I have never experienced the death of a close family member. My grandfathers were old when they passed and one of my grandmothers passed when my father was a child. Of course along this thing we call life I have had deaths that have touched me; deaths of relatives, friends, college mates, colleagues etc. However, there is the death of one that is hardly talked about or is hard to categorize. It is the loss of an unborn baby, death of a premature baby, or a still birth. These deaths who many don’t categorize as having lost a child, I have experienced that loss. I have lost two sons.


I got married early, at twenty-four years, and I had my whole life planned. I was going to have two kids and a master’s degree by the time I was 30. You know the whole house, family and white picket fence dreams, but alas, God had other plans. I had my oldest child a year after my wedding and her conception, pregnancy and delivery were relatively normal, though I did have terrible morning sickness and lost her ‘twin’ early on in my pregnancy. However nothing could have prepared me for the rollercoaster journey ahead. For four years after having my daughter I suffered with infertility due to polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) and was unable to conceive. In 2013 I was finally expecting and ecstatic. Babycenter.com was bookmarked on my phone and with every week I read on what size my baby was (a pea, an orange etc.) and what parts of his body were forming. I started picking out names and looking online for baby stuff, making wish lists, the whole nine yards. I was so sick during that pregnancy, constantly on IVs, unable to eat, throwing up all day to the point of only puking up bile and blood, but I was on a high. Then disaster struck.


One night, whilst watching The Great Gatsby with my husband and cousin, my water broke,  I was five months pregnant. I think my cousin, who was in her twenties at the time, and had never had kids, was traumatized for life at the scene, me screaming and the chaos that ensued. I was rushed to the hospital and even after being totally confined to my hospital bed, and being pumped with steroids to help develop the baby’s lungs faster, I had to be induced a few days later. I delivered my baby, whiles holding my husband’s hand and with my father pacing outside the delivery room.


I remember arguing with the doctor on call before being induced, as everything felt rushed. I needed someone who understood my journey, my own doctor, as I believed he would have more empathy and patience, rather than someone who viewed me as just another patient during his rounds. I’m glad my husband and father helped me stand my ground during such a vulnerable moment, as I got my wish, and my doctor was called. I remember at a point I told him I was just done and for him to take me to the theater and do a C-section. Not because I couldn’t bear the pain physically, but because it was too hard emotionally, as I knew my baby wouldn’t survive. He refused, encouraging me and talking me through the delivery.

My son was beautiful, he was my most beautiful baby ever. Even at that premature he was fully formed and looked just like his father. He breathed for fifteen minutes or so and then he passed. He was still warm when I left him for the last time, wrapped in a blanket and laying on a stretcher in the delivery room. I was wheeled to the theater as my body refused to deliver the placenta naturally. I left my baby there, getting cold, as I was put to sleep. My husband had to go bury our child, and to this day I haven’t asked to see his grave. All I know is he was buried at Ascension Town cemetery. I woke up from anesthetic in my hospital bed with no baby.


Coming home, I just felt cold and numb. There were many visitors during those first few weeks, sympathizers, but it was a blur. The pain of my engorged breast after a few days was extra painful as it was a reminder that I didn’t have a baby to breastfeed. One phrase that people said, in a bid to sympathize, but which stuck with me and I hated was, “before d calabash broke, leh d water troway” (loosely meaning, it’s better the baby passed away than you the mother/carrier). It offered me no comfort, it made me angry even, as if my baby was insignificant. I wanted my baby, the baby I had carried, feeling his kicks, building a bond with. The only real comfort I had was that I already had my daughter. Explaining to a four year old that her baby brother had gone to heaven was complicated, as she was excited she was having a sibling and would often touch my growing tummy. Luckily she was away on holidays when the actual ‘event’ happened and she had a ‘basic understanding of death and heaven’ as she had lost a puppy before and her grandfather had passed before she was born.

I got pregnant again very quickly, within a few months of losing our baby. God was working overtime in compensating us for those years of infertility. Surprisingly I wasn’t anxious at all,  I had so much faith that God would not forsake me twice. This pregnancy was my easiest, I didn’t have morning sickness and our doctor had taken necessary precautions putting in a cervical stitch to stop my cervix from opening prematurely. Even when my doctor explained some complications that arose during the procedure, I wasn’t worried at all. I had even just started a new job and was feeling very energetic. Just as a precaution we didn’t tell my daughter I was expecting this time.  Then it happened. At six months pregnant, one afternoon in the office, my waters broke.


