One brave mother shares her stillbirth story, and her strength is a lesson to us all

“My son showed me that crying isn’t an action to be ashamed about. He showed me that it’s a moment to embrace, and I can say with conviction I am more whole person because of that.”

By Ellie McDonald
As part of a body-positivity photo series The Honest Body Project, photographer Natalie McCain has not only been able to capture the beauty of everyday women’s bodies, but also give those who have experienced hardship in their lives a platform to express themselves.
Such is the case for one mother who sits in front of Natalie’s lens to describe what it was like giving birth to her stillborn son, Alex, and how this bereaving mum managed to turn the grief of losing her baby into greatness.
This is her story…
Image courtesy of The Honest Body Project.
“In December 2013, I gave birth to our first born, a son, who was stillborn. After trying for a little over a year, it was a really devastating situation to come to terms with.”
“My life pivoted when I returned home with my husband, completely empty-armed. But it didn’t stop me from trying everything in my power to continue to nurture my life without him.”
“I wanted to be able to be the best mother I could be, and embracing motherhood without my baby was my goal, and I never looked back.”
Image courtesy of The Honest Body Project.
“Loss doesn’t make you any less of a mother. It’s hard for people to understand this concept, I feel, and further understand that the loss does not define me or my body or how I feel about myself when I wake up.”
Image courtesy of The Honest Body Project.
“I wish and hope to be able to show that women who have had a loss like I have can embrace their children and themselves and that they can also look upon their experience and learn from it instead of running away.”
Image courtesy of The Honest Body Project.
“I work every day to try to remember my son, and I embrace everything he’s ever given me."
"I’m thankful for the woman he’s allowed me to become, and I feel so blessed to be able to stand among other women and enjoy motherhood with them.”
Image courtesy of The Honest Body Project.
"My son has only been gone for about a year and a half, and I still struggle daily with the way my stomach looks."
"When I was pregnant, I worked to embrace the idea of having stretch marks, and even the idea that I may need to have a c-section to deliver him, but coming home with multiple battle wounds and no baby was the most difficult reality I’ve ever had to overcome.”
For more of Natalie's inspirational photo series', purchase her book, The Honest Body Project: Real Stories and Untouched Portraits of Women & Motherhood, from August 15, 2017 on Amazon.
If you, or someone you know, have experienced the shock and sadness of a stillborn, miscarriage or newborn death and would like more support, contact Sands on 1300 072 637 or visit their website: www.sands.org.au.

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