Previously titled 9 Ways to Honor a Baby that Never Was.
Losing a a baby is one of the most difficult things that can happen to a family. Not only are you losing your child, but you are losing your hopes, dreams and plans for your life. Whether the loss is from SIDS, stillborn, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, chemical pregnancy, or fetal abnormality, the pain is very real. Some women find other may minimize their pain. My miscarriage (you can read the full story of my miscarriage here) was devastating to me. Although the pregnancy wasn’t planned, we grew excited about the prospect of starting a family and how our lives would change. I cried for weeks after losing the baby. The pain eventually lessens, but it never fully goes away. Almost 2 year later I still tear up thinking about my baby, and his due date is still a hard day for me. I found some solace in honoring my baby and having a physical reminder in place.
There are many beautiful options on the market to honor a lost baby. There is a style for almost everyone. For jewelry that is more discreet, birthstone pendants or rings or an engraved piece are the way to come. Both commercial jewelry stores and big box retailers (such as WalMart) should be able to accommodate this. There is also a wide variety of memorial jewelry options. Hollyday Designs has a selection of memorial jewelry that can be customized with ashes, hair, placenta, breast milk or other items. Miscarriage Jewelry on Etsy has a wide variety of custom jewelry as well including bracelets, charms and keychains.
A little more permanent, a tattoo can be a great way to symbolize your love for a lost child. This is one of things I ended up doing, and I have a beautiful reminder of my child. My tattoo is a palm tree symbolizing the conception (As I was in Florida on my Honeymoon) with the words Tu Me Manques – meaning you are missing from me. Tattoo ideas can range from baby feet, names, dates, quotes or even portraits. Make sure to choose an experienced artist as this is something that you will keep with you forever.
Plant a Tree
Many people find comfort in bringing new life into their home in a different way. Planting a tree or flowers is a great way to do this. Ashes, the placenta or other items can be placed underneath the tree upon burial.
Create a Garden Shrine
Similar to the above, but one step further. Create a quiet resting place you can go to quiet your thoughts or visit your little one. Plant plants that remind you of her, get a statue or dreamcatcher. Hang widchimes or harmony bells in the tree. Create a space you can retreat to when you need it.
Mollybears is a beautiful organization that creates custom teddybears in the weight of a stillborn baby. Many families find comfort in being able to hold their babies. MollyBears can be purchased for $20, however the cost of the bear is much higher than that. Donations are accepted on their website to help provide families a low cost bear.
Dedicate a Star
Dedicating a star to your little one is another wonderful option. No matter where you go, it will always be up in the sky shining down on you. Prices start at US $54 at the Star Registry.
There is a lot of healing power in written word. Try writing your feelings down in a journal or or write a poem. Speak to your little one. Speak to yourself and your family. Write however you feel is healing.
This certainly isn’t an option for everyone, but often doing acts of kindness for others can help heal our own pain. Producing milk? Try pumping and donating your breastmilk to NICU and formula intolerant babies through a milk bank. This takes time and dedication, but some women find the act of sharing their milk very cathartic. Other acts of charity can be healing as well, such as donating time to a soup kitchen, church or other needy family.
Losing a baby is always difficult. If you are going through a loss, please don’t isolate yourself. Talk with other people. There are many forums and facegroup groups online for women and families going through this. Treat yourself kindly, and remember even though it hurts now, it won’t always hurt this bad.
Have you or a friend or family member experienced the loss of a baby? How did you honor your child?