If you've been hanging around this blog for a while, you'll know that in June last year my sister lost her beautiful, perfect baby at full-term. She had also lost another child through miscarriage prior to that. This was the first time I was really exposed to infant loss, but it opened up a whole new world to me - a world that is hardly ever talked about. A world where people often grieve silently, a world where everything doesn't happen as perfectly as expected. A world that turns hopes and dreams and anticipation upside down. A world that, sadly, many of you will know all too well.
I knew I couldn't change the circumstances for families in similar situations, but little old me did have something tangible to offer. Heartfelt was already up and running in Australia, and now it's growing in so many areas here in NZ, thanks to an awesome bunch of volunteer photographers throughout the country. There are also other amazing organisations working in similar areas, offering services to these families... every one of them is inspiring. Through Heartfelt, we offer photos free of charge to families who have experienced stillbirths, premature births, or have children with serious and terminal illnesses. It's heartbreaking that this organisation even has to exist, but so incredibly awesome that it does. Not only does it provide treasured memories for these families, it also helps them to know they are not alone in their grief. It gives people an opening to share their experiences, and talk about their beautiful babies. These photos are so important to families who find out that their little child they have been nurturing for weeks or months is no longer going to be going home in their arms.
It's so important to remember these precious wee babies and their families. Life doesn't necessarily just move on easily for them, despite the rest of the world doing so. If you know of someone who has lost a child to miscarriage, stillbirth, neonatal death, or beyond... let them know you are thinking about them now. I figure this week is also a good opportunity to raise the awareness of Heartfelt and other similar organisations, so that families in need will be offered these services when they need them. More photographers are also needed around the country, so let me know if you know of anyone who may be willing to be part of this incredibly supportive and awesome organisation. I truly consider it a real privilege to be part of Heartfelt.
But Heartfelt is just ONE organisation making a difference. There are SO many amazing people out there who are doing incredible things for people with all sorts of needs. We don't have to change the whole world, we can just make a difference in one person's world.
No matter what you do as a job, no matter how much money you have or don't have, no matter what your circumstances are... you have something to offer. It doesn't need to be as part of a wider organisation, it might just be your offer of time, practical help, a smile, or a listening ear. We all have different gifts, talents, and abilities. Whether you feel they are big or small... what you can offer may mean the world to someone else.