Beth and Thomas’ story: finding an outlet for grief
Beth and Thomas experienced a missed miscarriage. Here, Thomas writes about their experience, and how his photography became an outlet for his grief.
Neither of us knew how earth shattering an experience miscarriage can be, or the psychological fallout that follows, not only for the pregnant mother-to-be, but also for their partner.
Roughly one in four pregnancies end in miscarriage. This is the information my wife and I were bluntly given in an early pregnancy unit, just moments after being told she was experiencing a missed miscarriage. Prior to this, neither of us knew how earth shattering an experience miscarriage can be, or the psychological fallout that follows, not only for the pregnant mother-to-be, but also for their partner.
Miscarriage brings with it a devastating and unique grief that is often completely misunderstood and can induce a long lasting mix of emotions including guilt, depression and anxiety. These feelings are seldom spoken about publicly, rarely accepted by society and have only recently been acknowledged medically. It seems crazy that something experienced by so many women (and their partners) can still be such a taboo topic and so insufficiently researched in this day and age. Our society is missing the research to help us better understand miscarriage and all too often missing the empathy and openness that people bereaved by miscarriage need to move forward and grieve properly. I’m sharing our story in hopes of raising awareness and starting more open conversations about pregnancy loss.
After my wife’s miscarriage, I lost nearly all inspiration and desire to make photographs. Where I had before used my camera to help to navigate difficult times in my life, this time I hit a wall and was unable to make any work. As the months passed by, we continually bought each other flowers in an attempt to bring a small glimmer of hope. Month after month passed, but I eventually began to photograph these flowers as an outlet, seeing in them such short lived beauty, akin to that of our miscarried baby. Full of symbolism, these flowers reflected the cycle of life and death, as well as acting as a metaphor for varying emotions at different stages of our still ongoing grief. These photographs are an ode to our child that we never got the chance to meet.