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Women On The Best And Worst Things People Said To Them After A Miscarriage

Arkansas-based photographer Melanie Paterak was approached by Madison -- a woman who had just had a miscarriage -- with a request.

Madison shared with Melanie some words that had negatively impacted her after her difficult pregnancy loss and she had the idea to document them in a photo series with women who had been through the same experience.

"I told her that I too had suffered a miscarriage," Melanie told 10 daily. 

From there, Madison and Melanie began planning a photography session together -- but despite having the best of intentions -- when it came to the day, some of the women decided to back out.

"The day we actually photographed the series was a bit emotional. We had a few women planned to be there with us and everyone cancelled," Melanie said.

"I sort of frantically put up a post on my business page with 24 hours to go that we needed women that had been through miscarriage or infant loss to help us in a photoshoot the next day."

READ MORE: Why We Need To Have Miscarriage Leave

Melanie said the response to her request was overwhelming, having received hundreds of messages with all of the women who had got back to her turning up.

"I met many of them for the first time that day, and we all bonded through our experience. It is the 'group' that no one ever wants or expects to be a part of, but it was what brought us together on that morning," she told 10 daily.

"I’m thankful for the support of them and I’m hopeful that I was of some support to them as well. I hope the photos will just open up conversation on a super hard subject to discuss."

Within the photos, Melanie asked the women to share both the best and worst things people had said to them following their loss with some having gone through miscarriage, stillbirth or having a rainbow baby.

READ MORE: Understanding Miscarriage: It's Not Your Fault

"We completely understand that during a time of loss, people generally do not know what to say. Sometimes the kindest people with the best of intentions can say things that in your time of pain are just interpreted differently than intended," Melanie said.

Melanie advised if you are unsure of what to say to someone who has gone through pregnancy loss, that a simple "I'm here for you" is always best.

"Just be those words for someone. Simply be there. You don’t even really have to say anything at all if you’re not sure what to say," she told 10 daily.

Throw your arms around someone in a hug. Bring them a meal. Be slow to speak and first to love.

Melanie said she has been taken about by the response to her photo series and didn't expect it to gain the amount of response that it has.

"It’s honestly been a little overwhelming but I am glad it has opened up a conversation and honestly, it has helped people," she said.

"I’ve received so many kind messages from other women thankful for the conversation."

You can see the photo series below:

"She’s in a better place.” Was I not good enough? Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"At least you didn't have to get to know her and then lose her." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"At least you weren't THAT pregnant." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"He is so handsome… at least you would never know he had a heart condition.” Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"At least you're still young... you can try again" (28 years tomorrow). Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"You aren’t going to cry on me, are you?” Rainbow baby: December 15, 2008. Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"You can try again … it’s not a big deal." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"At least you were not that far along." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"At least you were able to get pregnant.” Two of my babies died. Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"I'm sorry you can't have children." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"Just remember she doesn't replace him" (after stillbirth). Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"There had to be something wrong with your baby." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"She is beautiful!” My 36-week stillbirth girl was PERFECT. Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"All she ever knew was the love and warmth of being in your belly." Portraits by Melanie Photography
"Your baby will always be with you." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"You are not alone." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"It's not your fault." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"I'm sorry I know how much you wanted this, I'm here for you." Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography
"I want you to see that even through the greatest losses and sadness of the times you had, you my beautiful baby girl, you will overcome it ALL!" Image: Portraits by Melanie Photography

October is Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month. You can see more of Melanie Paterak's work on Facebook. 

Featured image: Portraits by Melanie Photography

Contact Valentina at vtodoroska@networkten.com.au