Monday, April 28, 2008

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep...

I wanted to talk a little bit about a new charity that I have recently become a part of. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a very unique organization that helps families deal with the loss of their newborns by providing images of their babies. Unfortunately this is something that is more common than most of us realize. This is what the website has to say about what we do:
"... there is another aspect of pregnancy and birth. There is an unexpected place in this journey where some families may find themselves. When a baby dies, a world is turned upside down. There is confusion, sadness, fear, and uncertainty that cannot be explained. There is sorrow where there should have been joy. During this time, it might be impossible for families to know what they might need in order to heal in the future.
This is the place where the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives."

I also met the wonderful & talented Julia MacInnis through this charity. Julia has been training me to eventually work on my own and we did my first session at a local hospital on Saturday afternoon. I wanted to wait until I had actually been on a call and experienced it first hand before I spoke about this. Being a mother to a perfect and beautiful daughter and also having experienced my own loss this charity is very close to my heart. But, I also wondered if these experiences would also make this too hard to go through. Having now experienced it I can truly say that I feel so honored to be apart of the brief moments these precious babies have on earth with us. It breaks my heart that the world will not know this children and that their parents will never get to see them smile, laugh, roll over, crawl or run. But I am so blessed to be able to document their little hands & feet, to help their parents remember that he had his dad's nose or her mom's mouth. Memories quickly fade, especially when these encounters are so brief, but this images will help their brief moments on earth last a lifetime.

Julie has an amazing blog post about a mother she met when she photographed their baby. The mother wrote Julia a letter that really shows how much this means to the parents and how much it helps in the grieving process. Below is the letter from this mother to Julia.

"Dear Julia,

First I would like to apologize for taking so long to write this note to you. My little boy was stillborn on November 7, 2007. You came up to Fairfax Hospital to take pictures of us. Thank you so much! I can't put into words the deep gratitude I feel for what you did for me. Of all the people who helped me through that horrible ordeal, what you did helped me the most. I really can't thank you enough. You gave me a gift that I will always treasure. It must have been difficult to start your day by going on an unexpected trip to the hospital that morning. Thank you so much for saying YES and coming. I know it isn't easy to be with people who are feeling so much pain. I'm sure it takes a toll on you too. I want you to know that what you did for me and what you gave me is priceless. The pictures and the slideshow have helped my grieving process so much. There is so much I feel that I can't explain or put into words. Just know that you did so much more than just take a few pictures. Those pictures are the only physical things I have left of Christian. I can't imagine trying to get through this without them. My husband and I and the nurses took pictures of him, but they aren't anything like the ones you took. I used one of the pictures you took of Christian's hands to make a remembrance card, which I sent to my family and friends. Making that card helped my grieving process and I couldn't have done it without that beautiful picture you took. I've included one of those cards as I thought you might like to see it.

My family and I are doing well. I hope someday we will have another precious little baby. If we do, it would be an honor if you would take a family picture of us. Thank you so much for all that you did.



NILMDS was recently featured on the Today Show on NBC and they did such a great job, if you can please take a moment to watch it:


JulMac said...

Great post Erin. I'm happy to hear you're onboard and that this has such meaning for you. I'm delighted to work with you!

Susan Keightley said...

Hey Erin! You gave me your blogging info on the Enterprising Moms listserv. I checked your blog just to see what it "looked" like - you understand the visual learner!

I was surprised to see such a thoughtful post for this organization. I work with families who have been through quite a lot. I have never heard of this organization and I will add it to my list of resources. Several families I know have lost infants and you (and the organization) offer them a wonderful, simple gift.

Thanks for the post!

Susan Keightley
The Parent Consultant
Unique Resources for Unique Families