Marking your loss
Many people who have lost a baby in pregnancy say that although they move on, they never entirely forget their loss. Singer and actress Barbara Dickson put it like this:
“For those of us who have undergone the trauma and complex feelings following
miscarriage, a little of that pain remains in a corner of one’s heart forever.”
Some people say that they find it helps to do or create something that marks the loss of their baby and his or her brief life.
If you miscarry before 24 weeks of pregnancy, there is no legal recognition of your baby’s brief life. But some hospitals will provide a certificate in memory of your baby if you would like this. If they don’t make this offer and you would like something, it is worth asking one of the following people:
- a nurse or midwife on the ward
- the hospital chaplain
- the bereavement service
- the hospital’s Patient Advice and Liaison (PALS) Officer.
The Miscarriage Association can provide information and guidance for hospitals that want to create a certificate. They or you can find that here.
If you didn’t have a funeral or ceremony after the miscarriage, you may want to hold a memorial service. You could do this in your place of worship, in another place that’s special to you or at home. It could be just for close friends and family or even just you and your partner.
Some hospitals organise annual services of remembrance for babies who have died there. You could find out from your ward or the hospital chaplain.
Services like this are sometimes organised by the Miscarriage Association’s local groups and the Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society (SANDS), especially on or near Babyloss Awareness day, October 15. Visit http://www.babyloss-awareness.org or contact us for details.
There are Christian remembrance services that take place in a number of cathedrals across the UK throughout the year. Visit www.sayinggoodbye.org for more details of dates and venues.
You can find Christian liturgies also on the Saltwater and Honey website, here.
If you are seeking some kind of ceremony or prayers from a Jewish perspective, you might find it helpful to visit http://www.ritualwell.org/categories/511.
Not a ceremony, but here is a Muslim perspective on supporting someone after the loss of a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth.
You might also find comfort n the Japanese Jizo concept, described here.
Here are some other ideas, from people who have found them helpful:
- Make an entry for your baby in your hospital’s book of remembrance; the hospital chaplain will be able to arrange this
- Plant flowers or a tree in your garden or a local garden of remembrance.
I sowed Viola heartsease seeds all on their own in a pot and when they flowered they were so small and perfect – a fitting reminder of my losses
- Light a candle on anniversaries and other special days, such as International Babyloss Awareness Day, 15 October
- Post your thoughts and feelings, perhaps together with an image and an action, on our site www.daysthatmatter.org.uk
- Add a message to our forget-me-not meadow or create a star on our Winter Lights of Love tree.
- Create a memory box.
I gathered together everything to do with our baby: the scan photo, my pregnancy journal, cards we’d received etc. I wanted to have a special baby box to keep the happy memories in and to dip into when I felt strong enough.
- Buy something special in memory of your baby, such as a piece of jewellery (the remembrance jewellery on www.lisamatthewsjewellery.co.uk also supports the Miscarriage Association)
- Write a letter or poem for your baby
- Make a donation to a favourite charity or do some fundraising
I ran the London Marathon for the Miscarriage Association. I felt that raising money would be a fitting way to honour my baby, whilst helping a charity which had a special significance for me.