Photo series depicts the pain of miscarriage and infertility
Rainbow baby photos give women who have experienced a miscarriage hope that one day they too may become parents. But what about those women who aren’t currently trying to conceive but are still struggling with with the complex emotions that come following a pregnancy loss?
After suffering three miscarriages and taking fertility medication for six months with no success, Vikki Hamilton was told that IVF is now her last chance for carrying a pregnancy. Devastated, Hamilton started to look for a way to express her emotions before deciding what her next step towards becoming a mom will be. She reached out to Las Vegas based photographer Abbi Fox of Foxy Photography to chronicle her struggles through a photo shoot.
Fox understood her pain all too well. Fox has two beautiful children of her own, but always pictured herself as a mother of four. “When my daughter turned two we said we’d be okay if we got pregnant anytime,” she tells Scary Mommy. After two years of trying to get pregnant with baby number three she had a miscarriage. “After having 2 perfectly healthy pregnancies the doctors couldn’t understand what happened. They did a bunch of tests and they finally found out that I had PCOS.” Due to her irregular ovulation cycle, Fox says she’s pretty much given up on the idea of expanding her family. “While I only had one miscarriage, the pain will be carried with me forever,” she says.
The inspiration for the photos was collaborative. “When Vikki first asked me to do this session I wrote down all the emotions I’ve gone through since the miscarriage. The only thing that I could think of to describe all of the emotions was a tornado,” explains Fox. “There are so many emotions, ups and downs. Sometimes I could find myself sitting on the couch in a trance and I literally felt that my heart was twisting. So the tornado image represents the heart wrenching emotions.”
Because baby books always say a pregnancy that’s four weeks along is the size of a poppy seed, Hamilton sees the poppy as a representation of her personal struggle. All of her pregnancies miscarried very early, thus she’s trying to get beyond the poppyseed. She has a blog, Beyond the Poppyseed, where she talks about her struggles with infertility and her miscarriages.
Fox says she hopes the photos give people a glimpse of the emotions that come with suffering a miscarriage. “You really don’t know what it is like until it happens to you. Sometimes the things people say can be hurtful and you don’t even know it,” she says. “When a woman is told that she cannot have her own children it is the most gut wrenching thing to deal with and there can be a lot of shame and internal struggle with that. To have one or multiple losses sometimes is so hard to overcome. Women who are struggling with this need support and not advice.”
One of the photos combines Hamilton’s symbol of her miscarriages, the poppy, with a rainbow to show that she is still waiting for her rainbow baby.
Fox says the photo shoot was an emotional experience for both her and Hamilton. “There were times that we just walked to the next spot in complete silence. I cried a few times during and about a dozen times while editing,” she says. “It was very therapeutic and sad at the same time. I know that I was meant for doing this type of work. Even when the stories are tough, it is my job to tell them.”