Honoring a very tiny baby may seem like overkill but it’s important to do something in honor of your baby. Honoring your baby can really help with coping and feelings of closure. Although not all ways may give you “closure” you may still feel a sense of peace when you honor your baby.
Honoring your baby can be very simple or as elaborate as you would like. Here are some ideas:
Naming Your Baby
Some women feel called to name their baby. You may feel push back from friends and family or you may receive positive support when you talk about naming your baby. If you feel called to name your baby, take some time in the quiet to feel out the best name for your baby. If you had a baby very early, you may not know the sex of your baby. This does not mean you cannot name your baby. You don’t even have to pick a gender neutral name, you can still name your baby what you felt your baby was or had picked for your baby.
Listen to your intuition. Many times, it is correct. If you pray, you may also pray and ask for God’s guidance on what your baby’s name is. There is no right or wrong name or way to do this. Names can be simple or elaborate. Some examples are: Baby Apple, Baby Bean, Asher, Neveah, Baby _______ (fill in your last name), or as we named our babies, Ruby Josephine and Augustus Jude.
With a miscarriage, it may be more difficult to have tangible items for a book; however, there are items which can create a wonderful keepsake. Items which can be included in a baby book might be:
- Picture of positive pregnancy test
- Lab results
- Ultrasound photos
- Notes or journal writings to baby or about baby
- Pictures of announcement
- Sympathy cards
It is important to do what feels right for you. If you feel like including something in your book but feel you may be judged by others, it is okay to listen to your heart and place those items in your book. This is ultimately your book and one you may return to when you want to remember.
A memory box can be a great way to keep all your mementos together. Even for very tiny babies, you may have items that can be stored for remembering the experience. Items may include:
- Positive Pregnancy Test
- Lab Results
- Ultrasound Photos
- Hospital band (from D&C or other pregnancy related admission)
- Personal journal
- Pictures drawn by your or your living children
- Work from therapy
- Birth or Death Announcement
- Sympathy Cards
If your baby passed at a later gestation, you could also include:
- Pictures from labor and birth
- Lock of hair
- Handprints and/or footprints
- Hospital blanket and/ or ID bands
- Going home outfit that was intended for baby
- Pictures from baby shower or gender reveal
Many are called to commemorate their baby through a tattoo, either with their baby’s name or some other symbol like a butterfly, tiny footprints, angel wings, or the pregnancy and infant loss ribbon. Some examples might be:
Funeral or Memorial Service
Regardless of what you choose to do with the physical form of your baby’s body, you can still hold a funeral or memorial service. A memorial can be appropriate and very healing. You may send out invitations or call your friends and family inviting them to the service or event. This can be held at a church, in a garden, or even at your home. You may have flowers, a table displaying your baby’s name, pictures of your baby or pregnancy/ultrasound pictures, as well as other items with which you remember your baby by.
At the service you can read prayers, poems or notes that remind you of your baby or were written for your baby. Invite others to share by allowing them to come forward and talk. The service doesn’t have to look like anything specific so trust what feels right for you.
A commendation ceremony is also a wonderful ceremony. It is typically a Catholic ceremony where the baby is commended back to Christ. This can be coupled with a naming ceremony.
Release balloons, plant something (flowers, tree, bush), attend a butterfly release or memorial walk, purchase a special candle and light it when you think about your baby, purchase a special item which reminds you of your baby, make a blanket/hat/or other item which you can hold.
The possibilities truly are endless. Since there is no right or wrong way to remember your baby, you can be as creative or as elaborate as you would like. Celebrate your baby’s life, no matter how short it was.