The chaos once again. The rush to the hospital, scans, steroid shots. In all this I was actually calm because in my mind I was like ‘God you nor go do me this again, e nor possible’.  I even had the hospital put me in a different room from the last time, as I didn’t even want to risk jinxing anything. Looking back now, I don’t know if it was faith or denial. Few days later I went into active labour, and I had to have an emergency C-section, as I couldn’t deliver naturally. Another screaming match with the hospital staff, before my operation, as my husband had gone home to change and I wanted him there. I was wheeled into theater leaving my husband, father, brother and mother, at the theater door. At this point reality sank in, and once again my doctor was tasked with talking me through the procedure, whiles I was crying uncontrollably. After the baby was born, I only saw him for a spilt second before he was whisked away, taken to another hospital for neonatal care, my brother in the ambulance with the baby and the hospital staff, my other family members following closely behind.


For the two days my baby lived, I was unable to go to him, or hold him because of my C-section. My husband, mother-in-law and aunt took turns being with him at the hospital. Someone had taken a picture of him for me and he had a head full of hair. My husband deleted that picture from my phone when he passed, but I had earlier emailed it to myself, and occasionally I will look at it. It comforts me. My husband would spend nights at the hospital with me on a couch and I would spend my nights awake thinking of when I could leave and start taking care of my baby. I never allowed my thoughts to go to us losing him. Although, subconsciously I knew what was coming, as I had refused to name the baby even after his birth.

On the morning of June 30th 2014, my second son passed away. My baby passed away and I wasn’t there, I never held him or even saw him. I often wonder if he was in pain when he passed. I wonder if he was looking for his mama, that voice he would hear whiles in my tummy. I still remember the moment my father told me my baby had died. As soon as he started I knew what he was trying to say and I kept telling him ‘no Baaba’. I can still hear my screams, as if they were coming from someone else, because I felt like I had left my body.


This baby’s death was different. The two days he had survived had given me false hope, so it hit me harder. The C-section was hard on me physically, as I took longer to heal than if it had been a natural birth and the epidural caused me excruciating headaches for weeks after. I also had my daughter around, so I didn’t have the luxury of grieving endlessly, as I had to be ‘normal Mama’. I sank into a depression. I am normally a bubbly extrovert, but for weeks I didn’t want to see or talk to anyone. Even taking a bath and getting dressed was a huge struggle for me, not to talk of going out. I would lay in bed crying till it was time for my daughter to come home from school. I made an effort for my husband as I knew he was grieving as well. He had buried two sons and wasn’t used to his wife being quiet. However, when he would fall asleep, I would go into the bathroom, run the shower and cry some more. Returning to work was hard, as every day I would have to explain to people who had seen me pregnant, but hadn’t heard, and would ask about the baby, that I had lost the baby. I would have to stand there feigning fake smiles, accepting their condolences when really I didn’t want to talk or think about it.


God did come through eventually, as he always does. Just when we had decided we were never having another child, along came my full-term, gigantic, energetic, strong, surprise rainbow baby, in the following year. His pregnancy was very stressful for me as I spent most of it worrying my waters would break prematurely. I counted the weeks and I refused to even buy any baby products, even in my final trimester.


I don’t want to imagine the pain a mother of an adult child, or a child that has lived for a while, goes through when they pass. Those days I lost my sons, that only lived for a short while, are forever etched in my mind. I cannot think of those day and not catch my breath or get teary eyed. Every year as the days approach, even without me remembering, I get restless and down, and then I remember why. I don’t feel I have gotten over my loss, and I don’t feel I ever will. I have never been able to visit where they are buried. Some people have advised I should as it may help with my continuing healing. I don’t know.

Unfortunately in this part of the world, we don’t have the resources or access to professional grief counselling. What was however profound to me when I lost my sons was how many of my family and friends have gone through the same thing. A friend losing twins prematurely, a cousin experiencing a stillbirth, another friend or family member having multiple premature births or miscarriages. Many of them silently, their struggles unknown to many. They would share their stories with me in a bid to comfort. Maybe this is one of the reasons I decided to share my story, as I hope if only for a moment, a mother going through this knows they aren’t alone and the pain, even though it never truly goes away, gets more bearable as time goes on. My experiences also strengthened my relationship with God, as I found prayer therapeutic, my time to vent, and talk about my pain and fears. Pain and grief is different for everyone, but whether that child lived for fifteen minutes or two days, the pain is real, and even today, years on, I am still grieving. It is a grief I carry even as I am thankful and happy.


