Heartbreaking Photographs of Their Late Infants Help Parents Cope With Loss
When Helen and Kenny Sawyer lost their daughter Mia just two days after she was born in September 2014, the last thing they wanted was to take pictures of their baby girl. But after being put in touch with a volunteer photographer from the U.K. charity Remember My Baby, the grieving parents changed their minds — and the images of little Mia are now something they’ll cherish forever.
“Initially I was horrified at the thought,” Helen Sawyer told The Mighty in an email. “However, these images of our beautiful little girl are invaluable. The wonderful photographer gave up her personal time to capture these for us and without this charity we would not have these wonderful images to treasure.”
“[Mia] was covered in tubes and plasters for the two days she was alive – these photos show us what she would have been like as a healthy baby,” Sawyer added in a press release. “She lives through these photos – she was here and she was alive. It was a short period of time, and we’ll never see her speak or laugh or even open her eyes. But we have these beautiful images and we’re so proud of them.”
Remember My Baby is a U.K.-registered charity that helps bring comfort to bereaved parents experiencing the loss of their baby before, during or shortly after birth, according to a press release. “Our goal is to offer this volunteer service to all parents suffering the loss of their baby in every hospital and birth center across the UK,” co-founder Anna-Marina Dearsley said in the release.
Paige Warren and partner Luke Farnham explained why they wanted the charity to capture images of their son Zachary (pictured above), who was stillborn in February 2015.
“They edited the images taken of Zachary and converted those to black and white which made him look healthier, [so] I can now show those pictures to my daughters to help them remember their brother,” Warren said in the press release. “In the images we took ourselves his lips were dark and he had started going purple and it would have scared my kids, it’s not something they recognized as a baby. I’m so happy I have these to share with them.”
Several other parents have shared their stories and images as well, including Danielle and Craig Melville, whose baby girl, Harper-Shae, was stillborn in October of 2014. The couple’s son Fletcher died shortly after birth in 2009, so having photos to remember little Harper-Shae was especially important to them.
“It’s horrible to be in this situation twice, but having these pictures really helped me – it made it a lot easier for me,” Melville said in the press release.