Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Creating Memories of a Dying Baby For Parents Through Photography

The images serve as touchstones for feelings and memories pertaining to deep significant relationships and spiritual connections some of which may flourish in the intimacy of the last days or months of life.

Todd Hochberg

Bereavement Photography

To those unfamiliar with the topic, Bereavement Photography may seem a bit unusual to say the least.

For the parents who have been the recipients of the photographic memories captured by volunteer photographers, bereavement photography is a priceless gift, documenting the often all to brief life of their baby.

The Healing Benefits of Bereavement Photography

There is a strong healing aspect to bereavement photograph. Todd Hochberg of Touching Souls shares how photographs help parents with their grieving process in an article originally published in Share.

Photographs help NICU parents by:

  1. Making their baby's life and death real for the parents. Making the life real is a significant issue with brief perinatal lives.
  2. Validating the parents feelings, both at the time of their baby's death and up to the present.
  3. Being an affirmation of parenthood, a reminder that there was a child that they were a parent to.
  4. Providing a tangible record of their time with their baby. The photographs often include cherished close up details of their baby's physical features and evidence of loving familial bonds.
  5. Allowing them to connect with the many feelings and memories that may have gotten lost in the torrent of overwhelming grief at the time or in the weeks since.
Todd feels that offering parents an illustrated narrative of "their story" for themselves and the loved ones they choose to share it with, helps to fostering greater social support and connection, which also aids in the grieving process.

Photographers Offering Bereavement Photography Services

Touching Souls - Healing with Bereavement Photography
Photographer Todd Hochberg of Touching Souls has supported parents experiencing perinatal loss, as they say goodbye to their babies, since 1997. The photographs of babies with their grieving parents are available as valuable emotional mementos for families in Chicago.

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS)

Now I lay Me Down To Sleep (NILMDTS) is a non-profit organization devoted to offering gentle and beautiful photography and videography services. Their services are available to all parents experiencing the death of a baby. There are no fees for creating these photographic memories.

I Say My Prayers
I Say My Prayers involves taking pictures of terminally ill children, individually and/or with their families. The child may be a newborn who will never leave the hospital or it may be a teenager. I will capture the "spirit" and the "life" of the child for the families to hold on to forever. The sitting and the pictures are donated by me to the families.

Bereavement Photography helps to ease the parents grief by creating memories that will last a lifetime for these grieving parents. The photographs help them to hold on to memories and document the life of their baby.

Dyer K. 2007-8. Bereavement Photography
. Squidoo.com
Hochberg T. In Your Eyes; The Caregiver and Bereavement Photography. Share. 2003.

Image: Nic Luc. Old Photo Lens. Royalty Free Use.

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