Do you know of any counselling centre based in Sierra Leone , a counselor/psychotherapist or groups  that support with grief counselling?

Have you had a loss like no other? What strategies have helped you so far? Don’t forget to leave a comment, link or share with someone in need of this message.


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  • Aunty Mai

    Wow Binta thanks for sharing I cannot imagine what u went thru but as believers we know God is All knowing. U are so brave, may this be a beginning of the ease. Love u dear

  • Kaata

    This will be very helpful and I suggest if we have a group where parents can discuss such issues it will be helpful for the grieve process.

  • Hayaat

    Beautiful piece of writing! Sorry for your losses.

  • Kella

    This touched me Binta. Thanks for sharing. I am teary eyed right now. I am a grieving mother too. 1 miscarriage, 1 son who died a day after birth and another son who only lived 25 days . I know and can feel it as fresh as it was the days these happened. It’s hard but God knows best.


      You are so strong and inspirational. Thank you for that. We must share our stories with others to give them hope and also so they know they are not alone and we all struggle, but still keep moving on.

  • Ismatu Tucker

    This is so touching my dear. I suffered two miscarriages, it was like going to hell and back. You are a strong woman and I do admire you.


      It is truly painful and an emotional pain that is hard to explain. That is why we must not stop these conversations so we heal and help others heal as well. Thank you and stay strong.

  • Cla

    I feel your pain my dear sister. I lost my first son 41days after giving birth to him.
    He was a such a ‘beautiful boy’.. I used the term “beautiful” to refer to him because everyone who saw him thought he was a girl. He had so much hair on his head. Hardly anyone crosses him without a compliment. Even some attending Doctors never knew he was a boy until his diaper was off.

    To this day, I still picture him. I miss him so
    much. The naughtiness,the kicks, the looks from those radiating eyes.. i can go on and on..
    I watched him breath his last on 29th October 2018. I held his corpse in my hands and gave him a last kiss.. The pain is unexplained BUT with God I’ve pulled through. The days after were my worst. I cried my eyes out.
    My faith in God grew stronger and that has kept me and will continue to keep me. I trust in God’s word and I know he knows best. May the Lord comfort all women who’ve been through such an experience.
    Thanks for sharing Binta. God remains God! Cheers


      Thank you for sharing your story and you are beyond strong. I am glad you were able to hold your baby, as that is one of my greatest pains. Thankfully these tradegies have strengthened our faith in God and deepened our relationship with Him. We are thankful. Keep being strong and inspirational.

  • Fatma Bockarie

    Wow Binta! All i can say is “Thank You” for this piece. It is so enlightening coz from the outside i guess most of us felt that our sympathise were enough to help you go through your grief. On the brighter side, you have indeed helped someone with this peice. 🙏❤


      It truly is an experience one never wishes for another and is quite a ‘unique’ loss. We are thankful and yes, your condolences and support do help immensely. It is very critical to the healing process to have support and people around to listen and cry with. Thank you.

  • Beatrice Momodu-kamara

    Strong pill. I felt your pain by just reading. You have been strong….it’s strange imaging you and this pain…..looks say nothing about us atall. I salute your strength.

  • Dr.Haja S Sovula

    Binta I this absolutely resonates with me, the grief, and depression that goes with it is unbearable. Being a doctor you kinda understand exactly what is happening to you, I silently struggled with my pregnancy, and even after a successful delivery, there are days when this harsh reality of loosing my baby comes in.
    It’s one of the most painful experiences any woman would go through. But we are strong women, we seek refuge, comfort , and reassurance in the arms of God Almighty, family etc and personally I rely on that as my strongest source of hope.
    Each time those fears set in I just commit my child to the lord and remind him of his never failing promises!!


      I cannot even imagine. As a doctor I know it must have felt even more painful knowing what’s happening and that you cannot do anything to save the baby. Thank you for your strength and we appreciate you even more, because even as you deal with your tragedy you still show up to care for others. God bless you.

