When the Harris family lost their baby, a photographer stepped in to honor his memory.

Solace can be hard to find in times of grief.

Which is why Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is so incredible. The organization is made up of photographers who capture perhaps the most painful moments of parents' lives in a beautiful way that honors those families and the babies they've lost.

When new parents aren't able to bring their babies home from the hospital because they're stillborn or pass away shortly after birth, these professional photographers step in, volunteering their time and talent. At the families' request, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep provides free images that, as the organization explains, "serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring the child's legacy."


A touching video tells the story of the Harris family, who experienced the loss of their son, Brendan Noah. It's worth your time to scroll down and watch because it's difficult to put into words the emotion it conveys. But if you're unable to, here is their story.

On Christmas morning, Lauren and Jason Harris learned they were expecting a baby.

Image by Upworthy.

They were thrilled, and soon-to-be big sister Delaney was excited, too. "She would call the baby Twinkle," Lauren said. "[She] said he was a star in the sky." As precious as that name is, the family decided their new baby, who they later learned would be a boy, would be named Brendan.

Fast forward almost seven months. Lauren woke up one morning in July and felt like something was wrong. They went to the hospital, where they suffered a terrible loss: Brendan was stillborn.

The hospital contacted a photographer from Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep at the Harrises' request. It's impossible to capture the pain of a loss that big. But because of the organization, the family has photos to remember their baby.

Photography by Susan Cook, owned by the Harris family. Used with permission in the video.

"When I look at the photos, I'm brought back to that day," Lauren said. "And it was a horrible, horrible day. But at the same time, it was the day that I met my son."

As Jason put it, "Even though it was a difficult time, we're able to see the beauty in the photos ... and remember that ... was the one time my family was complete — that we were together as a family of four."


Susan Cook, a volunteer with Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, received a call from a labor and delivery nurse who was with the Harris family.

"When you see that number, you do sort of ... take a big sigh because you know what that means. It doesn't mean something good," Susan said.

Susan Cook takes on the difficult task of helping families capture a painful but important moment so that they have photographs of their children.

"I've thought about why would I do this," she continued, "and the only thing I can say is that I always feel like it's an honor to be there. This is a situation where I can do something. How amazing is that? We don't get that opportunity often. So I think if you can do something and you have that skill set — that I happen to be a photographer that's amazing for me."

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep has over 1,700 professional photographers who volunteer their time and expertise to preserving precious memories for families who have lost their babies.

For heartbroken parents, they truly offer a priceless gift — capturing a moment of togetherness, of remembrance, of family.

You can learn more about the valuable services they provide by visiting their website, and you can watch the Harris family's story.

More
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

It seems like a simple system to teach kids what's good for them and what's not, but it regulates kids' diets in an unhealthy way. Gaining weight is a normal, healthy part of child development. Putting on a few pounds means your body is doing what it's supposed to do. While the app classifies foods with too much fat or calories as "red," children need to consume some of these foods to develop their brain.

WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

Keep Reading Show less
Well Being
via Ostdrossel / Instagram

Lisa is a lifelong bird enthusiast who goes by the name Ostdrossel on social media. A few years ago, the Germany native moved to Michigan and was fascinated by the new birds she encountered.

Upon arriving in the winter, she fell in love with the goldfinches, cardinals, and Blue Jays. Then in the spring, she was taken by the hummingbirds.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

RELATED: This service dog and veteran are raising awareness for PTSD in inspiring ways

"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

RELATED: This sneaky guide dog is too pure for this world. A hilarious video proves it.

The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity