The purpose of Love for Leah bags is to give local Cheyenne, WY families something to take home with them that can help in any way after the loss of a baby. There are no words to describe the pain and grief felt, but small acts of kindness go a long way! This is Carolyn’s writing about Love for Leah bags and a little backstory..
I’m a photographer for NILMDTS which offers free photography for families experiencing infant loss. To me, NILMDTS feels like a calling. I am meant to offer this to families.
I know that the photographs I take through NILMDTS are very important in healing, even if at the time families don’t think they want them. But every session I have done I have thought in my head, ‘There has to be more I can give! What photographs and what items would I want if it were me?’. Before I met Jenny I wanted to offer more to families than just photographs. I wanted to purchase tiny outfits that would be easy to put on, thin blankets that don’t swallow tiny babies making it hard to see their beautiful face, and create a nicely designed card for footprints instead of a sheet of paper. I had plans to bring these items with me to sessions.. until I became friends with Jenny and knew we could do more. I didn’t know it at the time, but we were meant to find each other.
Jenny and Marc contacted me after finding out their daughter Leah wouldn’t survive after birth. I instantly knew I had offer them everything I would have wanted if it were me. I did a few maternity sessions and also offered to photograph Leah’s birth. Leah passed away December 29th, 2011 and was born sleeping December 30th, 2011. I was there from the time they checked into the hospital until they said goodbye to Leah. I’ve learned so much through Leah, she has made me want to reach out to babyloss families in a bigger way.
I honestly can’t pinpoint when Jenny and I started talking more about creating Love for Leah bags. It was as if the idea just all fell into place. With Jenny and Marc’s own personal experience and my experience offering babyloss photography to families, we brainstormed and came up with an idea to offer gift bags to other families. The point of our bags is to offer items that aren’t already offered by the hospital. To give things that many parents wouldn’t even think are important until *after* they are home and their hearts and arms are empty. Most families are blindsided with the news that their baby has passed. Many don’t know *what* they want or need; all they want is their baby.
The items on our list are so very important because these are things they cannot go back in time and do. Once they leave the hospital they won’t be able to go back and get a hand casting made. They won’t be able to dress their baby and take home those clothes. They won’t be able to get footprints on more than a white sheet of fax paper. All these things are things that they don’t think of in that moment.. but Jenny and I did! Love for Leah bags are made with items that have been incredibly important to Jenny and Marc, and we feel that every family should have all of these items too.
We’ve been researching vendors for our items, places to print our canvas totes, and I’ve been working hard designing a logo and branding. The logo you see is baby Leah’s footprints and the colors were picked out by Jenny. We’ve also had lots of help with editing Leah’s story (coming soon!). I’m so excited to finally launch the idea! We’re currently gathering 1 of each item to create a sample bag which we will put together for display at Cheyenne’s Superday. Look for a blog post when we receive all of our sample products!