  • Umie Isha Mbatillo Conteh.

    Oh,I love you more Binta!!!God bless your heart…As you said;God always come through.Your story is very familiar to me. God has blessed me with 3 kids after my loss.


      I love you too my dear. Thank you so much for your strength and God continue to bless you and your children.

  • Jattu Bockarie

    Binta, you’re indeed a strong woman. Remain ever blessed. Nice piece ma’am

  • Kadijatu

    Binta you’re a strong and brave woman. Your story is so touching.

  • Magdalene Peters

    Binta you are such a brave woman ! Your story is so touching and I couldnt hold back my tears. You are so strong and courageous and I do admire your strength and how you’ve managed to buck up after these losses. You are inspirational and I love you! God bless you.

  • M

    Binta,this is beautifully written. I can resonate with you . The waters breaking early for my pregnancies, eventhough it took me seven years to decide to have another child after the first baby’s experience. First baby waters broke a seven months . Whisked off to neonatal , hubby taking anup close picture so that I could think this baby was big . Collapsed lungs , almost losing him twice, staying in hospital for the first three months of his life. Coming home with oxygen as he couldn’t breathe on his own for the first eight months of his life .Seven years later with my daughter waters broke at six months . Nothing wrong with me medically but hey it happened again..

    However, I have both babies with me . Now, am I blessed than others ? No , the good Lord allows these sufferings so that we can be source of strength to others . Which you have inadvertently done in this beautifully written piece . You have enabled us to grieve openly and speak or write about our experiences which is therapy for our mental capabilities.
    Thank you , little sister.


      God bless you my sister. We thank God for your happy endings and babies. It is truly traumatic and painful. A mother’s heart goes through so much. We must continue sharing our stories and giving others hope.

  • Winifred Taylor

    God knows best,be strong and in everything give thanks.

  • Fatmata Forster

    I had to read this piece twice and I could feel your pain through the writing. I think this is one of my biggest fears in life; I too have never lost a close family member or friend. I honestly don’t believe I could be as strong as you.
    May God protect your family.


      God gives us strength my dear, and death is part of life. We can only hope for the fortitude to heal and go on. We women are extraordinarily strong.

  • Sonia

    I shed a tear for you, this morning. I understand the pain of losing a baby…i believe it’s the worst pain a woman would ever have to go through! Thank you for being so brave for the rest of your family! We survived, and we shall overcome!


      It is truly the worst pain, a mother losing a child. We can only hope for strength to carry on. Thank you.

  • Yerie

    Wow Binta you said it all, as I read through tears came dripping from my eyes as I lost my first twins to what my doctor called still abortion. He said out of 1000 women in the world it occur to 10 women. I was devastated and I still think about them. The babies died in my womb and they have to do an abortion to take them out, i even put my life to risk because when my doctor told me he need to do a surgery I refused for almost a month because I thought my babies were still alive but unfortunately they were dead. I can relate what you had been through. For me it was really hard because after losing that pregnancy my marriage became a disaster, my ex husband parents start complaining I cannot conceive any more which cause my husband to sleep with a girl in the same house we live and she was eventually pregnant I was broken and lose hope and believes that I will never have kids, i move out and our marriage end.
    But as God is Lord he blessed me after 2009 when I lost my twins I was pregnant in August 2013 and 2014 the Lord bless me with two beautiful twins a boy and a girl, i always comfort myself by saying my twins came back.


      Indeed your twins came back. You are so blessed. This is an inspiration to many. Even though the physical aspect is hard, the emotional turmoil and the issues surrounding them and how they affect our lives are the hardest. Thank you for coming through through all this stronger and better.

  • Elaine

    Wow Binta, I can only say thank you for sharing, thank you for reaching out to other women and mothers through your writing. Thank God for your life hun.


      Thank you my dear. I hope in my little way, through my writing and sharing, I can make an empact and strike emotions and conversations.

