Most of us either know someone, have a friend of a friend, or have actually experienced the loss of a newborn baby. It’s an incredibly heart-wrenching to go through, or to watch a loved one go through. It’s especially hard to talk about after the fact. A few months ago I had the privilege of attending a fundraiser in Aldergrove benefiting Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, aka NILMDTS. I had no idea what I was in for. From the moment the lights were dimmed and the multi-media presentation was shown to explain the purpose and mission of NILMDTS, I was crying my eyes out.
NILMDTS works with parents all over the continent who have lost their precious babies. When it’s too late to do anything else, the photographers from NILMDTS come to the hospital to take keepsake photos of the child either alone, with the parents, or both. And they don’t stop there. NILMDTS has a team who re-touches photos of the babies, making them look like the little angels they are. They also make a video of the pictures. ALL for free. When it’s all done, the parents have something to show their families, and to remember their lost child by.
This is an organization I never would have known existed, but there are selfless professional photographers all over the Fraser Valley who give their time to this cause. It’s not for everyone, entering into a situation this soaked with grief is trying for anyone, much less a photographer who’s aim is to get the photos taken with as much care and tact as possible, yet remain focused on getting the best shots possible for the parents to have. My friend Rima Dickson of Captured Memories is the area coordinator for Langley, and she’s the first to admit how emotionally volatile it is for all involved. She’s also quick to let you know that this is the most worthwhile work she does. I tend to agree.
Some other photographers working in the Fraser Valley include Joan Derish of Jade Stone Photo in Chilliwack, Loraine Ehresman of Ehresman Photo in Surrey, and Lori Holden of Lori Holden Photography in Abbotsford.
WHAT: A North American Organization that mobilizes local photographers to volunteer their time to create photo keepsakes of babies who’ve died in utero or just after birth.
WHERE: Hospitals near you; nurses often make the call to NILMDTS.
WHY: Because parents need to treat their baby as a lost member of the family and have beautiful pictures of his or her short time on earth.
HOW YOU CAN GET INVOLVED: Spread the word! The more of us who know this organization exists, the more people they can help. You can also support them financially, or volunteer your time if you’re a professional photographer or editor.