God this is hard. So hard. It's so hard for me to come out of my comfort zone and talk about a topic that I see several times a month. It's hard because I don't really "talk" about it. I photograph it. How, or why do you photograph this topic you ask? "How can I not?" I reply.
For most being intentionally uncomfortable physically, emotionally and mentally takes some willpower. I know for me, that willpower is not very tenacious. Today it is heavy on my heart and I'm just going to open up.
This topic...death. Not just death in general. We all will die eventually and we know that. Most accept that is part of the life cycle. Obviously most of you who follow my work know where I'm going with this and you know that that I'm getting ready to talk about the death of a baby. Which to me includes, miscarriage, stillborn, and infant death. Yeah....that topic.
For several years I was Involved with an organization called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. This organization provides remembrance photography for families who have or know their infant child will die. This is where I met most of the families I served. For personal reasons I no longer volunteer for NILMDTS however I have chosen to still be called upon to come serve these families through my own business practices.
In those years, I have met numerous families whom I have served. This never is an easy job. I never think it a burden, and I don't do it to boost my business, and it certainty isn't my good deed for the day. Simply put, I do it because God told me to do it.
Yes, I'm gonna bring God into this blog. Because why not.....after all, I am talking about death, I might as well throw in the ultimate death right?
Without going back 2000 some years, most of you know the story, God sent his only son to earth to be raised as a man. A mortal. To serve us. To teach us. To die for our sins. So when we die our soul will go to Heaven. Right? Well if you don't believe that it's ok. It's hard to believe in something you don't see or feel with your eyes or hands. And I'm not here to debate my or your beliefs. And I'm gonna love ya know matter what your beliefs or ways of life are. Want to know more? You can find it here in the Bible. ;)
What I'm here to say is that being uncomfortable is something that God needs us to do. God sent and sacrificed his son to serve us. Why would we not want to serve others? Humanity definitely needs us to serve each other, and to do so without grumbling, or doing it in vain.
Back to my topic of death of these babies, yes, I'm getting real here. If I don't get uncomfortable and talk about these babies that die every day around the world how will we ever help heal these families?
It's our job to be uncomfortable when someones child dies. It's our job to just be there. To stand there in the moment and just be. To be a servant of of God by serving these families in need. Most of us yes will stand by a family member or friend who has tragically experienced this heartbreak. But how long does that last? A month, three months.....a year or so? It needs to last a lifetime. That family has lost a lifetime of hopes and dreams when their beloved died.
I want you to to know that these tragic deaths are happening on a daily basis. Hourly. About one percent of all pregnancies will end in still birth in the US alone. That is roughly 24,000 babies a year for babies who are born after 20 weeks gestation. The number of miscarriage is about half the rate of live births per year. So, give or take, 3,853,472 million babies are born each years in just the US. So 1,926,736 living tiny precious humans will never meet their parents. The probable causes are far to great to get into at this point.
Back to my topic because I tend to ramble on. What are we doing to serve these families and to keep their memory alive? What more can I do? What can you do? I know there are several foundations and organizations that help families worldwide. I want to help families locally. Because these families are my people. They are our neighbors, the people we work with, the mother and father who sit behind us in church, they are the siblings that miss their brother or sister, they are the mothers we walk by in the grocery store, the telemarketer on the phone, the doctor that goes home after attending a still birth and is brought right back to their own angel, the nurse who feels the same pain as you. 1 in 4 pregnancies will end either before 20 weeks or after. That's not 1 in 4 women. That 1 in 4 pregnancies.
Let's stop the want for a "trigger warning" on images, or post.
Let's stop the cost and burden of medical expenses and funeral expenses.
Let's stop being so comfortable in our own little shell and start realizing that it is just as normal for a family to lose a baby to death as it is for a family to have a live birth.
Let's stop to think about what we say and how we say things to women about becoming pregnant or their choice to not become pregnant.
Let's stop thinking it's all going to be ok, because God is it ever going to take time to heal. And at that your heart will never be the same.
Let's stop and say that we are hear for you and we mean it.
Let's stop being so being so insensitive because it makes you uncomfortable.
And let's start humbling ourselves, and doing the work like a servant. Let's get on our knees and pray that for just one day these families feel a sense of normalcy in their lives. Let's be the hope that they see.
Today's world is so wrong, but really when you look, you can see the good. You can see and find people who are serving others all over and helping those less fortunate or those who are heart broken.
In the next coming weeks, I plan on sharing a few stories of some sweet babies that have touched my life in more ways than one. I pray that you will humble your hearts and minds and join me in remembering these lives and lifting up these and all families!
If you feel so moved to help our local families monetarily I have a wonderful non-profit organization that gives 100% of donations for medical and funeral cost to families in our area who area. You can read about little Rowen and her families desire to serve others here at Remembering Rowen. There are also several resources for grieving families.
If you are searching for ways to connect to other mommies in the area please reach out to Hope Mommies.
If you know that your baby may not live long, or suddenly are living this nightmare and want remembrance photography, please contact me. If I'm not available, I will find someone to come be with you.
If you are a photographer and would like to volunteer your talents to grieving families, please reach out to me and I will gladly help you and walk you through providing precious memories.
If you are a mother or father who has experienced this type of loss, I virtually hugging you and if you ever need a shoulder, and ear or an open heart to spill your thoughts and feelings into, I am here. Contact me, we WILL meet and I WILL listen.
If you are a family I have served, thank you for allowing me to serve you and to help with the healing process. If you would like me to share your story, please contact me.
I loving memory of
Benjamin Lee, Born sleeping
May 2, 2019