Dianne Yudelson and her husband lost 11 babies to miscarriage over the course of several years. After each loss, the 57-year-old kept mementos from her pregnancies, such as ultrasounds, name tags, newborn hats and stuffed toys. Now she’s sharing them with the world to help herself and others heal.
“I have read the assertion that meaningful art occurs when you share yourself and create from the depths of your soul. So I share,” Yudelson wrote on her website.
“I am hopeful that in sharing these images I will 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.”
Although it’s been 10 years since Yudelson’s last loss, she was inspired to look back at her own personal experience after helping a friend through a miscarriage.
“These thoughts propelled me to take down the big white box in my closet which safeguards the mementos of my lost babies,” Yudelson told HuffPost Canada Parents in an email. “It had been quite some time since I removed each item and as I laid them out on my bed I felt their story needed to be documented.”
The chances of having a miscarriage in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy are one in five, according to BabyCentre Canada. Late miscarriages, until approximately 24 weeks of pregnancy, occur in about one in 100 pregnancies.
When Yudelson first became pregnant, she had no idea how common the loss of a baby was, nor did she know anyone who had suffered one. “However, after miscarrying, I asked the women around me and discovered that, yes, many had suffered through the loss of a baby, but they never spoke of it,” she explained.
Yudelson believes that not talking about miscarriages “sets up a social, culture taboo.”
“This is a normative part of trying to create life. But we live in a culture where people just don't know what to say,” Jessica Zucker, a clinical psychologist and creator of a line of miscarriage cards, told Refinery 29.
Since releasing her series “Lost,” Yudelson has received “overwhelmingly positive” feedback from both women and men who have reached out to her about their emotional experiences. The photographer is proud that her “images have not only comforted them, but also, propelled them to speak up and share their experience in an attempt to help another.”
“They say that when you give, you receive,” she continued. “In giving of myself during the creation of this project, I have received generous support and appreciation from those who have been comforted by the work.”