Cheryl Johnson, Co-Founder and Chair of Remember My Baby, talks to us about how the charity came about and the responses it’s received over the last twenty four months.
Remember My Baby is a remembrance photography service for parents who have endured the heartbreak of stillbirth. The charity’s group of volunteer photographers provide bereaved parents with photographs of their stillborn babies. These photographs can be a great comfort to grieving parents and can help them to honour and remember their lost babies.
“We are trying to create a lifetime of memories in a few minutes”
The charity was started by a group of photographers who were working as individuals in local hospitals to photograph for bereaved parents. Two years since becoming a registered charity, Remember My Baby has taken photos for over 600 families and is working with 60 hospital and hospices.
“Initially some hospitals and trusts were a little sceptical. They were obviously conscious of the fact that they’re dealing with very vulnerable people and needed to reassure themselves that what we’re offering is a free gift, no strings attached and no follow up.”
Sometimes women who know they are going to lose their baby approach the charity to organise someone to come and take the photographs. Other times parents have made the heart-wrenching decision to take away life support and want to capture their babies last moments.
“Each shoot is extremely powerful and special for its own reason. The photographers are capturing the last moments parents have with their babies which is incredibly personal and intimate.”
The photographers are all volunteers. They are not all professional photographers but there is a very selective process they go through before being allowed to photograph for the charity.
“For new volunteer photographers it is a scary experience the first time. Not because of the baby, but because they worry about how to navigate the emotional side. There is just no right thing to say to parents who are going through something this awful.”
Cheryl told us that a lot of the parents who approach them have had the charity recommended by friends or family. Some see the “Parent Book” that the hospitals and hospices Remember My Baby work with often have in their waiting rooms of images taken for other families.
“Families and parents we photograph for are often shocked and numbed. Many people get in touch retrospectively to say how much the photographs meant to them – some have even gone on to fundraise for us.”
Commemorating your baby is important and photographs like these can really help parents in the grieving process.
“One woman got in touch with me to tell me that she hadn’t looked at the photos until the 1st anniversary of her baby’s death. She said it was a joyful moment, as well as sad, to see her babies pictures for the first time.”
In the two years since becoming an official charity, Remember My Baby has helped and supported hundreds of parents experiencing the hardest of times.
“We’re really proud of how far we’ve come.”
See Remember My Baby's video here
Read more about commemorating your baby
Read more about grieving after stillbirth
Read more about the support that’s available for you
Images taken by Remember My Baby
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