  • Laura Malamah-Thomas

    Wow,reading through ur piece brought bk all the memories of the loss of my son,it is indeed a Loss-like no other.Thank God fr his grace that keeps us going& tnx fr sharing Binta…

  • Sorian Nadi Jalloh

    I cried reading your story but not sure whether my tears were for you or for myself. I have never had morning sickness or a difficult pregnancy in my life. In 2014 when I got pregnant with my 2nd son I was diagnosed with diabetes and was on medication throughout the pregnancy. I delivered by c-section and the baby was rushed to intensive care unit as he was diagnosed with hypoglycaemia. I never got to hold him as I was in another part of the hospital trying to recover from the c-section. He passed on 18 hours later as the hospital claimed they could not find his vein to give him the dextrose 10 injection that was required. That pain has been the worse have had to go through my whole life. I spent days not being able to sleep, I had dreams of my baby and what saddens me most is I never got to hold him in my arms.
    In 2016 God blessed me again and this time I also thought I could not suffer twice but unfortunately 4 months into the pregnancy I had a miscarriage without any warning, I lost my daughter and I just count not accept it. I cried when I see babies, I became so attached to my son that he also realised mama was going through pain. My son was now praying every night for a baby for mama. And God answered his prayer with a baby brother in 2018.
    We suffer in silence as at times the comforting words do not comfort us, I was told “thank God you already have a son” meaning loosing my baby means nothing. I should not feel pain because I already have a child. Like you said the pain never goes away.
    Thank you for sharing your story, I never get to talk about it and talking about it today has lifted some weight. Thank you!


      I love you so much and admire your strength. You are so strong and always so joyful. It’s amazing us women and mother’s, as we smile and go on with life though all that pain. It’s ok to cry and grieve and not be ok, even with all our other blessings. This is what we must pass on, that we need to acknowledge our emotions and no one must tell us how to grieve.

  • Iyesata Cole.

    Woke up this morning feeling melancholy, not sure why. I have been convalescing from sickness lately so maybe my body in trying to repair itself brought in all these emotions in me.
    I picked up my phone, and I saw my son has sent me this post with the caption ” Mum, that is how Abdul Aziz Rahim-Kamara alias VCKaiz addresses me, this story touched me and I kept thinking as a premature child how much fear, pain you must have gone through leaving me at PCMH in that incubator for months. Now at 39 years old and thankful to Allah that I am healthy, I just want to say thank you and I love and appreciate you even more”.
    Binta my dear, your post touched me to the core. It brought back those memories 39 years ago flooding back.
    I commend you Binta for your bravery and your style of writing. You are indeed an inspiration to others out there going through the same with no professional support network to help in these situations. Your post is therapy in itself for others in similar situations. It is stories like this that makes it all the more whothwhile to have counselling skills and therapy sessions. I am presently doing a level 3 in counseling. It is very difficult especially going to class 3 hours a week and a lot to take in. It is intense but hopefully I might be able to soldier on.
    Sierra Leone needs all these mechanisms in place. There are women, youths with mental health problems that just needs an empathetic one to one at times but nobody to hear their cry.
    May Allah bless you you for this piece. It made me feel proud knowing that my son saw the need to share it with me. I feel very very loved up and appreciated by my 5 children; 3 boys and 2 girls. It has not always been smooth sailing. Parenting itself has its challenges. I hope and pray you find happiness amidst your pains. I cannot say you will overcome by our grief in losing your beautiful sons. Time, they say heals every wound.
    One more advice though; I think you will be a good writer. You’re born to write. Thanks for sharing your story, as painful as it is. God bless you.


      Thank you mummy for your strength and children. Aziz is a good friend and when he shared his story with me and your reply u cried so much. You are so inspirational and I would love to meet you. Here’s to you finishing your course, as counselling and concentration on mental health is so needed in our community. Stay blessed.

  • Jacqueline

    This is such an emotional piece.!To think that you had the courage to do this is amazing. The pain is real it doesn’t go away that easily Stay strong as you always are though we all break inside one way or the other , but it is therapeutic when you break the silence. Love you Binta and God bless you and your family.


      Thank you for the love. Indeed the pain never goes away, but we thank God as sometimes he puts us through things so that we may become better in the process and be of service to others, which I hope I can do. I am grateful for His blessings.

  • Kadi kamara

    Your story is very touching. I had 3 miscarriages. But I am thankful to Allah I have three beautiful daughters.

  • Ayo

    You made me cry all over again. Similar stories of third trimester losses. Am glad you started this blog I hope there can be a local group people can reach out to for emotional support.


