Emotional Photo Series Calls Out the Painful Way People Talk About Miscarriage & Infant Loss

Dana Dewedoff-Carney

Project Benjamin
Dana Dewedoff-Carney

Dana Dewedoff-Carney was at a routine checkup as she began her second trimester when her baby boy's heartbeat was nowhere to be found. It was then that her doctor said, "It was the wrong baby." 

"I screamed, and cried, and had to be held down just to do another check," Dewedoff-Carney tells CafeMom. "And what made it worse was when she pleaded to me that it was the wrong baby. And my body was doing its job to get rid of it. Well, 'it' was our son. That was our hope. Our dreams. Our future. Baseball games. Diaper changes. His brother and sisters playing with him. Kisses and laughs and him being bad. And finding himself in trouble. All of that was gone. And the few months I carried him. The sickness I went through. And to be told he was the wrong baby. That was our son." 

The doctor's absolutely heart-wrenching and oh-so-wrong statement will forever haunt the 29-year-old mom of three, but the moment also compelled her to take a stand on the way we talk about miscarriage and infant loss. She was inspired to create a movement and powerful photo series named after her son called Project Benjamin.

  • The photos feature women holding chalkboards that share the heartbreaking, inappropriate language they were met with when they experienced miscarriage or infant loss. 

    project benjamin
    Dana Dewedoff-Carney

    Alongside the images posted on Facebook, Dewedoff-Carney wrote, "Sometimes #Struggledoesnothavealook. 1 in 4 pregnancies will end in miscarriage or loss, yet how many women do you know who actually talk about it? We are the face of 1 in 4 pregnancies. Start the discussion. We wrote down the common things people say to us before and sometimes even after knowing about our losses. The things said to us can sometimes hurt. Our babies matter too."

  • Advertisement
  • The post of the stunning portraits has gone viral, wracking up more than 45K shares and 2.7K comments.

    Project Benjamin
    Dana Dewedoff-Carney
  • Dewedoff-Carney is hopeful that these women's stories will raise awareness about the ways we're falling short in talking about miscarriage and infant loss. 

    project benjamin
    Dana Dewedoff-Carney

    "Women who lose pregnancies prior to say 'the safe zone,' they suffer in silence because they feel they can’t talk about it with people," she explains to CafeMom. "This project proved there isn’t really a safe zone. So many women want to talk about the children they’ve lost to pregnancy and infant loss. But they feel shame in bringing it up, because it is such a taboo subject." 

    She hopes the campaign points out just how much some women struggle in silence. "Sometimes struggle is only visible to the one who suffers," she notes. "It’s so important to check in on friends, family, and associations. Silence is dangerous. And we should encourage each other to talk about our struggles. I struggle still. I may be dressed up and smiling right now, but it doesn’t mean I don’t struggle over the loss of our son.

    "Every day is different. So is every hour. It simply means that I am continuing to live in this beautiful and messy life. And that’s why I’m talking about it. Because no one should live in silence. Talk about things. Get them out. I am."

  • The response to Project Benjamin has given her hope.

    Project benjamin
    Dana Dewedoff-Carney

    "I am so humbled by all of the support," she shares. "It’s a heart-wrenching yet beautiful thing. Because of our son, and the other children named in this project, a bigger discussion happened. It brings me a sense of peace."

  • Although Dewedoff-Carney knows that the subject is one that will continually make some people uncomfortable, she believes it's imperative that women feel empowered to share their stories.

    Project benjamin
    Dana Dewedoff-Carney

    "I know that it made people uncomfortable talking about Benjamin," she shares with CafeMom, "but I had to. For my emotional well-being. And to honor him. Sure, people STILL don’t know what to say, but again, how can I blame them when we are brought up not being taught what to say to people going through miscarriage or pregnancy loss? No one teaches us how to handle this stuff. It’s about time we start."