both praise and criticism for the choice to show images of what her preborn children (and all preborn children) really look like. But the positive feedback has far overshadowed the negative.
“I have had a lot of people message me and tell me that their story has inspired them to not abort their child,” explains Danison. “I’ve also had many more tell me they have lost babies around the same time and they didn’t get to say goodbye, and seeing Riley and Annabelle, and their photos helped them find peace and helped them know they were not crazy because not only have medical providers kept the truth far from our faces and minds but they have made so many parents – both men and women – feel like they were not allowed to grieve and be sad and cry because [they told the parents the baby] wasn’t anything but ‘clots and tissue’.”
Families have reached out to Danison for advice after learning they had lost their own babies. Parents are learning from Danison and others that they don’t have to go through a procedure remove their baby from the uterus after a miscarriage. They are learning that they can stand up to doctors, deliver their babies at home, and give them a proper burial. This is a beautiful gift.
Babies at this gestation are aborted after the mother ingests abortion pills, as described in this video by Dr. Anthony Levatino. During this point in pregnancy, the baby has a beating heart, forming hands and feet, and a little developing face.
Danison and her husband Gabe are also an inspiration for parents going through multiple miscarriages in that they never gave up on having more babies. Danison gave birth in January via emergency C-section, adding twins – a boy and girl – to their family of now nine people.
“The twins are doing wonderful,” she said. “They weighed 4lbs 10oz for Harper Elizabeth and 4lbs 3oz for Benjamin Xavier. […] They are now three months old and are doing amazing on milestones.”
The twins spent six days in the Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit until being sent home to join their siblings Nevaeh, Kendra, Grayson, Ryder, and Tyluca, who all adore their new siblings.
“The two older girls help out with the twins a lot since Daddy works so much to support us all,” said Danison. “We’re so blessed with such wonderful children. God sure makes things come together down the road. I am so lucky to be Riley and Annabelle’s mom…”
Danison wants people to be more supportive of parents dealing with the loss of a child through miscarriage. Society downplays the significance of that loss, which is a disservice to anyone who has ever gone through it.
“From all the parents out there and all the sad things we go through, I urge doctors or whoever has someone come to you about their baby passing and they need your help, please, please, please use only these words when referring to the preborn child: she/he, baby, infant, preborn, sibling, daughter, son,” said Danison.
“No matter if they found out yesterday they were pregnant or they are 20 weeks, these words can show you care and that you’re not just there to collect parts and money. Remember, respect goes both ways and when you tell someone their child is ‘clots’, that is a lie and you are not only hurting yourself and the respect your patient had for you, but you’re making those parents always remember how careless you are with their family.”
Danison hopes that Riley and Annabelle’s stories will continue to help expectant parents choose life for their babies. She knows that their lives had purpose – to share the humanity of preborn children.