Sometimes, there are people who see a need that no one else has seen, or find a way to help that no one has thought of before. I just learned about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep and the practice of remembrance photography – although they were in Newsweek almost a year ago. These are professional photographers who provide their services to couples who suffer the loss of an infant; NILMDTS provides training for handling the emotional, legal, and artistic aspects.
As the video shows, they work with families before the birth, when genetic testing has revealed that the baby won’t live long. They are on-call to come to the hospital and provide the parents and family with a lasting record of their brief time with their child. This is a tremendously moving service to offer – to share in one of the deepest moments of grieving imaginable, and nonetheless to take stunningly high quality photos that truly capture the love and – as the families say – that their child was really there. The NILMDTS website includes a “find a photographer” link, and I was glad to find that we have such a photographer, Kris Bresnahan, here in the Northland.
A few years back, on my previous blog, I reviewed the book Defiant Birth: Women Who Resist Medical Eugenics, detailing the experiences of women who were pregnant in a variety of high-risk situations – including several who were advised to abort babies who would not survive long outside of the womb. In addition to the sorrow of losing their child, these families suffered from the lack of recognition of their loss. Friends and medical staff alike urged them to “just move on” without allowing space to acknowledge or grieve the loss.
The existence of NILMDTS and its more than 3000 photographers gives witness to the preciousness and beauty of each human life – and the love that these babies experience before their birth and in their short time on earth. This is one of the strongest pro-life images and messages I have seen in a long time.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Training Manual