Thursday, September 06, 2007
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep
We haven't posted much in the last few weeks, and I could make many excuses such as we're busy, we're busy, and we're busy (all quite true). But to be honest there's another reason as well. We've been wanting to share a recent experience with our blog readers, but didn't want to make anyone sad, so have struggled a bit with how to share it. We've started to volunteer with a photo organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. NILMDTS is an international association of photographers who provide portrait sessions free of charge to parents experiencing the death of a baby. Sessions are available for babies of all ages, even babies who are not full term, and are usually done in the hospital. As my introduction to NILMDTS I accompanied one photographer on a session a couple of months ago, and last week I was called to photograph my first session. It was a difficult and sad session for me to do, but I also left the hospital filled with happiness that I was able to give this family beautiful lasting images of their baby. The parents at this session were an inspiration to me - they were loving and open and welcoming. I left the session finding myself filled with a profound appreciation for the complete spectrum of parenthood including this very very sad experience they were sharing with me.
Some of my friends and family and clients have asked why I feel compelled to volunteer with NILMDTS. As a portrait photographer I really want to be fully available to my clients...my clients being "parents". For me this means being open to doing any kind of session that documents a baby's life and the love that is felt for this child. I also feel compelled to share my gift of photography - all of us are guilty of neglecting to photograph our own children from time to time, but I can't imagine not having at least one beautiful photograph of my own children. As a parent I cannot imagine the sadness of losing a child - I am happy to share the gift of photography with other parents who might otherwise never have a chance for beautiful pictures.
I wish to express my appreciation to the founders of NILMDTS for recognizing a need for this service, and for creating a venue for photographers to offer their pictures. I also want to thank the lovely photographer Jessica Fineran for providing moral support to me during and after the session. We will not be sharing any images from the session here. Thank you again - you know who you are - for opening your lives to me and my camera for the brief time that we spent together.