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A mother is called to work as a doula after her first child died shortly after birth

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's Friday, which is when we hear from StoryCorps. Marili Rodriguez Garcia spent several years working as a doula, helping women in labor in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She was called to this profession because of her first child, Adrian Jose, who died just a few days after his birth in 2009. Marili recently came to StoryCorps to recall that time.

MARILI RODRIGUEZ GARCIA: The day that my baby died, the doctor told me, I'm sorry. Do you want to carry your baby? Of course, I want to carry my baby. Thank you. (Crying) And I put my baby into my heart. And I was happy for the first time in that moment. That experience, you know, it's a kind of lesson. You're never going to forget that it hurts. But the thing is, what are you going to do with that hurt? Because when you lose a baby, you think that you're going to die, too, but you're not going to die. You have a lot of time to spend in this world. So I started to do the work of a doula because of my first birth. And I think that, in a way, being a doula is the way that I was able to move on.

I remember that I helped a woman in labor, and the baby dies inside her. So I told her that the baby that she going to see is going to be a shocking image, but that it's important, if she wants, that she hug her, to talk about the baby, to name the baby and to think that they are parents because they are. And then many years after, I became a mom again (laughter). He's a rainbow baby. It's used to call the baby that came (speaking Spanish). The first one's death, the second is a rainbow kid. And now Emil is 8 years old, and he dance. He plays the flute. And he knows that he had a brother. So Emil Gustavo and Adrian Jose, they are my two kids.

INSKEEP: Marili Rodriguez Garcia for StoryCorps in San Juan. On May 14, Marili's family will mark Adrian Jose's birthday as they do every year. This conversation is archived at the Library of Congress.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

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