It has been 4 years since the first time I took a photography session with
Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. When the first session came I had already been signed up as a volunteer for 6 months. I remember going to my knees and praying to God to be my eyes, hands, ears and feet. I did not want to make any mistakes and I wanted to be a servant. 4 years later I still have the same prayer before every session.
I have watched people grieve in so many different ways. There is nothing predictable about personal tragedy and sadness. I never know which sessions will stick with me the hardest and which ones I will be having a dream about months down the road.
The main thing I want to share is that before volunteering I did not have any idea how many miscarriages, infant losses and still births there truly were. People experience this tragic loss everyday. It's so important for people to be able to grieve without feeling embarrassed or ashamed, to know that they are not the only ones who have experienced it and to know that they are not alone without support. I have met women who suffered a loss more than 25 years ago. They still feel the loss, but are even more sad that it was not something that was talked about. Memories about the pregnancy, birth or short life were not something people around them were comfortable talking about.
I think it is very special that we live in a time where people are more free to grieve these losses through photographs, memento's and custom made art pieces. I know several parents that have their babies name or footprint tattooed to be permanently close to them, it's a way to express love for the angel they miss so much.
I didn't realize that so many creative people made things just for these parents. Many of them have experienced loss themselves.
CarlyMarie Project Heal through grief has created something that connects people from all around the globe in a beautiful and sharing way through art and social media.
One of the first artists that I found who creates lovely pieces because of grief she experienced is
The Midnight Orange. I have featured her on my blog before. I love the beauty she creates.
Faces I have seen, people I have met and angels I have held are permanently in my heart and always will be.
When I had my photography studio I was certain that having someone share the wedding day behind the scenes was the most intimate thing a photographer could share, I was completely wrong.
Photographing for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep with the families and their babies is the most intimate thing I can imagine on earth. People are at their most vulnerable. Many photographers sign up to volunteer with NILMDTS and cannot continue on, I completely understand that. I believe God has given me the strength to do it and everyone does not have the same calling.