Grieving Parents Share Beautiful Stillbirth Photo Series to Bring Comfort to Others

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Love Song Photography

TRIGGER WARNING: This post contains images and information about stillbirth and infant loss, which may be triggering to some.

Although unspeakably tragic, stillbirth is an all-too-common occurrence. It's every soon-to-be parent's worst fear, but sadly it does happen. Even so, it's a subject poeple are somewhat afraid to talk about as a society -- and this reluctance makes coping with the death of a child even harder for moms forced to deal with this loss. Not only are parents grieving, but they also are consumed with guilt and anxiety, so that reluctance can make the whole process even more isolating. That's where photographer Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro comes in: With sensitivity and grace, Natzic-Villatoro documents these births and gives heartbroken families the gift of an everlasting memory.

"I wanted to capture stillborn photography to change the stigma of having this subject be so hush-hush," Natzic-Villatoro told CafeMom.

The California-based mother-of-three's dedication to representing the hard parts of life -- whether stillbirth, the journey of a terminal illness, or a dying loved one's last moments -- has resonated so much with families that she was inspired to start the Love Song Foundation, which raises money to fund photo shoots for potential subjects in need.

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Click through the slideshow to see some truly unforgettable images from the stillbirth of little Monroe Faith Staley, whose parents wanted their story to be shared in the hopes that it would bring comfort to others. 

(Warning: These photos are very emotional!)

  • First Embrace

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    According to Natzic-Villatoro, mom Emily McClearen had a normal pregnancy with Monroe -- until a morning close to her due date when she noticed a lack of fetal activity. Sadly, an ultrasound revealed that the umbilical cord had wrapped around her baby's neck and her heart had stopped. McClearen delivered Monroe via C-section the next day.

  • Heaven Sent

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    Monroe's loss was felt not just by her mother and her father, Richard Staley, but by a 5-year-old brother who'd been "counting down the days" until her arrival.

  • Perfect Angel

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    Natzic-Villatoro said that Monroe "defined perfection." A perfect angel indeed.

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  • A Difficult Process

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    "Every time I leave a hospital room I think this could one day be me and I would hope someone would be available to nuture my thoughts and walk me through this difficult process," Natzic-Villatoro told CafeMom.

  • Never Forget

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    Though Natzic-Villatoro's job sounds incredibly difficult, the photographer said she likes to "showcase stories of all walks of life. The good, the bad, and the most difficult. Throughout every tragedy there is a silver lining and I am blessed that my clients allow me to capture it."

  • Hand-in-Hand

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    There are no words to express the poignant, painful beauty of this photo.

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  • The Weight of Love

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    At over six pounds, Monroe was sadly born at what would have been a healthy weight.

  • Tiny Footprints

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    "Every session that I do affects me differently. Whether it's a stillbirth or a documentation of a loved one's death, they're all so unique and equally important," said Natzic-Villatoro.

  • Sweet Princess

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    A lovely crown for a lovely, lovely girl. Rest in peace, Monroe.

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  • Unbreakable Bond

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    Even through their grief, the wonder of seeing their little girl for the first time couldn't help but put a smile on her parents' faces.

  • Flower Girl

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    Natzic-Villatoro said she took lots of photos so that she could provide Monroe's parents with as many memories as possible of their little girl's brief time on Earth.

  • Skin to Skin

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    Although many couples suffer this kind of loss in private, Natzic-Villatoro said Monroe's parents wanted their story to be shared in the hopes that it would bring comfort to others. Truly heroic.

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  • Final Kiss

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    Image via Love Song Photography

    Throughout the birth and the hours afterward, Natzic-Villatoro said Monroe's mom and dad were "pillars" of strength for each other. May their future lives together bring them much love, happiness, and joy following this tragedy. 

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