Montgomery County mom gives 'bear hug' to families who lose infants

"They hold the bear, and they know that somebody else cares," Dola Spering said.

Beccah Hendrickson Image
Thursday, July 29, 2021
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Dola Spering's heart to help her community comes from her own experience. The mom of three could have been a mom of five.

NORTH WALES, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Dola Spering's heart to help her community comes from her own experience.

Her son, Jeremiah, was stillborn in 2008. The next year, she got pregnant again. Her son, Vincent, died of an infection at two weeks old.

"To have it happen twice, you can't explain it. It's the worst ever," said Spering. "It can be very lonely and isolating. Even if you do have that support, grief has this way of making you feel that you're the only one that feels this way."

The North Wales mom didn't want other parents or siblings, for that matter, to feel that grief alone, and she didn't want them to leave the hospital empty-handed. That's where 'Project BEAR' comes in.

"They hold the bear and they know that somebody else cares. And to be a part of that is amazing," she said.

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BEAR stands for Bringing Empty Arms Reprieve. She's helped deliver more than 20,000 bears to families nationwide who have lost babies to stillbirth, miscarriage, or neonatal death. And she pays for almost all of it out of pocket.

"We thought, 'Okay, this is a way for us to help other parents who've been through that.' That in and of itself was healing for us to do," she said. "It's overwhelming in a really good way to know that there are people out there I'll never meet face-to-face, but to know they've been helped a little bit."