A photographer's new series captures the heartbreak of 11 miscarriages over more than a decade.
Photographer Dianne Yudelson suffered 11 miscarriages between 1993 and 2005. And with each loss, she kept mementos—things like pregnancy tests, hand-knit booties, silver rattles, and hopeful ultrasound pictures.
"They are all kept pristinely stored in a white box in my closet," she said, "as are the memories of their short lives kept pristinely stored in my heart."
It's now been more than 10 years since her last loss, and Yudelson is finally revisiting those memories in her powerful photo series, entitled "Lost."
Elegantly composed with all those carefully maintained keepsakes, each one of the 11 images in the series is named after one of the babies Yudelson lost. "I have never shared these mementos with anyone, as they are private and personal and go to the core of my emotions, both heart-warming and heart-wrenching," the photographer writes on her website. "I am hopeful that 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."
Yudelson was inspired to create the series after helping a friend cope with a painful loss, which in turn made her recall the grief she felt after her very first miscarriage when, at her 16-week checkup, the doctor couldn't find a heartbeat.
"In the weeks following our lives stood still—we were stunned," she told the Huffington Post. "Miscarriage is heartbreaking; miscarriage is exhausting; miscarriage is isolating. These thoughts propelled me to take down the big white box in my closet. It had been quite a while since I last took each item out, and as I laid them out on my bed I felt their story needed to be documented."
The resulting images are equal parts beatiful and heartbreaking—and they serve as a stark reminder that while many women have suffered a miscarriage (myself included), it's not something we often talk about openly.
"I believe everyone knows someone who has miscarried, be it mother, wife, sister, friend, or coworker, they simply have never spoken of it," Yudelson said. "What I hope evolves from the creation is a broadening in the conversation and understanding of miscarriage, both physically and emotionally."
Yudelson and her husband have raised two children And while the pain of losing 11 babies will always be a part of who she is, she said sharing her losses has helped ease the pain. "They say in giving you receive," she said. I have found this to be true, especially when you give from the heart. In helping to heal others' emotional pain from pregnancy loss, I have lessened my own."