Thursday, December 22, 2011

Photographs of one's brief moment here... is it really that controversial?

Sorry friends, won't be posting a super, upbeat post today. I have something on my mind that has been bothering me and I feel like I need to share it.

We've all heard of the Duggar family. (If you haven't, you have quite successfully dodged the ever reaching grasp of TLC and its shocker, reality shows.)

With 19 kids... and some of those kids having kids... they make for a big family with a lot of judgement from the public. What can you expect when you put your family in the eye of the world? Very different from the octomom... at least this family has values, morals, and many means of income.

Most recently, Michelle had a miscarriage - a still born at 19wks. (Full term is 40 weeks, viability is roughly 24 weeks.) Media reported that they went in to determine gender and discovered that the baby did not have a heart beat. No matter what situation you are in, it is heart breaking to know that your little one you who you had begun to develop hopes and dreams for was taken from you.

Do I agree that Michelle should leave it up to God (or her uterus ruptering) to determine how many kids she should have? No.... frankly it is unsafe. We weren't mean to have litters or we would have had more nipples. (Sorry, it is the honest truth.)

But - as a NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) nurse, I will defend their decision to take pictures of their baby.

It is disappointing to hear the "outrage" from the public that the Duggars made this decision. Some have called it disturbing, others have called it sick and inappropriate. Having been privy to the quite secret world of fetal and infant death, pictures are actually one of the more common actions taken when a new little one has passed away.

People often forget that when a loved one passes away, pictures are plentiful, memories are shared by families, and there are often physical reminders that that person lived. With fetal and infant death, many times the first meeting is the last... forever. In a time when grieving and emotion is at its highest, memories become flighty, inconsistent and pictures, foot prints, and pieces of hair are the only things left to remind the world that the baby was here

Yes, these pictures can seem quite macabre. But to the family, it means the world. This is their baby, whether 19 weeks or 40 weeks, and they all deserve a time to be loved... and grieved.

So who takes these pictures? There is a wonderful group of volunteer photographers on call at all times to participate in these very delicate moments. Called  Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep , these special people are truly God sent and know how to capture the pictures that the family can cherish forever.

If you have never experienced fetal or infant loss, consider yourself blessed. Thank you for taking the time to let me say my "peace" and hopefully have come away with information that you may not have known. Mementos of those previous little ones are not disturbing, sick, or inappropriate... but rather an imprint on our world letting us know that they did exist - even for a little time.


Brahmin in Boston said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, Jenny. I never thought of it this way. You have made a very good point.

But still rankles me that the pictures are meant to be private and not public. There is a thin line between sharing and making things public

I might change my mind but as of now that is what I think.

meghan said...

Great insight! I think the biggest concern people have with the Duggars is that they decided to release them to the press. I really believe that they initially decided to do the show to showcase their family, and now I feel like they continue to have babies, and continue to film their show for entertainment gain. I don't personally know the family, so I can't make that judgment, but I believe that where's [most] people are coming from.

megs [at] Shine On

Jenny said...

Brahmin and Megs - I agree. It is hard to say what their true intentions were by making these items public - I can only hope it was to help others in similar situations and not because they wanted more publicity...

S.B. said...

I completely agree with you. And you make this point in a wonderful way. So many people have never been through an experience like this, and will never understand the choices and decisions that have to be made. Also, considering the amount of stress and emotion that the family must be experiencing, it is quite possible that they may not make the best decisions.

Regardless of one's personal feelings regarding the Duggar's and their decisions, this is a time of loss for their family. It seems that this fact gets lost in a lot of the media attention.

Sar said...

I don't see anything wrong with the photographs, and in fact find them touching.

However can we just point out that they named her Jubilee? Can you imagine being in junior high with a name like Jubilee? I bet everybody would call you Ju-Ju Bee.