This is a sensitive topic that all too many women have experienced along with their families in many cases or alone. Pregnancy loss is not talked about, but for those who have experienced this, the memories do not “just” go away.
In a general overview we are referring to when the death of an unborn child occurs through miscarriage (the loss of a pregnancy approximately before the 20th week), or a still birth (the death or loss of a baby before or during delivery). This is most often referring to a baby who died prior to birth. I have known of incidences where a child lived a relatively short time and was able to have volunteers take pictures.
Depending on when the loss occurs, a doctor or hospital staff may mention an organization called “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep”. This is a volunteer organization of photographers who give their time to photograph babies who have died. They can be found in over 40 countries
A video describing how the photographers do their job when a baby dies around 25 weeks gestation or sooner at the doctor’s discretion is presented with this link. (WARNING…the video may be upsetting for some individuals due to a child being deceased. There are no gruesome pictures here). I provide information that is available and this video shows and promotes an organization in a way I can not do. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCnIAzcI7po
Some people may think, “How can someone do this; take pictures of a child who has died”. During my training with Perinatal Bereavement Services Ontario (PBSO) now known as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL) I heard stories from women who said “This may be the only child I have and these may be the only pictures of my child”. The pain in their eyes was magnified by their staunch ability to convey their message of loss and love to others. To these women the gratitude expressed for the photographers who had compassion and sensitivity at a difficult time was immense.
I spoke with a few photographers who said this is a very emotionally difficult job to do but rewarding as well. Their heart aches for the individuals and families they meet. This is done from a pure point of giving in a time of need, sadness and distress. No one goes untouched by the loss of a child no matter how the loss occurs.
- Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep https://www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org/
- October is the National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month
- October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day
- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network (PAIL) is in Ontario, Canada. They offer supports for bereaved parents and offers professionals educational opportunities. You can find out more athttp://www.pailnetwork.ca/
All my best,
Barbara Gillett Saunders