The touching photograph of newborn baby Leti alongside what should have been her twin brother, James, is breaking all our hearts.
The image shows little Leti beside an empty cradle with a blue swaddle.
Mum Heather Bowman told POPSUGAR, “My journey has been a long one. As I was approaching 36, I was still single and my dream was to always be a mum. I was not willing to sacrifice becoming a mother because I had not found a husband yet.”
She suffered a miscarriage in 2017, and then a few months later, she became pregnant with a set of twins, that she sadly lost at 16 weeks.
After undergoing countless tests, her doctors discovered she was part of the one percent of the female population that has a uterine malformation called “unicornuate uterus,” in which she was born with only half a uterus, one ovary, and one fallopian tube.
“The diagnosis was frightening for me, but my specialist was absolutely confident that I could carry a baby to term,” she said.
After starting IVF treatment she found out she was pregnant, she was ecstatic. When she discovered she was pregnant with twins, she was understandably terrified that they wouldn’t survive to term.
At her 17-week ultrasound, doctors couldn’t find a heartbeat for her son. She was devastated and worried all at once: “I had to compartmentalize my grief to stay positive for my daughter . . . that she was going to be OK.”
Thankfully, in February, she gave birth to both Leti and James via C-section at 36 weeks — and little Leti’s cry was “the biggest relief I have had in my entire life,” Heather said.
Heather arranged a photo shoot for her precious new daughter, and mentioned her story to photographer Jessica Young, who said she “had a wonderful idea to honour their twin bond . . . if I was comfortable.”
She broke down in tears when they arrived at the shoot and saw the blankets and the angel wings.
“When she placed Leti in her spot, all Leti could do was look over to where her brother would have been,” Heather said.
“I couldn’t help but feel he was lying there, letting her know that he is always with her. She smiled quite a few times while looking in his direction. I will cherish this photo forever.”
If you are struggling with the loss of an infant please know you are not alone. You can find some helpful resources and contacts below.
The Pink Elephants
Bears Of Hope Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support
Grief Support: 1300 11 HOPE
PANDA National Helpline (Mon to Fri, 9am – 7.30pm AEST) Call 1300 726 306
24 hours a day, 365 days a year (including Christmas Day) by dialling 1300 072 637
Lifeline 13 11 14
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