MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The death of a child is the most difficult thing a parent can go through. But some are choosing to document their tragedy through pictures.

One organization is helping parents of stillborn babies remember their child.

Often times we rely on pictures to capture our happiest moments.

“They’re so valuable. They’re priceless,” Dan Lenmark said. “It’s nice to flip through the book and remember that time.”

The Lenmark’s also have photos to show their most difficult moment.

“You look at it as the most tragic moment of your life, we knew Sophia was sick but her passing was such a hard, hard day,” Dan Lenmark said.

Little Sophia died just days after Alli gave birth to her. She and Dan were told by other parents who’ve lost a newborn to take pictures.

“I just thought we’re going to have a bunch of pics of us sobbing holding a baby and I wouldn’t want that,” Alli Lenmark said.

But that is not what photographer Emily Griffith captured.

“I really love the family photo with all four of them,” Griffith said.

The Lenmark’s believe Griffith’s photos represent the love that any parent feels for their newborn.

“It wasn’t intrusive or awkward. She did such a good job and captured the moment so perfectly,” Dan Lenmark said.

The photo session came together through the organization “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.” The goal is to give parents who are suffering the loss of a baby a picture that they may not be strong enough to take themselves. Professional photographers volunteer their time.

“To give photos of the babies and parents and the relationship with one another no matter how short that is, it’s important,” Griffith said.

Amy Hoffman has a living breathing reminder of what 3-year-old Adler would look like.

“The pictures do help,” Hoffman said.

But she relies on the pictures to help Evan understand he had a twin brother.

“It helps him know that he is real. We just can’t see him,” she said.

Hoffman’s photographer allowed her to see little Adler in a way she never thought she would.

“I didn’t know she had taken pictures of him laying down on the scale, those normal baby pictures everyone gets,” Hoffman said.

But more importantly, the photos help her and the Lenmark’s keep their child’s face fresh in their mind.

“Losing a child that quickly, like with Sophia, one of my biggest fears is that my memories will grow fainter,” Dan Lenmark said.

It’s a moment in time that’s now documented forever.

“I had a hard time remembering, what did his hand look like, cause I only got to see him for a brief moment,” Hoffman said.

Nothing can fill the void of losing a newborn, but for these families a simple picture is also a loving reminder.

“That’s the thing just cause he was stillborn, he was still born. He was still a person,” Hoffman said.

You can learn more about “Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep” on its website.

Comments (7)
  1. R. Olson says:

    My daughter & son-in-law went through the this tragedy on 12/21/10, it was the worst day of our lives. The sadness, grief and thoughts of what could of been were too much to bear. A volunteer photographer came at the request of the hospital w/ permission from the parents. So now they have photos of little Myah, who was with us in body for a few hours but her memory will last our lifetime. Thank you for this article and for the wonderful photographers.

  2. Carla Olson Draack says:

    It was 30 years ago for us. I’d give anything to have seen him or to at least have a photograph.

  3. bluefaery says:

    I lost my sweet Dylan 1-9-99 … we have pictures thanks to family members … I have since heard that the hospital has started to do plaster casting of hand and foot prints I think that would be a wonderful thing to have as well

  4. tandia lyles says:

    We lost our son Ja’Vaughn 5-31-06, its ironic that I am reading this story today. We had pic taken in the hospital and I am very gratefull that we did, we can always look back on our angel in heaven. RIP:Ja.’Vaughn Ira Lyles 5-31-06.

  5. DH says:

    Anyone who has lost a child, please contact Faiths Lodge in Webster/Danbury Wi. It is 2 hrs. from the cities and is a healing place for families who have lost children. I have never been there and pray that I never do. It is about 5 years old and set back in the woods. I know a family that stayed there and it is beautiful. God Bless

  6. Tina Bartone says:

    This is a wonderful thing for families, pictures last forever. Our sweet 1st born son Nicholas was stillborn 5-24-2004. We have pictures that family took but with professional ones you can do so much more. We also were lucky to get door castings. We will also miss & remember our perfect angel…

  7. Stephanie Burns says:

    What a beautiful story…thanks for sharing and getting the word out about this amazing organization. As a mother of an angel, I know firsthand how wonderful it is to have these pictures. NILMDTS volunteer photographer, Michelle Tanner, took pictures of our son Liam on the day he died (August 17th, 2010). I will be forever grateful for the images and love that she captured. These photos give me comfort and help me share my son with the world.

    What a wonderful group of people these volunteer photographers are…thank you for everything you do!

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