What I love most about birth photography, is the emotion. The raw, REAL emotion. The best times are when the room is full of laughter and tears of happiness. But then there is the other side. The side that no one talks about. The side filled with silence, tears and heartbreak.
I recently had the opportunity to meet a wonderful woman by the name of Gaby. Gaby and her husband Jerome are the founders of Jalen’s Gift Foundation, an organization dedicated to assisting families who experience pregnancy and infant loss. Jalen’s Gift handles everything from financial assistance for memorial services to grief support. I have witnessed Gaby swoop in and take care of much of the behind the scenes, offer support, and get to know each family. Things that you don’t think of until you are in the situation. They provide families with a care package containing keepsakes for them to remember their angel baby, and a teddy bear- so they don’t leave the hospital empty handed. I was blown away to see everything that Gaby does for these families. She talks to them, explains who she is and what she does, and then she cries with them- because she knows too well the feelings they are experiencing.
I contacted Gaby after hearing that their organization was looking for volunteer photographers to provide families with lasting memories of their angel baby. When Gaby told me that Jalen’s Gift handles an average of 30 births a month, I knew I had to help. I also knew more help was needed and I called my fellow photographer friend, Heather (of Heather Kimmel Photography) to enlist her as well. She agreed and together we joined the small group of amazing local photographer volunteers making a difference through Jalen’s Gift.
It is a topic we don’t discuss for many reasons. It’s uncomfortable, scary, and painful. I debated whether or not to address it. I don’t want to worry women. There is already enough stress in the world. But this happens. It happens more often than we want to realize and the families that do experience a tragedy should be acknowledged. Their babies deserve to be remembered.
There are a lot of ways that YOU can help Jalen’s Gift as they continue to provide these services to families experiencing tragedy. Can you knit? Are you crafty? Take the kids to children’s events? Whether you can volunteer, donate, or spread the word- Jalen’s Gift needs your help! Below is a sample of upcoming events. Head on over to their website for more info on each event and how you might be able to help. There is also a Facebook group set up just for volunteer opportunities for upcoming events! Join us here. For many of the events, you don’t need to be a volunteer to join us! A lot of activities are geared for kids and families, such as the Easter events. So come get photos with the Easter bunny while supporting a great cause!
• Easter event March 28th
• April 4th, pending location for Easter Pics
• Healing thru Creativity (the kids will be doing a performance to express their grief) May 30
• October 15th- Gone But Not Forgotten Vigil
• October- Every Heartbeat Counts Walks
• Every other month we get together to assemble care packages to provide to each family
• Family get together fundraisers
<span “font-size:11.0pt;line-height:107%;font-family:”calibri”,sans-serif;=”” mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-fareast-font-family:calibri;mso-fareast-theme-font:=”” minor-latin;mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;mso-bidi-font-family:”times=”” roman”;=”” mso-bidi-theme-font:minor-bidi;mso-ansi-language:en-us;mso-fareast-language:=”” en-us;mso-bidi-language:ar-sa”=””>• Donate by visiting www.jalensgift.org