Stillborn Memorial Portraits

Dealing with the death of your baby may be one of the most painful experiences in your life. Intense emotions are real and a normal part of the grieving process. Grieving is necessary and is not easy. Until recent years, stillbirth was commonly kept quiet and parents were expected to “move on”. Now we know that making light of the loss can prolong sadness and delay the healing process. An important part of the healing process is finding a way to remember your baby.

There are now many ways to remember your baby. One of the newest options is stillborn memorial portraits. Stillborn memorial portraits are hand-drawn portraits taken from actual photographs of your stillborn baby. There is a good chance either you, your family or the hospital took pictures of your baby. These pictures can be used to create a beautiful portrait to display in your home.

Photographs of stillborn babies are not the images we have in mind for our child’s first and only pictures. Many times, when a stillborn is delivered, the baby will have red spots on the face, particularly on the eyes and nose. Often their lips are bright red and their mouth is relaxed open. Any number of these things can make it very difficult to look at these pictures. It can make parents very self-conscious and reluctant to share pictures of their baby. Parents can struggle with the desire to share pictures of their stillborn baby with their other living children for fear of scaring the children. Stillborn memorial portraits are made to give you that one chance of owning a pleasant portrait of your baby. These portraits enhance the beauty of your child while gently touching up flaws. A misshapen head can be reshaped or covered with a hat or bonnet. Swaddling blankets can cover bare skin. A teddy bear can be added to show comfort. For some parents, just simply having a pleasing portrait of their baby to go to is a giant step in the course to peace and healing.

Many artists will not accept portrait assignments if the baby was stillborn earlier than 20 weeks. Debbie accepts stillborn photographs of any age. It is extremely helpful to have newborn photos of other children or of the parents. This helps to distinguish facial features and family characteristics. It is very helpful in the healing process to name your baby. This name makes a beautiful addition to the portrait, along with any other personal information such as birthdate and weight.

A stillborn memorial portrait is a very tender and personal choice. It is a good option when trying to decide where you are in the grieving process and how to help yourself. When the time is right, you will know.