If a picture is worth a thousand words, Omaha photographer Tiffani Jedlicka’s images speak volumes.
At first glance, her photograph of a blissful mother holding her one-week-old baby may seem like just another print in Jedlicka’s award-winning portfolio. However, this is not your ordinary photograph.
The image is actually a photo snapped in her first newborn session after her son Reid Edward was born without a heartbeat on August 18, 2012.
Heartache and grief changed the Jedlicka family after the loss of their stillborn son. This was not part of the fairytale life Jedlicka, 29, had envisioned when she met her husband Scott in June 2007. Fourteen months after meeting, the couple wed and had planned their lives out — down to the names of their future children.
Those plans quickly changed when their first child turned out to be children — twins. Though the couple had planned to have two children two years apart, Trent and Blair were welcome detours.
That’s about the same time when Jedlicka fell in love . . . with her camera.
Every new mom loves to snap pictures of her baby (or babies in Jedlicka’s case), but the candid snapshots soon turned into portrait requests from family members and friends. Jedlicka eventually traded her career in Human Resources for a Nikon camera and a future as a work-at-home-mom. Senior portraits, newborns, and families: Jedlicka booked them all but hadn’t yet found her niche.
Jedlicka’s life plan took another twist. After a 10-week miscarriage, she conceived again. This time baby No. 3 was due three days before the twins’ birthday.
At 36 weeks, however, Reid Edward was delivered stillborn due to a knot in his umbilical cord.
Jedlicka spent hours holding Baby Reid, and just like with the births of Trent and Blair, photos were taken.
Reid’s portrait (the main photo above taken by NICU nurse and Omaha photographer Sheri Kimmey) shows a sleeping baby boy, just another miracle newborn in a newborn shoot. Not so fortunate, the Jedlicka family (pictured below by Amber Durr Photography) had to say goodbye.
Jedlicka needed to get back to work but wondered how she could handle newborn photo sessions.
“I was nervous,” Jedlicka said. “But photography gave me something to be passionate about and space to escape the overwhelming sense of loss.”
Uneasy, yet, hopeful, she decided to give it a shot . . . and the pictures tell it all.
Six months and 14 newborn sessions later, Jedlicka is still snapping portraits. And she found her niche: newborn photography.
Every time Jedlicka photographs a newborn, she is documenting a miracle.
“Reid’s death was just an accident, a horrible and tragic event that will always be heavy on my heart and deep in my soul,” she said.
But Reid’s death has taught her that all children, especially her own twins, are miracles.
“My passion is photographing happy mothers holding their beautiful healthy babies tightly in their arms,” Jedlicka said,”[and] my passion is growing as fast as my hope.”
Despite the family’s tragic loss, the images of Jedlicka’s future are becoming clear once again.
A photo of Trent and Blair playing with a Tigger toy purchased for Reid shows that their little brother will never be forgotten.
Snapshots of the addition on their home show that there is room in their hearts and home for more children.
Pictures of 14 happy moms with their little miracles prove that there is so much meaning behind a still image, and Jedlicka is ready to tell it with every click of her shutter.
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View more of Tiffani Jedlicka’s photos, by clicking here.
Jen Schneider, who is married with a daughter and stepson, wrote this guest blog for momaha. She’s a full-time middle school teacher who maintains her personal blog, Liv, Laugh, Love.
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