Thursday, April 17, 2014

Retouched Photos for Babyloss Parents

Something that has been very difficult for me in the years since losing Lily is the fact that I do not have any high-quality photos from my pregnancy or of Lily. I only found out about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (a non-profit organization that takes free professional photographs of precious babies who have been stillborn or are expected to die) after it was too late. To this day, I do not know why the hospital staff didn't inform me about NILMDTS so that I could have had that choice. I live in the capital city of North Carolina and have seen on the NILMDTS website that there are many volunteer photographers in this area. Those are precious, sacred moments that I will never get back.

I have been angry with myself for not getting more and better maternity photos. My sister kept wanting to take photos of me towards the end of my pregnancy, but we didn't get around to it. I was planning on getting professional photos of Lily after she was born... I never could have imagined that maternity photos and hospital photos would be all I'd ever have to remember my first-born baby.

Instead of dwelling on the photos I could have had, I am thankful for the photos I do have. Because I know they are a gift and a treasure. I know that in the "old days," mothers weren't even allowed to hold their stillborn baby, let alone capture forever photos. Even now, some parents don't think about the fact that photos are one of the only tangible keepsakes they will have left of their precious child. So I am truly, truly thankful for what I have.

Anyways, I know I am not the only person who regrets and wishes for more. Instead of sulking about it forever, I had another idea. How about making the photos I do have look the best they can look?

I looked up the volunteer NILMDTS photographers in Raleigh and reached out to a couple, telling them a little of my story, how I wished I had known about NILMDTS, and how I wondered if they could possibly help me by retouching the photos I do have to make them as beautiful as possible. Both photographers I reached out to were so kind and helpful and said they would be honored to help. I sent them the photos I wanted edited (there were quite a few) and they sent them back to me when they were finished. One of them even sent me a disc in the mail with all my edited photos, which was very special.

For those reading who also wish they had known about NILMDTS, who wish they had taken more and better quality photos throughout their pregnancy and when their baby was born, I hope you will consider looking into getting your photos retouched. I have included the places I have found that offer this photo retouching service to babyloss parents at the bottom of this blog post. Some places charge, some are free, and some ask for donations if you are able to give. I have included places that I know will be sensitive and caring. I am sure there are many places that offer photo retouching, but it is of a very delicate nature to trust someone with photos of your stillborn baby, knowing they will treat you and your child with the honor, respect, and dignity you deserve.

I have included a couple of my before and after photos below that were retouched to show you what a big difference it can make. I am beyond pleased with how they turned out. I could never thank these photographers enough for this priceless gift they have given me. They have given me much more peace about not having more and better quality photos. It doesn't replace not having the professional pictures, but it does ease the sting a bit.

I look at my photos now and see them as being so beautiful. I want you to feel the same about your photos. I know that photos are one of the few things you can share of your precious child with friends and family, so I want you to feel comfortable in sharing them.

Photo Retouching:
Please let me know if you know of any other person or organization who offers this photo retouching service to babyloss parents. Feel free to share this with others.


1 comment:

  1. I have the exact same issue. I live just down the road from you and there are NILMDTS photographers here too..... and the only photos I have are the few that the midwife took for me. My husband is a photographer and even HE didn't bring a camera to the hospital!!! And I have ONE photo of me pregnant! ONE! He photoshopped one of Kelsey's pictures (the one of her feet that I use as my avatar).... but he can't even look at the rest of them. I have only one pitiful picture of my belly and the one little thumbnail of her feet... that's it. I wonder if they could help me? Maybe I should ask? Great idea.... I have pined away over this exact same thing.


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