Charity offers remembrance photos for bereaved parents

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep gives service to parents who have suffered loss of baby

'Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep' offers remembrance photos to parents who have suffered the loss of a baby. Video: Daniel O'Connor

 

A charity that offers remembrance photography for parents who have suffered the loss of their baby will launch in Dublin on Monday.

The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation (NILMDTS) is a US organisation with a network of more than 3,000 volunteer photographers around the world.

The service is now available to grieving families in Ireland with a network of trained photographers around the country who are affiliated to the US organisation.

Photographer Eileen Hyland signed up to the project a few years ago and says the reaction from Irish parents has been “unreal” and overwhelmingly positive.

Eileen says that while some people may not like the idea of photographing a stillborn baby, the photographs help parents cope with the grieving process and serve as a treasured memento.

“A mother I spoke to during the summer said to me, if you told me six months ago I’d be having a photo taken of a dead baby, I’d run a mile and tell you that you’re mad but now these photos are the most precious items I own.”

“It’s one of those things where you’re only going to understand when you’re in the situation.”

“We can underestimate the grief that parents go through when a baby is stillborn. There could be a tendency to feel the baby didn’t exist or didn’t live ... but that mother has carried that baby for nine months.”

Eileen says the pictures help with the grieving and bereavement process because mothers feel more encouraged about sharing the images.

“It becomes an image that that mother is happy to share. When she can show it to other people she can talk to people about her story,” she says.

At a family’s request, a NILMDTS affiliated photographer will come to a hospital or home to do a sensitive and private portrait session.

The photographers give their time and their expertise free of charge.

Vicky Wall from Dungarvan, Co Waterford lost her baby daughter Líadan in August last year.

She says she was initially hesitant about having her baby photographed but says she is glad the last moments her family had with Líadan were captured.

She says she is proud of the photos and keeps them alongside the pictures of her other two children, Tadhg and Shannon.

“I wish more people knew about this service because there are too many what-ifs when it comes to the loss of a child. The photos are a keepsake to treasure and have helped me to come to terms with my loss.”

For further information, bereaved parents or hospital representatives can contact Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep on 083-3774777, by email on nilmdtsireland@gmail.com or at www.nowilaymedowntosleep.org