Childless Mothers: A Portrait Series
I've been trying to write this blog post for months, and I just couldn't find a way to perfectly say how I feel about this project. I've finally just realized there's never going to be a perfect way to explain the feelings and emotions that were there during this project, but hopefully they come through in the photographs.
Miscarrying a child has always been one of my biggest fears, and has grown even more prevalent since being married this last year. While we aren't trying for children yet, it terrifies me to think of the endless possibilities that can go wrong in a pregnancy.
People have always told me I'm exactly like my mother, and I really am. We have the same mannerisms, we look the same, we have almost identical personalities, and pretty similar lives. Sometimes I feel like I'm literally just following in my mother's footsteps of her life. My mom miscarried 3 children in 2 pregnancies. After me, the doctors finally figured out how to help my mom have children, but it wasn't easy. My mom had to administer her own shots every single day throughout three entire pregnancies. I remember as kid seeing the buckets full of needles on the counter that my mom had to take. Although the problems that caused my mom's miscarriages aren't genetic and can't be passed down to me, it still is something that I'm so scared of happening.
My mom's experience with miscarriage is what motivated and inspired this project. Did you know that 1 in 4 pregnancies end in miscarriages? Still births are a 1 in 160 chance. Preterm births cause over 1,000,000 deaths per year, and 1/3 of infant deaths are due to preterm related causes. Losing a child is SO COMMON, yet so hidden, private, and misunderstood. It seems as if no one knows what to say to someone who has lost a child, but the most common response that I got from these women is that they just need to know you are there for them if they need you. Be a support.
I was lucky enough to have 6 women volunteer to participate in my project, who I cannot thank enough! (each of them gave me permission to post their photographs). Along with their portraits, I asked each of them to bring an item or memento that reminded them of their baby. Each of these women in this series were so great and I'm so grateful for how open and honest they were with their experiences. Some of them lost a child nearly 10 years ago, others only 2 weeks ago. Some are pregnant again, some are not. Some have children now, some don't. The one thing they have in common is that they each have so much strength, and I admire them all for that.
*Click through to see all photos*