Mission and History
To introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with a free gift of professional portraiture.
NILMDTS trains, educates, and mobilizes professional quality photographers to provide beautiful heirloom portraits to families facing the untimely death of an infant. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring the child's legacy.
Maddux Achilles Haggard was born on February 4, 2005, with a condition called myotubular myopathy, which prevented him from breathing, swallowing, or moving on his own. The following six days, his parents Mike and Cheryl Haggard sat by his side with questions that had no answers.
Cheryl tried to create memories of their time together using her own camera. In reviewing the pictures she captured, Cheryl said, “I saw our tear stained cheeks, our red swollen eyes, our forced smiles, and the fear in our faces as we looked into the camera.”
On the sixth day of Maddux’s young life, his parents made the excruciating decision to remove him from life support. Before they removed life support, Cheryl knew she wanted professional images of Maddux that she could hang on her wall alongside the portraits of her other children.
“Maddux deserved that space on our wall. I could not comfortably hang the pictures I had taken. The color images bring back the reality of that day. I wanted heirloom portraits as a way to remember and honor our son,” said Cheryl.
It was then, Mike called photographer Sandy Puc' to take black and white portraits of them cradling their son.
Those tender photographs documenting Maddux’s eternal connection with his parents inspired Cheryl Haggard and Sandy Puc' to create Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep in 2005 as a nonprofit organization. NILMDTS exists to give bereaved families the gift of professional heirloom portraits to bring healing and comfort.
“That night was the worst night of my life. But when I look at the images, I am not reminded of my worst night. I’m reminded of the beauty and blessings he brought.”
NILMDTS has gifted more than 40,000 complementary portrait sessions since 2005. With approximately 1,500 active photographers, NILMDTS reaches every state in the United States and has been present in 40 countries worldwide. We currently accept applications from the United States of America, Canada, Ireland, United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, South Africa, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.
The NILMDTS Remembrance Walk has expanded to multiple states and also includes a Virtual Walk. The Walk brings together more than 5,000 participants to remember and honor their babies and also raise awareness of pregnancy and infant loss.
The ongoing support for the pregnancy and infant loss community from NILMDTS have brought together a reach of more than 1 million on social media and 40,000 NILMDTS email subscribers.