Confronting the Sorrow and Silence of Stillbirth

In one picture, a father holds the tiniest of caskets. In another, a couple stares at their lifeless newborn as if in a trance. Frame by frame, the pictures depict the sorrow of a stillbirth, a global health issue that is often hidden despite claiming millions of lives each year.

Matthieu Zellweger, a Swiss photographer specializing in public health, came to this emotionally charged assignment through The Lancet, which last year ran a series of papers on ending preventable stillbirths. The British medical journal highlighted the need for improved care during pregnancy and childbirth as a road map for eliminating 2.6 million annual stillbirths — and “an epidemic of grief” — by 2030.

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