In 2018, Meg Brock, a Pennsylvania-based photographer who clicks birth photos was hired by Kristin Naylor, mother of two, for a session for her yet-to-arrive baby girl Abby, only it wasn’t possible ultimately. Naylor gave birth to a stillborn at 39 weeks via C-section.
According to World Health Organisation (WHO), a stillborn is a baby born with no signs of life at or after 28 weeks of gestation. In 2015, there were about 2.6 million stillbirths globally. The reasons for this could be many, from child birth complications, foetal growth restriction to congenital abnormalities.
Brock, however, went ahead with another plan: a photo shoot to express a mother’s pain of giving birth to a stillborn.
“From afar, I admired her vulnerability, courage, and faith. It’s much easier to retreat from our pain. But facing it, walking through it, and making ourselves vulnerable by sharing it with others takes great courage. I believe that in sharing her own pain, Kristin is helping the other 48,000 parents who will lose a child from stillbirth this year,” Brock wrote in her blog.
Through the photo series, Brock and Naylor also hope to help people recognise and talk about their grief more openly, especially when it is about the loss of a baby. “…The loss of an infant or child is particularly brutal; the memories you’ve shared are far fewer and you will never stop thinking about what could have been. What would have made her laugh? What would she have studied in college? How beautiful would she have been on her wedding day?” Brock expressed.
“I hope that as a society we can become better at recognising and talking about grief; that we can get over our feelings of discomfort and learn to mourn with those who mourn, that we can speak of the deceased by name,” the photographer added.