This post might get a little heavy, we are talking about losing babies and pregnancies. If you're not in a place to read this, skip it for now. But one thing I think is really important is to open the communication about loss.
In this world we live in death is a part of life. None of us want it to be, but it is. It's unnatural for anyone to die, but a child, a baby, it's unthinkable. And yet, so many families have had to say goodbye to their little ones.
Since 1988 October has been named Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. What a beautiful way to think of these families and the babies that have been lost. But these families don't get to forget about their loss for 11 months and remember just this one month, they have to remember and carry it with them every second of every single day.
There is nothing we can do for the pain these parents have, but can we feel their pain with them for a little while? Can we remember their child with them?
Bereavement or remembrance photography has been a way for many families to deal with this terrible thing. These photographs are often the only tangible thing they have left of their baby.
Nonprofits like Now I lay me down to sleep and Empty Arms have professional volunteer photographers who will come to your place of birth and photograph the last moments you have with your baby. Some parents may never want to look at these photos, but they have them. They are waiting for them so they can remember their child.
You can find out more about bereavement photography here:
The NIH actually did a study on bereavement photography for parents who suffered loss in 2019. There were 6 families that took part in interviews, so it's not a huge study but I think it's still very insightful!
It seemed that having photographs gave the families "validation of experience" They were able to show that their baby existed, confirm their identity as a parent, and signifies the baby's place in the family. Another thing the families expressed was having photographs were a way of opening communication about their child and their loss. Photographs also helped siblings to understand the loss. And all 6 of the families mentioned that their photos were a permanent record of their child, a record that would live long past any of them.
"The moment a child is born, a mother is born also."