Kayla Martinez and her 7-year-old daughter Adela Martinez. Photo courtesy of Kayla Martinez.
After giving birth to a stillborn female, Kayla Martinez has come out stronger, and is trying to start a nonprofit foundation in memory of her daughter Yuliana Esmeralda Martinez, born on Dec. 14, 2016.
Martinez, a Bergen native, lives in Alden and gave birth to Yuliana at United Memorial Medical Center.
After Yuliana died, it took Martinez awhile to figure out what she wanted to do to honor her daughter. Martinez decided to start a support group in Yuliana’s memory. The group was originally called “Justice for Yuliana” but later turned into “For the Love of Yuliana.”
“I really wanted more love to come out of everything, than anything else,” Martinez said. “I wanted to spread her love throughout the community.”
Martinez is working on creating an official nonprofit organization, but in order to do that she needs funds to pay for legal paperwork, so more things can be done in Yuliana’s memory.
In August, Martinez held a basket raffle at the Community Church in Alden to start raising funds for the foundation. She is beginning to put together a bottles and cans drive to raise funds to create care packages for other bereaved parents and babies in the neonatal intensive care unit. From there, Martinez has also thought about doing memory boxes.
“I wanted something in honor of her and I want to keep her alive through me,” Martinez said.
Martinez asked her now 7-year-old daughter Adela Martinez what she wanted when Yuliana passed away, and her response was a locket. So she came up with the idea of doing Lockets of Love from Yuliana, giving the families something to put a momento of their child in.
When Martinez lost Yuliana, she said she felt alone and felt like she had no one to talk to or reach out to.
“When I lost Yuliana, I had to wait for somebody to contact me,” Martinez said. “I want to make sure other mothers out there know they are not alone and they have someone they can reach out to.”
Stillborn babies are always kept in the dark, Martinez said.
“Our babies did exist, and our babies should be remembered,” Martinez said. “The only way to do that is to spread their love.”
Being a bereaved mother is one of the hardest and loneliest journeys in life, Martinez said.
“Knowing that you aren’t alone and that you have someone to lean on for strength makes the world of difference.”
One resource she discovered belatedly is the WNY Perinatal Bereavement Network, which aids families in the community facing perinatal death, the death of a baby from miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, stillbirth or early infant death. They offer support for families and their website is located here.
Martinez thinks the more help and comfort for bereaved families, the better.
"This has been a real learning experience," Martinez said, adding that she would greatly appreciate anyone who could help her set up the nonprofit and move forward.
She can be reached at: [email protected]