      Yes that is the hope and already conversations are being had and we are discovering people and resources that can be of help. Thank you.

  • Edward. M. Yanni

    My sympathy Binta for your painful loss, I was teary-eyed as I read through this well written piece, thank you for sharing.

  • Emmanuel Mac- Boima

    I am so moved and touch by your story binta, interesting majority of Sierra leonean family’s go through such pain silently and in secret, am sure your story will bring hope and comfort to them also that there is someone also who understands there grief.


      I’m telling you. It was so shocking to me how common these stories are and how we don’t have many or adequate grief counselling resources. We really need to concentrate on mental issues as so many people are suffering. I hope in our little way we can help.


    Thank you dear and my hope is this is somehow helpful to others.


    Thank you. If I can help even one woman in her healing I am grateful. We must continue these conversations and break the culture of being dismissive of people’s emotions and experiences.


    Thank you and though a sad story I hope it creates an impact enough for people to share their stories and we can have these conversations.

  • Sydnella

    Thanks for having the courage to share your story. No matter how explicitly you describe it, only God really understands what you went through during those dark times. Keep up the faith!

  • NMC

    Thank you for sharing, your writing is beautiful. You’ve shared the story of so many other women, including my mother’s. She lost two boys as well before giving birth to my sister and me. She talks it about it once in a while- about the pain of her loss, about what society put her through- as if it was her fault, that there was something wrong with her body, the mockery, and she felt as if she couldn’t really grieve and process -because heey, it’s time to try again for another baby, etc. She only started sharing her story very recently, and I think it’s her path to healing. I hope it’s the same for you too, sharing and talking about is a HUGE step and you are very brave for doing so. God always knows best even when we can’t understand why certain things happen. Also, keep writing! We need more Sierra Leonean writers!

    • Binta Akibo-Betts

      Yes this was so therapeutic. This is so common in our society, that i do not understand why we do not talk about it more. As women we go through so much, silently and we are expected to show up for everyone else even when we are not ok. smh.

  • Camareh Sarah Kamara

    This really touched me as I have felt the pain of loss and I know I will spend the rest of my life grieving my Dad (Allah rest his soul) Thank you for sharing your story.

  • Lawrish

    Wow I’m deeply sorry about your loss. The whole time I was reading your story all I could think of was my mom who lost 9 babies which includes miscarriages, stillbirths, and some were few months old. I wonder how my mom dealth with all that pain and still continued having babies. My mom always talked my siblings and how it happened. Feel so much pain for especially after having my daughter. She said at one time she had 4 consecutive miscarriages. Te story that hurt me the most though and I’m sure it hurt her too was when her and my stepmom lost their babies around the same time. My stepmom went to a fortune teller whom told her that my mom witched her baby…whenever I think of this I cry. There are sick people in Africa. Thankfully my stepmom didn’t believe him/her. How can anyone call someone who have lost so many babies a witch just to destroy families. She said she got use it… it was to always Binta had delivered but the baby passed away. May the almighty Allah give comfort and bless with healthy and blessed babies to all the mothers that have experienced such pain.

    • Binta Akibo-Betts

      Your mother is amazing. All that pain and societal pressure and she never gave up. Thank God for her life and yours. Women are truly amazing.

  • Fattie

    Very well written and inspirational piece. God will continue to strengthen you throughout your life to be able to deal with the loss🙏🏽

  • Mafei James

    I really appreciate this read so much as it just opens my eyes to a suffering that I , myself never experienced, but I am connected to so many women that have. Its really not talked about much and truly needs a platform. Thanks for sharing.

    • Binta Akibo-Betts

      It is very sensitive and it’s like the elephant in the room we don’t want to talk about but so many of us are connected through this shared pain, so we must have these conversations to help each other. Thank you.

  • Binta Akibo-Betts

    This was poignant. Sending love and light your way. May God make it easier for us.

  • Rosaline

    Nearly got to tears reading this..may God continue to heal you

  • Nandi

    Oh My God. I can’t imagine your pain at those times. I’m in tears 😭 reading this, your story has opened my eyes to the realities of losing a baby before, during or after birth. Binta and every other queen 👑 who’s had this heart shattering experience, I’m sorry you had to go through that.
    Sending love, light and my prayers to you and your family.

    Thank you very much Binta for sharing your story.