COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - There are some women who don't get to celebrate Mother's Day because their children are no longer with them. Although the topic of loss is absolutely heart-breaking, these four women share a story of hope, and inspiration. Their message can also act as a voice for women who are silently suffering through a similar situation.
It's called "The Mama Project" and the brains behind it belong to Columbus photographer Jessica Flynn. She was moved by a group of women who talked openly about losing their children -- whether through miscarriage, birth defect or another trauma.
"There's so much done to celebrate mothers and there should be, but there's also a lot of hurt that goes on and I was just wanting to find a way to honor them and to say these babies are babies and they're not here, but they still have mamas," explained Flynn, owner of Capture Photography.
The photographs from "The Mama Project" were posted on capture Photography's website Sunday morning in honor of Mother's Day.
Now we let these four amazing women share their story of loss and hope.
"To just be able to walk in the house and for the first time in my life be able to say "I'm Pregnant!" it was wonderful and I wouldn't trade it for the world," For Lisa Le and her husband, hearing the news that they were having not one, but two babies was thrilling, until they talked with their doctor.
Le explained, "The doctor came in and said my daughter was in fetal distress and my water broke and I screamed, No!"
Her baby Savannah didn't make it through the birth, "I just laid there and I couldn't believe it was happening. I had waited so long to get 18 weeks pregnant and I was halfway there and it's taken away. So then I asked about Reagan and they said if you don't continue to contract, maybe we can save him."
But Lisa didn't get to bring her babies home from the hospital, "I lost my twins 8 weeks ago. I had a boy and a girl and they were perfectly fine."
She says that experience hasn't hardened her, and she still has plans to expand her family, "There is hope, even though it feels like your heart has been ripped out, you have to keep going."
Priscilla Moore knows how to feels to go through multiple losses. She and her husband faced that tragedy shortly after they found out she was pregnant with Jake, "Every couple of hours they would come in and check his heartbeat and it was slowly decreasing, but it was still there. Two days later it stopped. They wrapped him up and we were in total shock, still couldn't believe any of this happened because he was stillborn."
The couple learned they were pregnant again, but once Priscilla was 7 weeks along, something went wrong, "We raced to the ER and sure enough there was no heartbeat, the baby had stopped growing."
Time passed and for a third time she was carrying a baby, a girl this time, who they named Livy. During an ultrasound their doctor discovered something troubling, "He just looked at me with a very solemn look and said "I'm sorry, there's no heartbeat". I just sat there in shock. I've read so many stories of people that scream out and here I was silent, I couldn't believe it, I was speechless. How could we be going through this again?"
But Priscilla says things are looking up now. She and her husband are expecting again, "No one has a crystal ball, we don't know what will happen in the next five to six weeks, but so far everything is good."
Brooke Whitis and her husband are also expecting a child, but the journey to this point in their lives wasn't easy. During her first pregnancy, her doctors delivered some heart-breaking news.
"I think they didn't want to tell me right off the bat, but they were pretty sure that it was anencephaly -- which is a fatal birth defect -- but let's wait, keep monitoring you, and make sure," Whitis said.
Since her baby would not survive after birth, the doctors told Brooke she could terminate her pregnancy or choose to carry him, "That was a hard decision and I would never judge someone who chose something else for their child, but for us it was so special to know him in that time we got. We ended up having close to 32 weeks with him."
Because of some complications, Brooke had to be induced and finally give birth to her little boy, Briar.
"As much as I was excited to meet him and hold him, I was not ready. I wasn't ready for it to be time. I remember putting him in my lap, like any mom would do with a live baby. It didn't seem weird at all, I just felt like I was interacting with my child. When you lose a child, it will never leave you. Those moments with him will be with me forever. He'll always be my first son," Brooke explained.
After having two healthy kids, Dianna Cash and her husband were hoping to grow their family, but they, too got some bad news, "We went in for a routine check-up at 13 weeks and found there was no heartbeat for the baby and I had a miscarriage. It was hard to go through, and there was grief and pain and hurt but I moved on semi-quickly."
When she was 20 weeks pregnant with another baby, much like Brooke, Dianna had to cope with the news that their baby had anencephaly, "He explained there was no skull on the back of our baby's head, which is anencephaly. So basically he explained there was a zero percent chance the child would live. We prayed a lot and thought a lot and decided to go ahead and deliver the baby. Andrew was born and he lived about 15 minutes and then passed away."
Since then Dianna has had a baby girl and she and her husband are in the stages of adopting another child.
She says although these losses have been hard on everyone, there is a way to cope, "Be as you need to be. If you're mad, be mad. If you're sad, be sad. If you are at peace, be at peace. Don't force yourself to be something you're not because you're supposed to be."
These mothers have had other children, are expecting and are adopting, so we wish them many Happy Mother's Days in the future.
If you would like to see the photo essay, "The Mama Project", visit http://capturephotosite.com/blog/?p=734