Helping those who have experienced infant loss heal through remembrance Photography

Interview with Cass Martinez Atlanta Area Coordinator for Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep (NILMDTS) is a nonprofit organization that provides a special service to grieving and bereaved families. An organization built by volunteer photographers who provide photographs of the family during and after an infant pass away. They have volunteers all over the world that work together to give families the amazing gift of Remembrance Photography.

This organization was founded in 2005 after a mother gave birth to a child who had a life-threatening condition. Cheryl Haggard wanted special memories of her family with their son before they took him off life support. It took a while to find a photographer that would come take the images, but they were able to find a photographer willing to take the pictures.

According to the History page on the NILMDTS website, “Those tender photographs documenting Maddox’s eternal connection with his parents inspired Cheryl Haggard (mom) and Sandy Puc (Photographer) to create Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep in 2005 as a nonprofit organization. NILMDTS to give bereaved families the gift of professional heirloom portraits to bring healing and comfort.”

To find a photographer for a session simply go to the website and go under find a photographer and type in the zip code of the area that is needed. A list of available photographers and a dispatch number will be listed. The dispatch number goes to the local coordinator who can then assign a photographer to the family in need. Social workers and nurses at the hospitals usually know how to do this and may even offer to help set it up.

Since Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a nonprofit organization, they hold a yearly fundraiser in the form of a remembrance walk. This walk usually takes place in October around Pregnancy/infant loss awareness day. For the last few years, they have been doing virtual walks due to covid and have a small presentation where they list off the names of the babies lost in remembrance of them. There is a fee to sign up for the walk and that fee is what goes towards supporting the organization. You will also get a t-shirt for participating.

Having this gift of remembrance photography not only helps the family heal and keep their child close to their hearts but also helps keep them more alive and real for those around them. Pregnancy loss and infant loss are such a taboo subjects that even mentioning the infant that was lost can make others uncomfortable, but this organization provides the memories to help break that cycle. It is no different from an end-of-life session for a pet or grandparent.

According to the article, Grieving Parents find Solace in remembrance photography in the UW News, “remembrance photography provides grieving parents with lasting memories of their children who lived so briefly that little else exists to remember them by.”

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is always looking for volunteers to help provide this service and gift to grieving parents. Please reach out on their website to sign up to volunteer. Training is provided and it’s a wonderful gift and service to give to others.

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