Grieving through photographs

As some of you know, we recently lost our second little boy this year. Andrew was born on December 12th, 12 days after he died at 13 weeks. As we did with our son Innocent, we took photographs of him. I tried to capture his tiny fingers, his ears, his elbows. I treasure the photographs we have of Innocent and only wish we had taken more. Sadly, my skill at photographing tiny babies had improved by the time I was photographing Andrew so the pictures of him are clearer than of his brother.

When this site first started, one of my goals was to have a photographs page so that people could see God’s creation in all its beauty. I wanted women who were facing the loss of their tiny baby to be able to see what that baby would look like, to remove some of the fear and anxiety. Each baby on that page has a loving family and a story. I have not yet added Andrew’s photos but I will soon.

The page is not finished as I would like to be able to add photographs for every week gestation. When choosing photographs my preference was to select “real babies”, not illustrations. I wanted to show babies in their parents’ hands, if possible, both for scale and to honor the baby. Obviously I haven’t been able to do that for every week, but it is an ongoing project. [If you are willing to share or know someone who would be willing to share photographs for this purpose, please contact me. I would be honored to talk with you.]

Recently Michelle Duggar suffered the loss of her unborn daughter in the second trimester. They took beautiful photographs of the baby’s hands and feet and some were distributed as memorial cards to the mourners. There was an outrage over this which was unfathomable to me as I can’t imagine anything more beautiful than a baby’s hands and feet. I tried not to keep up with the news because it was so upsetting, especially with the current tragedy in our own family. However, I was given a link to quite a different news article which I am happy to excerpt and post here.

“There are some people who will say, ‘Oh my gosh, why would she do that?'” grief counselor Allison Daily said of the Duggars’ approach. “I feel like no one should judge unless they have been in that situation. It’s one of the hardest, most awful things that can happen to a parent. They have to decide what is right for them.”

Daily is a grief counselor in the obstetrics department at Aspen Valley Hospital in Colorado, and author of a book about emerging from grief called “Out of the Canyon.”
She said she believes the Duggars are offering a powerful lesson for other parents struggling with their own pain.

“To me, she is a role model in how we should handle the loss,” Daily said. “In the past, too many people pushed [news of a miscarriage] down and decided to make it go away and it causes depression and you never really finish the process of grieving. But this child was part of her life. I think it’s a beautiful thing that she did.”

Judy Blore, director of the Basis bereavement program in Pennsylvania, called the Duggars courageous for their unconventional approach and said it will ultimately provide the family closure and peace. “By showing this picture they are showing that this child is real, and if you have a real child you have real grief,” Blore said.

I have encouraged women I have helped to look at, hold, name and photograph their babies. I told them that they would regret it for the rest of their lives if they didn’t. So many have told me that if they hadn’t been told that, they wouldn’t have had the courage to do so. Not one has regretted it.

Please help women around you by encouraging them to physically acknowledge their miscarried or stillborn children. These are real babies. Too often these children are called “babies” one minute while trying to find the heartbeat, then the next minute referred to as “tissue” when a D&C is being discussed. This is inconsistent and not right. People think they are showing a woman kindness by brushing a miscarriage under the rug but women hurt for decades after when this is done. And this isn’t merely theoretical knowledge but derived from communications with actual hurting women. Please acknowledge that these women lost a child. It doesn’t make the hurt any worse to do that and is a source of healing.

In closing, I will post photographs of my sweet babies’ perfect hands.

Innocent and Mommy

Andrew and Mommy

5 thoughts on “Grieving through photographs

  1. Amanda

    Oh, I am so sorry. I haven't been on here in a while, and I just saw your post. My sincere condolences. My heart is breaking with you. What sweet pictures I am sure you were able to obtain. Bless your heart.


  2. Anonymous

    Анна, мои глубокие соболезнования.Крепитесь. Пусть Господь даст Вам силы, если дал Вам такое испытание.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s