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Remembering your baby

You can memorialize your baby in any way you choose. You can have a private memorial service, a public funeral, create a website, dedicate a park bench, plant a tree, make a donation, sponsor a child in need, or light a candle on the anniversary of your due date or delivery date. Or you can decide not to do any of these things, and just simply hold your baby in a special place in your heart.

What matters is that you do what is appropriate for you as a parent. Your baby will always be your baby, and the memories of the time you spent together will always live in your heart and mind.

Memorial services and funerals

You may choose to have a very private memorial service or a more public funeral service. Your baby’s memorial service can be religious, but is not required to be.

Some people prefer to wait until after cremation and then plant a memorial garden at their home and scatter the ashes. There is no time limit for when you can hold a memorial service. Do what feels right for you and your family.

  • If you choose not to have a viewing of the body, you can display pictures instead.
  • If you have time before the memorial service and you have photos of your baby, consider having an artist create a drawing from your photos (see “Resources” section). The drawings are sensitive in that they capture the beauty of your child without the severe bruising that most premature babies have caused by the labor process.
  • Decide whether you want your child’s death announced in the newspaper.
  • If you will be dedicating a memorial garden as part of your service, you can include a stepping stone with quotes or poems. (See “Resources” section.)

Internet memorials

An internet memorial site can provide a very special place for you to remember your baby and share him or her with your friends and family. In particular, an internet memorial is a nice way for family members that live too far away to attend a memorial service held in honor of your baby, to participate in remembering your baby. You may make your own site or use an online babies site and then set it up as a memorial (see “Resources” section for some babies sites). Many people choose to give their memorial site spiritual or religious themes, in accordance with their faith.

Internet memorials may be an easier way to share your loss with some people, since it is sometimes hard to know what to say to a parent who has just lost a baby. With an internet memorial, family and friends can view the site and leave a message in the guest book in their own time.

Your internet memorial could consist of:

  • Photos or drawings of your baby.
  • Your baby’s footprints.
  • Your thoughts and memories of the baby during pregnancy and delivery, as well as any music that may have special meaning to you.
  • A place for your partner or other family members who were present at your child’s birth, to share their own feelings and memories.
  • Guest book for friends and families to share their thoughts and feelings.

Due to the fact that the internet is an open forum, consider making your memorial site password protected. That way, you can provide the password to anyone you choose, while preventing any people with ill-intentions from gaining access.

Permanent memorials and donations

Some of the members of the PROM list have also chosen to remember or honor their children though permanent memorials or charitable donations.

  • Make a financial or in-kind donation to organizations such as The March of Dimes (which has an emphasis on prevention of premature birth), a local children’s hospital, or your hospital’s NICU.
  • Dedicate a tree or bench at a local arboretum or park.
  • Donate books on dealing with perinatal loss in your child’s name to your hospital, local support groups, or the library.
  • Sponsor a child in need, at home or abroad.
  • Name a star after your child.

 

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Article by Kay Squires, with special thanks to Valerie, Holly, and Marion, and the members of the PROM mailing list
January 2005, updated July 2011