15 faces of baby loss: Breaking the taboo around infant death
For Baby Loss Awareness Week (Oct 9-15), photographer Joanne Lewis, who has a studio in Hertford, took photos of 14 fellow members of East Herts Sands, the local branch of the stillbirth and neo-natal death charity, for a project called “15 Faces of Baby Loss”, to break the taboo that surrounds the death of a baby.
The number 15 is significant as that is how many babies die before, during or shortly after birth in the UK every day.
You can read each woman's full story at Joanne's website www.thevisualstoryteller.co.uk/blog.
My name is Joanne Lewis and I am the face of baby loss.
Our second son Phoenix died during labour in August 2014. In my photo I am sitting with my husband and our two living children (our 'sunshine' born before the storm and 'rainbow' born after) in front of a picture I painted of a phoenix. This is the closest we will ever get to a complete family photo. Picture: www.shabanaphotography.com.
My name is Katherine Kannegieter and I am the face of baby loss.
In my photo, rainbows symbolise hope, which my two ‘rainbow’ sons – Reuben and Harvey (pictured) – bring me. I am a mum of three. My first, Finley, was stillborn after a healthy pregnancy. I cherish wearing a necklace engraved with his name.
My name is Aimee Nuttall and I am the face of baby loss.
In my photo is me, my son James and “bear bears”. One of these bears belongs to his identical twin brother Arthur, who sadly died shortly after he was born. James never leaves the house without them.
My name is Stacy Hayzelden and I am the face of baby loss.
Our daughter Sienna was stillborn on September 27, 2015. I was 32 weeks' pregnant. I am pictured holding a photo of a tattoo that my husband has on his chest of Sienna's hand and foot prints – "Daddy's little angel". I wear a ring with Sienna's ashes in. She is always with us wherever we go and never forgotten.
My name is Letty Taylor and I am the face of baby loss.
In my photo is me with Louie’s hand and foot print tattoos and rabbit teddy, which always comes with me. Sadly Louie passed away. His twin sister Skye has one too.
My name is Rebecca Peckham and I am the face of baby loss.
In my photo I am expecting our second rainbow baby, our third son, and I am wearing a dragonfly necklace as we saw a lot of dragonflies following the stillbirth of our eldest son Bean at 31 weeks in August 2016. They remind us he is close by.
My name is Fiona Russell and I am the face of baby loss.
My picture is just me and my reflection. I lost my son Ernie at 34 weeks; he was stillborn. My life has changed and will never be the same. I live with a constant broken heart. He is my shadow.
My name is Gigliola Hartley and I am the face of baby loss.
In my photo I’m holding a frame with my daughter’s hand and foot prints. Livia was stillborn at 32 weeks. This frame is very precious to me. It sits on my mantelpiece next to her rainbow brothers, every day reminding us and everyone who comes to our house that I have three children.
My name is Georgina Ellis and I am the face of baby loss.
In my photo I am wearing a necklace with the imprint of my son’s hand and foot prints. Gabriel was born at 40 weeks after thehealthiest pregnancy and lived for 18 hours. This necklace brings me comfort.
My name is Sam Balaam and I am the face of baby loss.
I am pictured with my two beautiful rainbows born after the loss of my firstborn, Connor, at 41+3 weeks. The teddy has his hospital tag attached and is one of a pair – the other stayed with him.
My name is Justine Raja and I am the face of baby loss.
In 2013, our family changed forever when Violet died at 39 weeks into my pregnancy. As the years pass by, her legacy echoes through my life and those of her big sisters and baby brother. Violet inspires me each day to seek out the joy life can bring and to focus on the things that really matter.
My name is Michelle Sipthorpe and I am the face of baby loss.
I lost our firstborn, Ivy May, at nearly six months' pregnant and gave birth on September 18, 2013. Her name was written in the sand by our friend Justine and meant so much to us. I am a mother of two, we are a family of four. We will always say her name and be thankful she is remembered and will never be forgotten.
My name is Hannah Neale and I am the face of baby loss.
In this photo I hold a white box containing my son's ashes and a lion teddy that has a recording of his heartbeat. On February 26, 2019 I lost my son at 23+5 weeks. We called him Leo Philomena: Leo for his strength and Philomena for the patron saint of babies.
My name is Heather Sayers and I am the face of baby loss.
My son, Flynn, was stillborn in 2010. In the photo I am holding a teddy, identical to one which stayed with him. Our time with Flynn was too brief but he will be in our hearts forever.
My name is Victoria Wheatcroft and I am the face of baby loss.
I am holding a giraffe as they always remind me of Oliver. This week was Oliver’s 18th birthday. Instead of organising a party and taking him for his first 'legal' pint, I visited the cemetery. I am marking Oliver's 18th by doing a skydive for Sands because I want to raise vital funds to support parents. You can read my full story and donate at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/victoria-wheatcroft.