By: Carrie Schaeffer, LCSW, Perinatal Bereavement Services Manager
One of the many things that make pregnancy and infant loss so painful and bewildering is that there are not many memories and mementos left behind as there are when a person who has lived a longer life dies. And yet, bereaved parents’ desire to remember these lives is just as strong. Parents often wonder, “How do I remember my baby? What can I do to make their life mean something? How can I carry them with me into my future?”
In response to these questions, here are some remembrance ideas for parents who have suffered a perinatal loss.
Simply talking about your baby and saying their name out loud can help you feel connected to them. If you are looking for additional support and opportunities to share your story and remember your baby, consider joining a support group for parents who have experienced a similar loss.
Writing can be therapeutic during your grief and it can help you memorialize your child and your pregnancy. You can write privately for yourself in a journal or you can write for a larger audience by starting a blog, writing a book or submitting an essay or poetry to a journal such as Still Standing Magazine.
When words fail or feel too difficult, create art in remembrance of your baby. Ideas include making a memory box to hold photos or small mementos that you may have, painting a birdhouse, or designing a garden stone. You can also work with an artist to create a remembrance piece such as a painting, a piece of jewelry or a sculpture. Some parents create a place of remembrance for their child. This can be something inside such as a memory wall or shelf or it can be outside such as a garden or bird sanctuary. Simply planting a tree or shrub can create a living, growing memorial to your child.
Advocate, Donate, Volunteer
Some parents bring meaning to their babys’ lives through advocacy or volunteer work. You can get involved with an organization that feels meaningful to you or offer help to individuals enduring a similar struggle. Examples include walking in a remembrance walk/run, starting a not-for-profit group to help others, and donating items to organizations who care for parents and/or children such as a NICU.