The Short of It
A photographer who suffered 11 heartbreaking miscarriages remembers the babies she loved and lost in an emotional photo series.
Jane and Gwendolyn © Dianne Yudelson
"Lost" is the name of the series Dianne Yudelson created to memorialize her angels, whom she lost to miscarriage and each of whom she named. The collections depict items the hopeful mom purchased during her pregnancies, from toys, to baby clothes, to sonogram images.
For Charlie, she even bought a "Baby's First Christmas" mug. She wrote letters to Gwendolyn. The Jane collection features a matching knit hat and sweater. Twins Mary and Vivian were to wear cross necklaces. Violet was to have a matching comb and brush set. Jeff may have played with a rubber ducky.
Every item, which until recently Yudelson stored in a white box in her closet, represents the hopes and dreams this mom had for her children.
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Robert and Tommy © Dianne Yudelson
Yudelson's painful journey of loss began in 1993, when at 16-weeks pregnant, her doctor failed to detect her baby's heartbeat.
"In the weeks following, our lives stood still—we were stunned," she told The Huffington Post.
Although she and her husband would go on to raise two children, the pain persists. Yudelson explains, "The loss of a baby naturally carries grief. This grief is accompanied by the added residual physical pain of the miscarriage and hormonal transitions associated with pregnancy, which add to the emotional toll. Miscarriage is heartbreaking; miscarriage is exhausting; miscarriage is isolating."
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Violet and Bryce © Dianne Yudelson
Yudelson created "Lost" as a way to reach out to other women who have had miscarriages.
"Hopefully, in sharing the images, I can touch the lives of numerous women who have experienced or are in the midst of experiencing the painful loss of a baby. They are not alone in their journey," she says.
Jeff and Georgia © Dianne Yudelson
The photographer thinks miscarriage is far more common than many people are aware.
"I believe everyone knows someone who has miscarried, be it mother, wife, sister, friend or coworker—they simply have never spoken of it," she says. "When experiencing this type of loss, other people can—in the hopes of being helpful—make insensitive comments inferring your grief is unreasonable, so you keep it private and locked away."
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Mary and Vivian; and Charlie © Dianne Yudelson
Ultimately, Yudelson wants her photos to allow more women to talk about their grief: "Never hearing a conversation about miscarriage sets up a social, cultural taboo. What I hope evolves from the creation of my images is a broadening in the conversation and understanding of miscarriage, both physically and emotionally."
I, for one, am deeply touched and want to thank Yudelson for having the courage to share what is clearly her very personal pain. Here's hoping these images will help other women to have the courage to share their miscarriage stories and get the support they need.
What is your reaction to this stirring collection?