Heather Bowman is no stranger to pregnancy loss. Before she fell pregnant with her twins – a boy and a girl – she experienced multiple miscarriages including a previous twin pregnancy. She was also diagnosed with unicornuate uterus, a rare uterus malformation, in which only one-half of the uterus forms.

When Heather discovered she was pregnant with twins (again), she was naturally over the moon. However, at 17 weeks gestation, at a routine ultrasound, Heather discovered one of the baby’s hearts had stopped beating.

Heather named her little boy James and, although she was heartbroken, she found the strength to continue forward for her daughter.

Leti’s angel 

James’ twin sister, Leti, was born in 2019. Heather arranged a newborn photoshoot for her daughter through the photographer, Jessica Young. Heather confided in Jessica about her previous losses and about James and it was Jessica who came up with this beautiful idea for a photo. One that celebrates the twin bond and honours James.

twin photoshoot honouring pregnancy loss
Source: Jessica Young Photography

Jessica staged two identical wooden cots on the floor, one with a pink blanket and one with a blue blanket, both shaped as angel wings and tied together. On one cot lies Leti, wrapped in a pink swaddle and staring over at the empty cot where her brother should be.

All Leti could do was look over to where her brother would have been, and I couldn’t help but feel he was lying there, letting her know he was there and that he is always with her,” says Heather.

“She smiled quite a few times while looking in his direction. So this photo means the world to me, I will cherish it forever and I cannot wait to tell her the story of how she came to be and how her brothers and sister [from previous losses] watch over her day and night.”

Jessica shared the stunning photo on her Facebook page and it immediately went viral with Leti becoming a strong symbol for families everywhere who have experienced pregnancy loss.

Heather explained that she never expected the photo to reach so many people but she is glad that it has.

The subject of loss itself makes one feel so alone because this topic is usually very taboo. It is amazing how many women I know came out of nowhere when I first talked about my miscarriage and then loss of my twins, telling me they had gone through something similar.

When you are in the dark, it is very hard to see the light but in order to get to the other side of hell, you have to go through it. I have gotten to the other side and I hope others can see that they can as well.”

One year later…

Jessica Young recently shared another photo one year after Leti’s newborn shoot – this time baby Leti is celebrating her first birthday cake smash. Jessica used the same blue and pink blankets, still tied together, and added two cupcakes, one blue and one pink.

Source: Jessica Young Photography

As Leti stares up at the camera, you can feel James’ presence there too.

Gone, but never forgotten. Leti will always have these beautiful photos to remind her that James is always a part of her.

More common than we think

Pregnancy loss, at any stage, is devastating. According to health.gov.au, every year around 110,000 Australians have a miscarriage, approximately 2,000 families lose a baby to stillbirth,  and 600 lose their baby in the first 28 days after birth.

Please know you are not alone. Below are some resources and stories about pregnancy loss.

What to read next

Resources 

Author

Born and raised in Canada, Jenna now lives in Far North Queensland with her tribe. When the mum-of-three is not writing, you can find her floating in the pool, watching princess movies, frolicking on the beach, bouncing her baby to sleep or nagging her older kids to put on their pants.

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