Bereavement Care · Stillbirth & Infant Loss Support

Photographing The Love Left Behind

Two nights ago, I did my first photo session for @nowilaymedowntosleep . This was my first experience with providing bereavement photography.

On my way there, I was not afraid of what baby would look like. As a loss mom being part of loss communities, I have seen many many photos of babies who have died. What I was most afraid of was needing to touch him and move him to position him for photos. Having miscarried early, I never got to see or hold my babies who had passed. (Because Amos was a missed miscarriage, I was not allowed to see him after they took him from me.) So, I had never seen or touched a baby who had died before that night.

Kristen wearing a surgical mask, her eyes the main thing visible on her face. Her eyes look tired, her soul looks heavy with grief and purpose. Behind her is the entrance hallway to Riley Children's Hospital in Indianapolis.

Holding and dressing that sweet baby for photos was heavy, but it was beyond a privilege. Loss families only get a day or two with their babies’ physical bodies before they have to say goodbye forever. To be let into that sacred circle and given the opportunity to lovingly care and photograph the love left behind holds a meaning beyond words for me.

If you had asked me five years ago if I would ever have volunteered for this, I wouldn’t have hesitated to tell you no. “That’s too much. It’s too hard. There’s no way.”

After the other night, I can’t imagine declining that privilege to serve loss families in this way.

Glass elevators at Riley Children's Hospital Maternity Wing

If you have a cause that you are passionate about, there is space for you in supporting an organization that serves the communities you want to help. Find your passion, serve your people, “be the change you wish to see in the world”. Even small actions make a big difference. Charity work shouldn’t be an item you tick off on your to do list or something you do for show to gain followers and clout. Go where your heart leads you, and you will find where you are called to make a difference.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a non-profit, volunteer ran organization serving families all over the United States. They need volunteers to function. Photographers, photographer assistants, medical affiliates (medical staff who are trained to do photos for patients), and digital retouch artists (photo editors) are all essential volunteers for on the ground work. However, they also need volunteers to do things like recruit local photographers, be the area coordinator dispatch person (calls photographers when the need arises to make sure that someone gets to the hospital), organize fundraising efforts like the memorial walk each year, and more.

Learn more about volunteering with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep here.

Official badge declaring I  am a Now I  Lay Me Down to Sleep Affiliated Photographer.

AmosAnchors.org is proud to list Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep as a key support resource for families who have experienced a loss due to stillbirth, miscarriage, or infant loss.

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