Today I not only received news about someone I briefly knew having a stillbirth a month before the due date but I also received the pictures my mother took pro Bono for an organization called Schmetterlings Kinder (butterfly children) in Germany. They are an organization who comes together every 6 months to bury children who died shortly after birth, still born babies and miscarried babies. The organization started out in 2005 when there was no option in Germany to bury babies under 500 gr or about a pound of birth weight. They started offering *community ceremonies* in remembrance of the lost children. In 2009 the law changed and now every born baby has to be buried or cremated. Now they offer the burial to parents every 6 mos if they do not want or can’t carry the cost of an individual burial.
The parents meet the week prior and decorate and color the casket together. The day of the burial and ceremony, the cemetery and chapel are beautifully decorated by flowers and candles, mothers and fathers can talk about their loss, fathers carry the casket to the burial site, the babies are remembered, pastors that attend speak in remembrance and pray, a choir sings and then the babies are buried. After that the parents get to release balloons in remembrance of their lost child.
This organization helps these families to take an important step in moving forward. They offer community support as well as individual support. The loss of a child is one of the if not the worst experience a parent can ever have. Never hearing your baby cry, never seeing it alive, never really being able to meet them, rips a part of your heart out you will never get back. I speak from experience. I had a miscarriage when I was 19 and I never had such a beautiful option. The pain never goes away it only becomes manageable. Having a place to go to visit and other people who have been through the same is a tremendous gift. Which is why I am grateful my mother volunteered to take these pictures for free and give them to the organization.
Please check out the slideshow. I will post the link to their website unfortunately it is in German. If you are a photographer, consider offering a free service like this to your local charities. Thank you.