As the 18th year of Baby Loss Awareness Week comes to a close, let’s focus now on how families can remember their lost angels. No matter when you suffer a miscarriage, you will be mourning the loss of your baby, their future and all the hopes and dreams your little one carried with them.
The grief process can be very difficult and finding a way to commemorate your loss may help. Some women feel like they are somehow not entitled to do anything, particularly if they had an early miscarriage. But you have the right to remember your baby in whatever way you want.
Don’t feel like you have to mark your loss if you don’t want to. There is no right or wrong way to feel after. You may choose to have a funeral, ceremony or memorial service for your baby.
Unfortunately, during the coronavirus pandemic, all or most organised or even private events are being cancelled, so perhaps you could organise something in a special place outdoors, or in your own home. You could keep it as you and your partner, or have a small group of your closest friends and family to support you.
There is no law about burial of babies born under 24 weeks. Some hospitals may offer a simple burial or funeral that may cost some money. You might want to attend a remembrance service. Ask your hospital chaplain if the hospital holds a service for babies who have died there. During the current climate, some hospitals are doing virtual memorial services in their memorial gardens, and streaming it on Zoom, for parents to be a part of it. So always ask.
For me, I found it deeply healing to talk, and share with others, particularly through writing my experiences down as copy or poetry. I have met many women who have been able to write the most beautiful poems as a form of therapy, and to remember their babies. Whether you choose to keep that private or share with others is your choice. You may want to keep scan pictures, your pregnancy journal and any health notes in a special box.
Press and frame any flowers you received. Light a candle for your baby on anniversaries or other memorable dates, or during Baby Loss Awareness Week, when parents across the nation create a wave of light in memory of their babies.
Some families choose to set up a memorial page in honour of their angels, or decide to fundraise for a charity close to their hearts. Leave an entry for your baby in your hospital’s Book of Remembrance, if they have one. Buy something special in memory of your baby, such as a piece of jewellery.
Plant a tree or flowers at home, or in a local garden of remembrance. I planted sunflowers in honour of my lost baby, and it was so healing seeing them gro and reach for the sun. You may wish to give your baby a name, or even dedicate a star for them. There are online memorial spaces available, which offer a special place to mark the brief lives of babies who died before they were born, with messages attached to stars in the night sky. You may get a tattoo, commission some art work or find it therapetic to paint.
Some families choose to remember their babies by doing something special together on specific anniversaries. You may choose to just sit quietly and remember. Listen to music, go for a walk, or commit to having a gentle day.. There is no wrong or right way. It is also completely normal to NOT want to acknowledge specific dates.
The important thing, is that it is completely up to you.