Remembrance Photography for miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn loss - Trigger warning.
Updated: Nov 7
© Remember My Baby
With nearly twenty years of being a specialist maternity photographer and newborn photographer under my belt, I wear two hats; teaching new parents how to photograph their pregnancy and new baby, and the other hat I wear is an award winning maternity and newborn photographer.
I am locally known to capturing moments of pure joy for new parents in my homely photography studio in Porthcawl, near Bridgend and Port Talbot. Most of my parents travel in from Swansea and Cardiff, and some as far afield as West Wales, and Bristol and Gloucester in the West of England. Each family come with their unique requirement, which I spend time tailoring their session to create work they will fall in love with and treasure forever.
Only a handful of my clients will know I have joined a charity Remember My Baby a year ago, to capture final moments of babies for bereaved parents.
When I joined the charity, I didn’t expect that exactly fifteen years to the day, I would be stepping back into the same hospital I lost my first born to start my journey to help bring comfort to bereaved parents as a remembrance photographer for Remember My Baby.
Why remember my baby
© Remember My Baby
Six years ago I became a mum to my very own rainbow baby, the immense joy was indescribable. What most won’t talk about after the birth of a rainbow baby, is grief, and how the birth of the new baby can also cause reflection and anxiety. Knowing I wasn’t holding my first born, and now experiencing the firsts I missed out on, hit me hard and I wasn’t prepared for it.
We hear Rainbow babies being described as ‘miracle’ babies, and the powerful impact they can have on helping parents heal after a loss of a baby. I can’t argue this, but they are certainly not a replacement, nor the off switch to the grief of the biggest loss imaginable, that stays with you and becomes a part of you.
In short, I was searching to replace the grief with remembrance, to honour the baby I had lost. And that was finding that positive of using my passion for creating memories, when memories become priceless photographs for grieving parents. Not having photographs myself from my own baby loss, I can appreciate how much these photographs will be cherished by others who are grieving.
Many have asked why now? Why wait over 15 years? Keeping such a sensitive subject private can have many reasons, for me I had been carrying the weight around from a time many denied the event ever happened, it didn’t help that up until not so long ago it was common practice to brush infant and pregnancy loss under the carpet and bereaved parents should just get back to normality the day after, like nothing has happened! It really isn’t that simple, walking away from a situation doesn’t erase it.
Being pregnant with my daughter was when I started to feel ready to share the experience, the hope is it will help other families going through baby loss, that your not alone and times have changed; the support is out there now.
Finding out you are pregnant after baby loss.
© Remember My Baby
Rainbow pregnancies can bring strong feelings of anxiety, guilt, and even fear. And it’s completely normal to keep a rainbow pregnancy private until the parents feel ready to share they are expecting. There are so many reasons to why parents who are carrying a rainbow baby keep the pregnancy to themselves. I did this with all three of my children, many couldn’t understand why, in their minds I “kept it a secret”, but the reality is for the 9 months of pregnancy you are dealing with a rollercoaster of emotions. Juggling the Conflicting emotions of honoring a baby who has died while celebrating a healthy baby — and grieving a loss while celebrating new life — often accompany a rainbow birth.
Turning photography into a priceless gift
Whilst feeding my daughters one night, I stumbled across the charity Remember My Baby, who provides remembrance photography to parents who have lost their babies before, during or shortly after birth at no cost to the family or the hospital across the UK. I started to research into the Charity, to find out what they do, speaking to many volunteers at photography shows and online live chats during the pandemic, and hospital staff who have used them, such as midwives from the local bridgend hospital.
Having lost three babies during pregnancy, I decided to use my specialist photography skills to become a volunteer photographer for Remember my baby, I knew straight away this was my calling and I needed to reach out to them to apply.
There are just no words to explain the depth of despair that a parent goes through when they have lost a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn loss. It is without a doubt, one of the most difficult experiences that a parent will ever endure, and fifteen years ago I found myself encountering first-hand the loss of my first son. Looking back, I vividly remember how incapable I felt to share the grief, knowing there were no words that could make the situation better.
Knowing how important the remembrance photography role is, I was overjoyed when I successfully passed the verification process to offer my services within a very small group of South Wales photography volunteers for RMB.
Remembrance baby loss photography was my calling.
© Remember My Baby
As a Remember my Baby volunteer, I found myself starting the photography role spending time with a family, photographing their beautiful baby to keep his memory alive, in the exact same room, in the Swansea hospital where I last said goodbye to my son who I lost during pregnancy. After delivering the photos, I found out the birth dates also matched, as unbelievable to learn the dates matched up, I take great comfort in this, it was an honour to provide the family something very special on my 15th anniversary of being a bereaved parent.
Supporting families through baby loss takes compassion and strength, I recall the support not being there 15 years ago and I relied on family and friends to get me through the initial shock of the grief. When in the throes of the shock It brought back memories of supporting students I taught in 2004 in a school for young mums experienced similar, and relied on the goodwill of the circles of family, friends and if lucky, professionals they happened to mix with for support. I will never forget supporting one particular student who took great comfort in sharing the last photos she had of her precious stillborn with me, knowing they are her only memories. You don’t just get over losing a baby, parents need support, and I am grateful that Remember my Baby was set up in 2014 to allow families to gain some support during the darkest moments of their grieving process.
Working from home as a remembrance baby loss photographer
Taking on the volunteering role with RMB doesn’t just involve visiting hospitals, the charity is in a great need for photo editors and since the start of the year I now only focus on the editing side which I do from home. Giving back to families a priceless gift of memories is very rewarding, and I would encourage all South Wales photographers to get in touch with the charity to find out how they can help them.
What is a rainbow baby? Some of you might not know, and I feel it’s important to understand the meaning behind the term and the various questions around rainbow baby.
A rainbow baby, in fertility terms, refers to a baby born after miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss, birth after fertility or parenting-related heartbreak or trauma, such as the loss of a living child, infertility, or failed adoption.
Many parents who have endured traumatic events (infertility, failed adoption, miscarriage, stillbirth, infant loss) consider a living child to be rainbow after a difficult storm. In this way, many people celebrate rainbow babies because of the hope and love they symbolise.
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