CONTENT WARNING: Infant Death
Suffering a stillbirth has a profound effect that can never be accurately described. Over 24,000 babies each year are born sleeping in the United States alone, but moms often feel terribly isolated. One mother, Kristin Naylor, was a week away from a planned cesarean section when a routine check-up showed there was no heartbeat. Devastated from the loss of a much-wanted third child, Naylor delivered her stillborn daughter, Abby, hours later.
According to Huffington Post, Naylor had reached out to a photographer a few months prior to her due date, arranging for Meg Brock to take the first official family photos after little Abby made her entrance to the world. When Brock found out about the tragic news, she reached out to the grieving husband and wife to see if they would like to do a photo shoot anyway, in memory of Abby. Kristin's experience saw her determined to end the stigma surrounding stillbirth, so she said yes. The result was a stunning set of photos, accompanied by Kristin's story.
View this post on Instagram
Abby's clothes. There was a bin of baby clothes next to the glider in Abby's nursery. Some were brand new and still had the tags on them. They are wrinkled because they've been sitting in a bin. I remember being pregnant with my daughter Ellie and loving buying her cute things in anticipation of her arrival. I can't imagine what it would have felt like to come home without her and have to face those items. But this is what thousands of stillborn moms face every year. #stillbirth #infantloss #pregnancyandinfantlossawareness
Kristin revealed that she and her husband found out they were expecting a baby girl by surprise. Already parents to two boys aged 4 and 2, they weren't actively trying for a third child. However, when they found out, they were over the moon. As Kristin was 40, she was considered a "geriatric" mother and was closely monitored throughout the nine months. While her pregnancy was relatively uneventful, Kristen did go to the hospital at 38 weeks after taking her own blood pressure at home and seeing it was high. Concerned and with a history of preeclampsia in a previous pregnancy, she wanted to be sure there was nothing to worry about.
Medical staff monitored Kristin and the baby for a few hours, but with no immediate concerns, she was released. This, she says, is one of the things that haunts her the most. Just one week later, the expectant mother found herself at the doctor's office, calling her husband to tell him that their baby daughter had passed away before she even got a chance to be born. "I mean, sometimes I still feel like I'm in shock," wrote the mom of three. "I feel like I'm telling you someone else's story."
View this post on Instagram
Today's post is heavier than what I usually post but it's important. Last June, I received an inquiry from Kristin about scheduling a newborn session for July, when her little girl, Abby, was due to arrive. Tragically and unexpectedly, Abby was stillborn. In the months after Abby’s death, Kristin continued to share about her daughter and her grief journey. From afar, I admired her vulnerability, courage, and faith. Seeing how brave she was, I asked Kristin if she’d be interested in creating a series of photos about Abby and their family’s loss. I was very humbled and honored when she said yes. I hope that as a society we can become better at recognizing and talking about grief. Thank you so much Kristin Naylor for being so courageous in sharing about Abby and missed she is. Some thoughts about grief and photos of this beautiful family are on my blog today. Link in profile. #shamoftheperfect #motherhoodrising #dfpcommunity
In an attempt to tell friends and family, the couple posted the news on social media. It wasn't long before other people started reaching out with their own stories of stillbirth, which both shocked and comforted Kristen. "It was like whoa," she said. "This is so much more common than anyone realizes." The Naylor's hope that the touching series helps others in their situation, and helps people to understand that stillbirth is not a taboo subject.