The photo session by Ottawa photographer Julie Hearty was provided through Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that operates in more than 40 countries. It was formed in 2005 by Cheryl Haggard, a Colorado mother whose son Maddux died six days after birth, and Sandy Puc´, a professional photographer contacted by Haggard’s husband to take photos of Maddux. It was Haggard’s belief that her family’s healing would come about by remembering Maddux, rather than by forgetting him.
Last year, 38 families in the Ottawa area used Now I Lay Me Down’s services at numerous hospitals, while others had similar packages provided by a handful of photographers who volunteer at Roger’s House.
These words by the manager of CHEO’s palliative care program demonstrate such a compassion for pre-born children and their parents:
“When babies die at birth or just before birth, these parent suffer what we call disenfranchised grief, because people don’t recognize how meaningful this child was to them. And even if that child lives two minutes, that’s a relationship, and they can talk about their child. Even if they’re stillborn, they can still talk about their child. They held them, they bathed them, they had their pictures taken, they were part of the family. They had handprints. They gave them names.
“The main message is that your child, no matter how old, is, was and still is important. They lived. They had a heart that beat, somewhere.”
The Ottawa Citizen article is well worth your time.
It’s certainly nice to read words of compassion about unborn babies. It’s refreshing when we consider what else is being said and done.