Photoshop

I have been scared to look at photos of Effy-Mae for a long time.
She was too red.
Too bloated.
Too shiny.
Too damaged.
I couldn’t do it.

For months after I lost her I couldn’t stop looking at the photos I took.
Just like the day I delivered her, when I couldn’t take my eyes off her, I stared at the photos for hours.
Smiling to myself.
I saw my perfectly formed daughter.
I saw through the imperfections.
As time went on I stopped looking at them through rose tinted glasses and I started seeing that she had been dead inside me for too long.
She had started to bloat.
To change.

I found one photo that, when put into black and white, I could look at, and I framed it.
I put it on my bookshelf.
I decorated it with her name.
This was the image that I referred to when I thought of her.
I looked at it multiple times a day.
I forgot the others.
The ones that upset me.
They remained, unlooked at on my hard drive.
I physically jumped every time I accidentally came across one somewhere.
It was a shock to see her how she actually was.

It wasn’t until about a month ago that I looked through them again.
There she was, just as red as before.
It upset me again.
But there were some lovely photos there.
Some of her hands.
Her face.
Us as a family.

I wanted to look at these photos more.
They are memories of the best and worst time of my life.
Delivering my dead daughter, but also getting to meet her.

I had read about parents of premature babies who had asked on reddit for their photos to be photoshopped to remove tubes from their babies so they could see their faces.
Was there any difference with me photoshopping my photos of her, dulling the redness, airbrushing her skin so it wasn’t so raw?
I’m not very adept at photoshop and I only have a basic version that came with my computer, but I gave it a go.
I was unable to make the redness any less vivid so I gave in to black and white, over exposing them to pale the darkness.
She looked more human. Less shocking.
I airbrushed the edges of her torn paper-thin skin and reduced the shine and instantly fell in love with the photos again.
I spent hours looking at them, perfecting what I could.
Looking at her face.
Re-seeing the beauty I initially saw.
Seeing how she probably would have looked had the hospital not made me wait almost a week from not feeling movement to deliver her.

I had some of the photos printed.
Since then I have edited more.
I will get these printed too.
I have bought a photo album to put them in.
I can look at photos of my daughter whenever I like.
I can remember her.
These photos don’t upset me, they make me smile.
They make me think of my beautiful daughter as I should.
As she would have looked.

As I edit more of them I get better and go back and re-edit some of the ones I’ve already done.
When I have finished I will have a perfect set of photos to honour my daughter.

I won’t, of course, delete the originals.
The stronger I get the less it hurts to look at them.
I will look at them occasionally to remind myself how she really was.
How I really remember her.
But why should I upset myself every time I want to remember her?
She would have looked so different had she been born alive at her gestation.
This is what I want to see.
My tiny daughter, but not destroyed by death.
Beautiful.

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2 Comments

  1. So glad you can remember her like this, your beautiful girl xx

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  2. That’s so lovely I have the exact same I have one photo if Leela that i have put into black and white and it’s my go to photo of her such a great idea may have to have a play on my photoshop now 🙂

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