Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

For those of us who have lost a child, having something to remember him or her by is the key to moving on. I came across a website devoted to bereavement photography for infants and stillborn babies which I think is a lovely testament to the ways in which our loved ones live on in our hearts and memories.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a non-profit organization providing resources and volunteer photographers to provide lasting images for parents who have experienced the loss of a child. 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.

With her two daughters looking on,
Jennifer Clark holds her son Connor soon after he was born.
He died the same day. (Photo by Miyo Strong)

Each year nearly 3.3 million babies are stillborn, and more than 4 million others die within 28 days of coming into the world. [World Health Organization] With advanced medical technology, it is a parents expectation that those born unto us will out live us. When a baby dies, it is outside the natural order of life and families are left devastated and forever changed.

Every living being instinctually knows how to grieve. It is learning how to heal, that some need help with. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation.

Remembrance Photography is a very important step in this healing process. Photographs are one of the most precious and tangible mementos that a parent can have, showing the love and bond that was given and shared with their baby. These portraits will last for generations, and will honor and remember a tiny life that is forever loved and cherished.

When I experienced a miscarriage - just about ten years ago - I knew that in order to heal, I needed something physical to hold onto, something to allow me to never forget. My tattoo is something that I see on a daily basis, when I look in the mirror or when I'm in the shower. It's there with me, everwhere I go, just as my unborn daughter is and I welcome questions from people wondering about the meaning behind my body art.

I am smiling now, thinking of my first pregnancy and how confident I was, thinking that I was prepared to be a mother at the age of 22. Little did I know that the world had something else in mind for me. Things fell into place as they were meant to and I am now a mother of an amazing little boy who energizes me, inspires me and fills me with pride.

Knowing that organizations such as Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep exist puts me in awe of the many people who have made it happen. Although I know the pain and suffering the loss of a child brings, I hope that sharing this resource will provide someone with a way to move forward without the fear of forgetting about the past.

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