Don’t look away.
The parents of baby Monroe, a little girl who was stillborn years ago want us all to see their beautiful daughter. They are proud of her; of having made her. And despite their utter devastation that she did not survive and they could not take her home, they want us all to know how much she was loved. Is loved.
Monroe Faith Staley was born weighing 6 pounds 2.5 ounces, 19 inches long in August 2014 in California.
Her parents, Emily, 26 and Richard, 29 approached photographer, Lindsey Villatoro from Love Song Photobook to capture the birth of their daughter once they’d been told Monroe had no heartbeat during the final weeks of Emily’s pregnancy.
The result are these incredibly moving photos of a family sharing their first and – heartbreakingly – final moments with their precious daughter.
Present at her birth, Villatoro said when she saw Monroe she looked at the baby's parents and told them, "she is perfect" and they all began to cry.
Villatoro has posted about her experience (with Emily and Richard's permission) on her Facebook page:
"It was a dream, this family was living a total nightmare. I can’t even begin to describe the pain I knew Mom and Dad were feeling at that moment. As mom pleaded for her baby to wake up, her sweet husband brushed her hair with his hands crying with her. Cheek to cheek, clinging to their baby girl in disbelief; the two of them were pillars for each other."
Monroe's 5-year-old brother was said to be counting down the days before his sister's birth. Villatoro said the death was unexpected but extended family wanted to meet Monroe and she spent the day taking photos of their memories, too.
The family wanted their photos to be shared as much as possible to help other families who might need their support. Villatoro posted:
The Staley's rest assured knowing they will be reunited with their sweet baby girl one day soon, but until that day comes they struggle thinking life will ever have some normalcy. They would like their story to be shared; they hope to bring comfort to other families out there that have also experienced such tragedy. They want their daughter’s life to be remembered.
Lindsey Natzic-Villatoro of Love Song Events and Photography is a friend, a sister, a daughter, a wife, a mother of three and a photographer of life. She enjoys chocolate, yoga pants and a good pair of heels! Learn more about her work and get in touch with her here.
A similar service is available from Heartfelt in Australian and New Zealand. Heartfelt give the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature and ill infants and children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Units of their local hospitals, as well as children with serious and terminal illnesses. The service is completely free. You can click here to see their incredible work.
Mia Freedman shares her sense of loss after losing a baby.
If this has raised any issues for you or if you would like to speak with someone, please contact the Sands Australia 24 hour support line on 1300 072 637.