A guide for parents bereaved by a pregnancy loss
Naming your child helps give your child an identity and creates a more personal relationship for you.
It doesn’t matter if you lost your baby due to miscarriage, termination, ectopic pregnancy, IVF or stillbirth – feelings of grief are natural. When you lose your baby you may feel a pressure to get on with your life. However, your relationship with your baby doesn’t end when your baby dies.
Your grief is visible evidence of that. Your attachment continues and you long for your child. A loss early in the pregnancy is difficult as you may not have seen your baby or may not have known whether it was a boy or a girl. This may cause you confusion about the depth of the loss you feel. Making your child real is a way to help you grieve.
There are a number of ways you can do this. Be imaginative and do what seems most meaningful to you. Remember – it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. This is about you and the loss of your baby.
Here are some suggestions for acknowledging and remembering your baby:
Name Your Baby
Some parents do not know the sex of their child but most parents, when asked, have a distinct sense of what gender their baby was. Naming your child helps give your child an identity and creates a more personal relationship for you.
Hold A Remembrance Service
You can do this any time. It may be meaningful to have a memorial service on a date of special significance for you (date of loss, estimated due date). You may like to involve your minister, priest or celebrant, family and friends or, possibly, just your spouse or partner. You may like to choose particular readings, poems or songs that capture the essence of what you wish to express. Remember this service can be as individual and creative as you wish.
Open Doors can arrange a remembrance service for you in the Ringwood area, called “Loving and Remembering” (see below). We also have Orders of Service available for your own pastor or celebrant to use.
Read more about Minister’s Kit for Remembrance Service and how to order.
Attend Open Doors’ Remembrance Service – ‘Loving and Remembering”
Open Doors can arrange a personalised remembrance service for you at our centre in Ringwood. The service caters for those who are church goers and those who are not. Whether your loss was as a result of miscarriage, termination, IVF, ectopic pregnancy or stillbirth, the remembrance service provides the opportunity to acknowledge your baby’s death in a gentle and supportive environment. There is no cost involved however you may wish to make a donation.
Keep A Journal
Start a book in which you can write down the events leading up to the loss of your baby and how that impacted upon you. You can include any thoughts or reflections you may have had when you found out you were pregnant. You might write down your hopes and dreams for your little one and the disappointment and grief associated with the loss.
Writing is a valuable tool in dealing with your grief and can provide you with a lasting memory – one that you can treasure in years to come.
A Memory Box
You may like to create a special box in which you place your baby’s memorabilia. You could include ultrasound pictures, cards (both congratulating you on the pregnancy and sympathizing with your loss) and your positive pregnancy test if you kept it. You could include something you make or decorate yourself for your baby, perhaps according to your child’s gender. You may like to buy an item that reminds you of your baby e.g. a toy or a piece of clothing.
You may like to consider starting with a Memory Box produced by Open Doors (pictured). This contains a small jacket, hat, booties and a tiny book in which you may write your special thoughts and messages. Garments come in a range of colours.
Personal Declaration Cards – ‘Aila and Lior’
These card sets are a lovely gift for a friend or for yourself to help you process your emotions in the days, weeks, months after pregnancy loss. The card sets are available to purchase from https://ailaandlior.com/
A Special Reminder
You may like to buy a special painting or figurine that you can associate with your baby. Place it where you can see it. It can give you a sense of having your baby’s life there for all to see rather than being hidden away
Plant A Garden
Planting a garden or a special tree or shrub in remembrance of your baby may appeal to you. It doesn’t have to involve a large area – in fact it might be a container garden that you can move with you if that is likely. Plants symbolize continuity and growth and may be a very fitting memorial for you.
A Memory Stone
If you’re a person who loves the outdoors perhaps a special stone or rock with a plaque of your choosing may appeal to you. This may be placed in your garden and also may go with you if you move.
These are just some of the ways you can remember. What you do to remember your baby is entirely up to you. One young father had a small tattoo placed on his chest near his heart to remember his child. You see, there are no limits. You may choose something quite unique.
On the Contact Form tell us your phone number (Australia only), the best day and time for us to call you, and let us know if it’s ok to leave a message should you not be able to answer the phone. A counsellor will call by the next business day during Centre opening hours (Mon: 9.30-8.00pm; Tues, Wed, Thur: 9.30-3.00pm. Closed public holidays.) You can also request an appointment for face to face counselling or just ask a question.
OPEN DOORS COUNSELLING
5 Greenwood Ave Ringwood, Vic. 3134
Ph: (03) 9870 7044
Freecall outside Melbourne 1800 647 995