Lorna Johnstone

Lorna Johnstone is a Leeds based artist and illustrator. TW – the following statement references baby loss & stillbirth.

“I became a parent for the first time last year when my daughter was stillborn at term. Anyone who has been through baby loss will be familiar with some of the same experiences as me: the grief, the isolation, the feeling of not belonging in the world any more.

Nancy was born on a Monday morning on the 28th of June. She weighed 3 kilos, had curly hair, longer legs than we expected and she looked like her dad. We spent time with her after she was born, held her, took photos, and I read to her for the first and last time. Her grandparents came to meet her and the midwives were so kind, they talked about her like a real baby, which she was.

I drew this piece in the impossibly difficult weeks following Nancy’s birth, coming back to it time and again when I felt able. It allowed me to study her face and to spend time with her in an intentional way.

I was not social media public during my pregnancy and many people won’t know I’ve even had a baby, as there was no baby for them to meet. However I wanted to be included in the exhibition as this is my experience of parenthood, and there are many others like me. I always appreciate seeing loss parents represented outside of our own community, because sometimes we feel hidden, often we feel like we shouldn’t talk about our children because it so clearly can make other people uncomfortable. I hope that seeing themselves represented might help others to talk about their experiences and to feel less alone. I hope it might help others to talk to us too.”