How You Can Help Families Suffering the Loss of A Newborn
I’ve been very conflicted about this post. No one wants to talk about loosing an infant, so I wasn’t sure if I should post something about this or not. But the more I thought about it, the more I thought I should. If you want to learn about an organization who helps people who have suffered the loss of a baby, and how you can easily help them, then please read on. On the other hand, if you’re easily moved to tears, and you don’t want to cry right now, you might want to skip this post.
Ok, so you’re still reading… good.
When we started the baby guessing game website, WhatsInMyBelly.com, we wanted to create a fun way to bring our family and friends together around the birth of our 2nd child. As I worked on the website and waited on our new addition, I couldn’t shake that dreaded fear … ”What if something bad happens to my wife or my unborn child?” I can’t imagine the heartache surrounding loosing a newborn. But it does happen.
Last week, I saw a post on Facebook (thanks Jessica), that mentioned an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. This organization provides free professional photo sessions for parents who have lost a baby.
I know. You’re probably having the first thoughts I had. If I lost a baby, I’m not sure I’d want photos. But after some more thought… my mind began to change. If you only get to spend a few minutes or days with your child, wouldn’t you want to remember them that much more? It turns out that having photographs of your child is part of the healing process for many parents who go through this. Many go on to have other children, and they don’t want to forget that limited time with the one who left so quickly.
Now, Sandy Puc’, C0-founder of NILMDTS, has been honored as one of the 2012 L’Oréal, Women of Worth. The ten honorees will compete via online voting for a chance to win $25,000 for their charity. Public online voting for the Women of Worth National Honoree will take place from November 5th through November 21st on www.womenofworth.com.
So, if you want to help Parents who have suffered through the loss of a newborn, just click this link and vote for Sandy. If she wins, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep will get $25 grand. That will help a lot more parents heal through the art of photography. You can vote once a day!
Now, to learn a little more about NILMDTS, and how this grant could help the organization, we had a little Q&A with Mindy Tappan, PR/Media Outreach Manager.
1. Tell us a little about your organization and how you got started.
The mission of NILMDTS is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring the child’s legacy.
In February 2005, photographer Sandy Puc’ received a unique call from a couple, Cheryl and Mike Haggard, to photograph their six day-old son Maddux who was going to be pulled off life support. Sandy rearranged her schedule to come to their aid. Sandy took portraits of them cradling their son. She photographed the couple with Maddux at the hospital before he was removed from life support and after — when he was free from the tubes and the wires that had sustained him.
Shortly after, Cheryl and Sandy discussed starting a nonprofit to provide the same photography service to other families in the same situation as Cheryl. In April 2005, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep became a nonprofit and has provided thousands of families of babies who are stillborn or are at risk of dying as newborns with free professional portraits with their baby.
In seven years, NILMDTS now administers a network of more than 2,700 active volunteer photographers in the United States and in 40 international countries.
2. Over the years how many families has NILMDTS photographed and how many photorequests do you receive each year?
At least 25,000 families around the world and in every state have been served. However, because of the sheer volume of photographers and services provided, it is difficult to track and the number may be much greater. NILMDTS also trains nurses to take the images if a photographer is not available. Most of these sessions are not counted. Therefore, it is difficult to truly measure the number of families served through of NILMDTS. Beyond the numbers, the gift NILMDTS offers is priceless for the families.
3. In your experience, do most parents who experience a tragedy of this type seek out photos? Have you had any who declined the photos?
While parents sometimes at first don’t think about getting images, they are always glad they did. We have a number of parents who had losses before we were founded and wish we were around so they could receive our services.
The images that we provide become a part of the healing process for most families.
4. What kind of costs are associated with your organization? What is the average cost to photograph one family?
In order to manage thousands of volunteer photographers and have an extensive online search to find a photographer, it costs about $100 per session. This does not take into account the generosity of the photographers who graciously give of their time, talent, and many out-of-pocket costs to provide the sessions.
5. L’oreal is offering up a $25,000 grant to the winner of this competition. If you get the most votes, and win the grant, how would that help your organization?
Winning the additional $25,000 from L’Oréal would help provide additional training for photographers and more support services for NILMDTS. That translates into an additional 250 families we could serve that may not otherwise be served.
6. Other than voting, what could someone reading this do to help your organization?
Photographers can apply to become a volunteer within our organization. We have several volunteer positions including affiliated photographer, assistant to a photographer, parent coordinator, digital retouch artist (DRA), and area coordinator.
Non-photographers can support this non-profit organization by making a donation through the web site or by mailing a donation to 2305 E. Arapahoe Road, Suite 220, Centennial, CO 80122.
If you would like to read some of the stories and see some of the photos taken by NILMDTS photographers, click here.
Again, if you want to help parents who have suffered through the loss of a newborn, just click this link and vote for Sandy. If she wins, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep will get $25k. This will help NILMDTS reach out to 250 families. You can vote once a day!
$25000, grants, loss of a newborn, L’Oréal, L’Oréal Women of Worth 2012, NILMDTS, non-profit, Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, photography, pregnancy, Sandy Puc', still birth, Women of Worth