Kwetsbare afscheidsfoto’s: mama’s delen hun verdriet

afscheidsfoto's

Het verdriet om een overleden kindje valt niet te beschrijven. Het afscheid van een baby nadat je besliste om te kiezen voor adoptie is hartverscheurend. Niemand begrijpt met welke leegte je achterblijft. Deze fotografe maakte het zelf mee en startte een project op. Ze legt het gemis vast waar zoveel mama’s mee worstelen.

Fotografe Susanna Butterworth verloor haar zoontje Walter. Ze bleef achter met een hartverscheurend verdriet en daar wou ze iets mee doen. Susanna maakt met Empty Photo Project foto’s van vrouwen die te zien zijn met een spiegel voor hun lichaam. Dit verbeeldt de leegte die het verlies bij hen heeft achtergelaten. Bij elke foto wordt het verhaal van de moeder op de foto verteld. Het resultaat is een indrukwekkende serie foto’s. We worden er stil van…

"Empty changes. My son, Joseph was born at 38 ½ weeks sleeping. Then they almost lost me too, a uterine blood clot spiked my fever to a deadly 109 degrees…they packed me with ice to bring it down…I remember looking at the clock before losing consciousness and thinking I made it through the first day, then a very alone week at the hospital. Empty at the time was the ache in my arms and longing in my heart to hold my baby. It was the loneliness of grief as my husband was too wrapped up in his own grief to see mine. It was being told I wasn’t “righteous enough” and that was why he was taken. It was a person telling my church family and friends I didn’t want their presence, and a good friend saying my experience “wasn’t that bad, easier than I thought”. It was going home to pack away the precious little clothes, the special “coming home” outfit, the tiny socks and shoes. Piling clothes on the bassinet so I wouldn’t have to see it, then sobbing in the darkest hours of the night. No celebration of a new soul. Empty was the anger, confusion, and sadness my kids expressed to me daily. Slowly life returned to our routine and the pain and sadness dulled to a quiet ache residing in my heart. 18 months later we welcomed a new little girl into our family who did much to push the empty aside with her Popeye grin and sweet patience. 8 years later the empty is still there in feeling someone is missing when we do head counts, the yearly trip to visit his earthen bed in remembrance, not celebration of my son. Watching as children of friends born around the same time as Joseph, pass milestones he never got to experience. Grief still visits, sneaking up, catching me unawares, and washing over me. Empty changes."

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"27 years after your short life, I still remember it like it was yesterday. I was just a 24-year-old kid, newly married and excited to welcome a new baby into our family. I named you Brittany Dianne. You came early, 23 weeks along, without much warning and fought as hard as one could fight to stay here on this Earth with us. I had those 23 weeks with you and a short 4 hours of life. Those moments spent with you, my sweet Brittany, were the ones that made me into the person and mother that I am today. I keep a box with your things to remind me that you made me a mother. Your tiny little hat, handprint and footprints and even your hair are kept safely in your baby book. Two pictures are all that I have of you and that hurts. You are hooked up to machines in those pictures. I can’t help but think that you were in so much pain. I wish that I had pictures of when your dad and I held you in our arms. You were a perfect size baby doll, 12 inches long, with perfectly formed features. For years, I have searched for the reasons why you are not here with us. Now I know that God had a better and bigger plan for you which someday will make perfect sense to me. I am not the same person as I used to be and that is a good thing. I know that life is precious and should never be taken for granted. With every sad story of pregnancy loss that I heard after you were born, I know that many other things could go wrong. I have felt guilty and depressed that I could not help you. Incompetent cervix is the reason you came early which to me meant incompetent mother. I still to this day do not understand some of the reasons people gave me for your death, and I don’t think I ever will. Hurtful comments such as you are young, you can have more babies, just think of all the money it would cost to keep her alive, etc….. None of those helped work through my grief. Journaling, praying and trying again helped. Two more baby girls followed you, and they are terrific. However, you are still my first born daughter, Brittany, and someday we will be reunited. I know that reunion will be the best day ever. It will make my heart whole again." (Continue in comments…)

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"It’s been three years since I placed my son Liam in the arms of his forever family. I knew my entire pregnancy that he was not mine to keep, and I could not ever begin to describe the feeling of carrying a child that I would only have to say goodbye to. Throughout my entire pregnancy, I questioned if I could follow through with my decision. In the hospital, all I wanted was a single night alone with Liam. Before they left the hospital, his family gave me a little wooden box. I opened it up and found a customized book with pictures of their extended family and a locket with a quote by Desha Wood that said, “He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, and he is hers in a way that will never be mine. So together, we are motherhood.” In that moment, I knew that I would rather shatter my own heart a million times over than break theirs just once. I spent a week with Liam’s family, mentally preparing myself for the day I would return home empty-handed. When I got home, the town I spent 20 years of my life was no longer familiar to me. I took a walk along the river and sobbed. A stranger stopped and sat down next to me. We talked as we watched the beautiful hues of red, orange, and purple fall below the horizon. He told me his story about how he had lost his wife and kids, and I remember for just a moment, I didn’t feel so alone. We said our goodbyes and went on our way, never to speak again. Over a year later, my boss told me that the cable guy had left an envelope for me at her house. When I opened up the envelope, I pulled out an 8×10 photo of the sunset from that night, and I was reminded, once again, that I was not alone. I still speak to Liam’s family often and the adoption is still very open. I receive flowers on Mother’s Day, invitations to Birthday parties, and a Christmas card every year. I may be empty-handed, but my heart has never been so full. I will never regret my decision to place Liam for adoption, because in giving away everything I had, I gained more than I could ever need."

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"June 30th is a day that I will never forget, the day that I lost a part of me. I never imagined or thought that becoming a mother would have been the hardest time I would ever face. I just remember thinking the day I was being prepared to go into surgery that I hoped God would let them both live and be healthy. I got the facts and let reality sink in that they could possibly not be okay. When I got back from surgery and was told they were critical but stable, all I wanted to do was rush to them. I didn’t get to spend time with them their first full day of birth. Maddox was the more stable twin at the time and didn’t seem to be having any trouble. So that night I was confident and sure that I would see him later. It was the first night that I went to bed early, at around midnight I got woken up by my nurse. At first, I was confused and the look on her face made me panic. She whispered, “Brenda one of your babies needs you right now can you get up and come with us.” I got transported by a wheelchair to the NICU, and I'm being surrounded by all of these nurses, it was all a blur. Then they sat with me and explained that Maddox was having problems and they couldn’t stabilize him. I just remember staring at the ground and just not knowing what to say or do I was just numb. Then they asked if I wanted to hold him, he was still alive. At first, I was too shocked and just speechless I didn’t give an answer, but when I saw him in there and the numbers on the machines were dropping, I just asked to hold him. I held him and thought that I was in a dream and that it wasn’t really happening to me. At 2:15 am Maddox Gray Ursua took his last breath, I know he felt my love until the last second. I felt angry with God, why did this have to happen to me, why my son, why my family? I couldn’t come to terms with it for a long time. I would see others with their kids and would just get so mad. Having people come up to me or even text me things about how sorry they were would make me mad because no one understood my pain or anger. The worst was the comments I would be told, everything happens for a reason this wasn’t meant to be for you." (…continued in the comments)

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Bron: Linda.nl – Beelden: via Instagram @emptyphotoproject

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