I can’t remember if I mentioned it here, but last April I started a photography business. I am strictly a portrait photographer, and mainly shoot families and newborns.
One day last week, a fellow photographer approached me about joining a well-known organization that offers free newborn-style and family portraiture for families with stillborn children. These volunteer (professional) photographers go to the hospital within hours of the baby’s passing to provide this service.
Imagine that for a minute – you are a stranger to these people who are experiencing the worst tragedy of their lives and you are there to document the brief time they have with their beloved child.
What an enormous responsibility. The emotion must be overwhelming, right? Well… today I put my foot in the water so to speak.
This morning, I “assisted” at one of these shoots. It was beautiful. He was beautiful. 7 lbs. 7 oz. of perfect baby boy. His parents were completely blindsided. They had no reason to think that they wouldn’t be bringing this little man home. My heart broke for them. I cried for them as I held their precious son, and very carefully cradled him into new poses for the photos. I made sure he was in the most comfortable positions possible, and that he was treated with nothing but love and respect. I even found myself rocking him as the other photographer changed the backgrounds, or adjusted props.
And that’s when I “got it.” This is why these ladies do this. These little babies need to be remembered, and showered with as much love as their tiny bodies can hold. These parents need to be protected from what becomes blur; their memories. The heart tries to hide tragedy, and often does a spectacular job. The details matter. The way his hair shined… the way his feet perfectly filled the palm of your hand, and the way his skin felt next to your cheek. All things these parents will never experience again with these babies.
I’ve got to do this. It is going to be amazing. It is going to be ridiculously hard, but so very worth it.
Wish me luck.