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Adding deceased relatives to photos

(49 Posts)
Katek Tue 03-Nov-15 23:22:11

I've just been reading a FB thread about adding deceased relatives....primarily children/ current family pictures. People have added fathers/mothers to wedding pics, children to pics of their living siblings, and tiny babies who died at days old into photos of their newborn siblings so they look like twins.

I find it very odd, not to say macabre. Reminds me of those dreadful Victorian photos where the deceased were propped up on frames and photographed in a last family pic. I would find a picture like that emphasised the fact that my relative was no longer alive - it wouldn't be real.

Katek Tue 03-Nov-15 23:24:03

To avoid confusion pics are of them when they're alive.

LullyDully Wed 04-Nov-15 03:13:40

On first thought I am not keen.

JamJar1 Wed 04-Nov-15 06:28:19

No, I would not add my long gone relatives to current pictures. I have a family group of pictures on a wall and by a picture of my GS and GD I just happened to put a picture of my grandfather and his sister, taken at the same age. The differences, grandfather and sister posed stiffly at the photographers in their Sunday best and the informal pic of my grandchildren about to burst into laughter are striking. All the years in between the two picture makes them extra special, to me, in some way.

Grannyknot Wed 04-Nov-15 07:44:22

There is a new trend now too for taking family photographs that include babies "born sleeping" (stillborn). Several have been posted on the mum's Facebook site that I'm on, and I struggle with that too. The photos are often professionally styled by photographers who specialise in photographing new born babies.

ninathenana Wed 04-Nov-15 09:11:58

I find all of the above creepy.
Someone I know sadly lost three individual premature babies at only days or weeks old due to her medical condition. Her lounge wall was adorned with pictures of each poor little mite all wired up in their incubators.
hmm hmm

Bellanonna Wed 04-Nov-15 09:23:59

If they do it (speaking of the babies) they must find it helps them. I am just fortunate that I've never been in that situation. I wouldn't want to add deceased relatives to current photos. That doesn't make sense to me.

Nelliemoser Wed 04-Nov-15 09:25:51

I don't really see it as macabre. I have heard that some midwives etc dealing with neonatal deaths take photos of the babies and keep them.

They have found that a number of parents years later, whatever they thought at the time, desperately wish they had one.

There was a time when still born babies were whipped away by staff so as not to upset the parents and parents never knew what their child looked like.
I know a gran who got one from the hospital. Adding photos to pictures is another matter.

Nelliemoser Wed 04-Nov-15 09:37:24

There is a charity who do this.

The charity, Remember My Baby (RMB).
An interesting article below.

Luckygirl Wed 04-Nov-15 09:39:35

I am sure that having photos of a stillborn child is healthy and helpful. Adding them to another photo seems weird though to me.

Anniebach Wed 04-Nov-15 09:41:07

How I would love to have photographs of my two babies who died at birth , I can understand why mothers of babies born sleeping want to share a photograph of their much loved child

Adding deceased to a photograph ? no way

JamJar1 Wed 04-Nov-15 09:41:20

I suppose the Mum with the baby pics wants to make sure they are not forgotten, their short lives are remembered, I would feel comfortable about seeing those pictures. My Mum's first baby was full term, still born at home, she never saw the baby but heard later it looked a perfect baby girl. It bothered her all her life and especially her last few weeks and being the next born she had huge problems accepting me, bonding, she never really did.

annsixty Wed 04-Nov-15 09:54:39

There was a time, not many years ago , when mothers were encouraged to bath and dress their stillborn babies and they were placed in Moses baskets in the Chapel. I have not heard of this recently so don't know if this still happens.

Katek Wed 04-Nov-15 09:55:59

I know of a professional photographer who works for a charity taking pictures of stillborn infants. She has suffered her own loss of a prem baby so understands how these parents are feeling. Very brave of her to do this I think. I can just about get my head round this although it's not something I would want. I can't get to grips with adding the deceased into current family pics though. This is the pic from FB that started the thread. Presume it's ok to post as its already on a public forum.

Katek Wed 04-Nov-15 09:56:42

You may have to click on pic to open it out

Anniebach Wed 04-Nov-15 10:01:40

Babies who die at birth have been loved for months , they lived , they were all little people ,many had names.

JamJar, perhaps your mother was too frightened to allow her emotions flow, the terror of the grief she had experienced was still with her , doubt there was any counselling for her and possibly she was not allowed to grieve openly.

There is an ache for the baby who died which never leaves one , it's a longing which is so difficult to explain , I still have that longing forty years on

Luckygirl Wed 04-Nov-15 10:03:33

Oh - that is a creepy photo, especially as they have made the missing boy semi-transparent, like a sort of ghost.

I think the idea of washing and dressing a stillborn child makes a lot of sense. You have something real and loved to say goodbye to rather than something that exists only in your imagination.

Grannyknot Wed 04-Nov-15 10:11:28

I think what makes it difficult for me, is that the photos I've seen are not of the stillborn baby, but that it is a posed (often very stylised) professional photograph taken of the family...

I do understand that it can be comforting to have an image of babies that were lost at birth.

JamJar1 Wed 04-Nov-15 10:26:36

Hi Anniebach yes no counselling at all and my father and her never spoke of the baby again. Mum was even sectioned for a short time after my brother was born. I'm sure a photo would have helped. I'm so sorry to hear you lost two babies. flowers

Anniebach Wed 04-Nov-15 10:43:36

JamJar, I ache for your mother, possibly it was a time when her son was whipped away from her , she never touched his little hands or cheek , he wasn't really dead because she didn't see him , wasn't allowed to grieve , perhaps even told - you will have more , her son was just a statistic , a still birth . But he was her son . I am sorry you were affected by the death of your brother,I think your mother was just so fearful the same would happen again and she even had to go into a mental hospital

I get so angry thinking how women who suffered the agony of giving birth to a child who had lost life were treated

Iam64 Thu 05-Nov-15 08:22:25

I find the idea of adding deceased relatives to current photographs slightly nauseating. I empathise with the woman who added her dead son to her wedding photograph but I genuinely hope it stops there as part of her grieving process, rather than the lad being added to future family photographs.

The photographs of babies 'born sleeping' is totally different I feel. Almost 40 years ago my midwife friends told me she helped parents bath and dress their babies and took photographs of them. She was a lovely woman and dedicated midwife, who understood the need to somehow keep those babies with you. Let's hope that as our understanding of grief and loss continues to develop, mothers and father's will continue to have better care than that given to JamJar's mother.

Nelliemoser Thu 05-Nov-15 08:37:14

I have looked at that picture and as long as it is not on every family portrait I don't find it particularly morbid.

The child in that photo looks at least eight so he was very much part of that family for along time. That family will still always think of him as their missing child/brother, why should his image be erased from that family as if he never existed? It helps keep everyone's memory of him.

ninathenana Thu 05-Nov-15 09:22:18

It's not the photos being taken that I find strange, on the contrary I too would was picture of my baby that died. I've seen some beautiful pictures taken of "sleeping" babies. It's the fact that they are displayed on her wall and that with the incubator and all the equipment the poor child is hardly visible.
To me these are pictures to treasure but not have on display but if it's a comfort to her and DH who am I to criticize. Just my opinion.
On a happier note they now have two happy healthy girls.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 05-Nov-15 09:28:22

"To avoid confusion pics are of them when they're alive."


Katek Thu 05-Nov-15 09:50:56

Lol Jings! It's just that I'd been mentioning stillborn infants and deceased Victorian children so didn't want to leave slightest room for misunderstanding! Victorian pics are very odd indeed if you google them to see.