Losing a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth is a devastating experience, one we never forget. As time goes on, cherishing the memories of our babies is a way to honor their lives. Here are some meaningful ways you can remember your baby gone too soon.
I was watching my DVRed episode of This is Us last night, and besides the fact that I’m convinced the producers sit around a table every week and ask, “How can we make them cry this week?”, I’m always struck by their ability to tap into the universal feelings and experiences of the viewers – so much so that, yes, we are in tears each week.
In this episode, grown-up Kevin, an actor, was on a movie set with Sylvester Stallone, and they were talking about the loss of Kevin’s dad back when Kevin was a teenager. He tried to blow it off: “It was a long time ago.”
In an unexpectedly poetic way for Sly, he said:
“In my experience Kevin, there is no such thing as ‘a long time ago.’ There’s only memories that mean something and memories that don’t.”
Pretty profound, right?
Memories that mean something and memories that don’t. You don’t forget the important ones.
As much as my love affair with fall has taken over since I’ve stopped teaching, it’s still a bittersweet time for me. I can’t think of fall without remembering that this was the season I lost both my babies.
With baby #1, I found out I was pregnant right as Super Storm Sandy blew in, bringing with it a personal hurricane of another kind. I lost that baby sitting around the Thanksgiving table, while the rest of my family was eating pumpkin pie.
With baby #2, I started the school year with a positive pregnancy test. By October, we knew the baby was gone, and it took almost another month for the loss to come to completion – with 2 rounds of misoprostol and ultimately a D & C. Days later, I was thrown back into life marching in the Wounded Warrior Veteran’s Day Parade in NYC on a field trip with fifty 11th graders. No one there knew my own internal battle I was suffering through.
Time has a way of dimming those memories, but the memories that mean something? You don’t forget.
Believe me, there were times that I wanted to forget – it was too painful to remember.
And now, there are times that I am so consumed with the whirlwind of my days with my twin boys, that I almost forget. But I don’t want to.
For sure, certain dates are triggers – the dates I found out I was pregnant, the dates they went to be with Jesus, the dates they should have been born here on earth. I think think of them on their due dates – they would be 4 and 3 years old now.
I want to honor those 2 beautiful lives that exist at this very moment in heaven, that I will meet some day.
It can be painful trying to cherish those lost babies, because the memories attached to them stir up so much grief. But I think it is part of the healing process to acknowledge their lives in some way. Short as their existences were – even if it was only inside our bodies that their little hearts ever did beat – their lives mattered. Certainly to us. We knew them, even if no one else did.
There were 2 things I did to remember my lost little ones. I bought 2 snowflake ornaments with birthstones in the middle. I chose their birthdays in heaven as the stones for the middle. Every year at Christmas, I see them and we remember the little members of our family that aren’t with us.
Second, I have an Origami Owl necklace with 2 stones in it: the gold November stone is for Baby #1; the pink October stone is for Baby #2. I also had the word ‘hope’ put in there as well. At the time, that was a specific word God gave me for the year following my second loss (and that year, we became pregnant with our boys). I love this necklace because I always have my babies with me, close to my heart.
In the book Loved Baby – 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve and Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss, Sarah Philpott gives some more practical ways you can cherish and honor your baby on those trigger dates. Here are some things Sarah suggests (page 135-6):
“Have a balloon release”
“Plant a tree or flower”
“Prepare a basket for a mama/baby pair who might be in financial need and take it to your local hospital”
“Prepare a basket for a mama who has just experienced pregnancy loss and bring it to your local hospital”
“Buy yourself a token of remembrance to wear”
“Donate items to a child who is now the same age as the child you have in heaven”
“Have a special ornament on your Christmas tree in your baby’s honor”
“Bake cupcakes – enjoy them or take them to a place such as a nursing home where they can be enjoyed by members of our society who are forgotten”
(See the full review of Loved Baby here)
There’s no right or wrong way to remember your lost baby, but for me, it helped knowing their lives were honored and they weren’t forgotten.
As October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, it tends to stir up memories, even if the loss was a while ago. As moms, we know that Sly was right – no such thing as a long time ago – just the memories that mean something remain.
If you are the one in 4 who had to let go of your baby too soon, my prayer is that you would find some extra comfort for your heart this month. I hope one of these ideas will give you something tangible to do to help in the healing process.
Loved Baby is an amazing resource to help. Fashion and Compassion is offering a beautiful dangle bracelet along with the book for a special price of $38 from Oct 2 – 25, 2017. What a beautiful way to remember your baby and always have him/her with you.
Loved Baby available on Amazon for purchase (affiliate).
As you remember your little one, I pray your heart finds lots of comfort in knowing you will see your baby again. Really makes heaven just a little sweeter (if that’s possible). Your memories might be fresh – as in your loss is very recent – or your memories might reach back a bit. But our little ones will always be a part of the memories that mean something. After time, the pain will lessen, and the memory – along with hope – will remain. (This is Us nailed it again).
Many hugs and prayers to you, my friend, as you cherish and honor the life of your precious babies. You will see them again.
Have you done something special to honor your baby? I would love to hear your story.