“In her deep anguish Hannah prayed to the LORD, weeping bitterly. And she made a vow, saying, ‘LORD Almighty, if you will only give me a child, then I will give him back to the LORD…’”
1 Samuel 1:10-11
There are ways to honor your little one, regardless of just how little he or she is.
These ideas are specific to recognizing the life and death of your baby – at any time, including funeral planning and keepsake items to purchase from different organizations. There are also many personalized birth plan options to help you celebrate the life of your baby during the labor and delivery.
- A very young, unrecognizable baby:
- A baby not buried:
- A baby from a long time ago:
- release a balloon, perhaps with a small letter or prayer attached
- using a very small piece of paper or colored tissue paper, you can draw a picture or write a note and flush that during the time of your bleeding
- farewell words and music (can be included in the unofficial burial)
- some funeral homes offer a memorial wall or garden for names of babies that are not buried there
- donate to a pro-life charity or towards a life-affirming ultrasound machine at a local crisis pregnancy center
- donate to your doula to ensure she will have the financial means to provide adequate support to the next pregnancy loss family she cares for
- donate to an organization or business that offers discounted or free pregnancy loss resources (such as Mason’s Cause or AngelNames.org)
- raise funds for your local perinatal or pediatric hospice/palliative care
- volunteer to help minister to and encourage other mothers: here are important tips to consider when resolving to get involved
- place a birth and/or death announcement in your local newspaper so that you can keep that for your own keepsake
- create a birth or a death announcement (or both) in a postcard or other format
- blog about your story or in other ways reach out and share your experience
- share your experience with us here at this site (we’d be honored and blessed)
- spread the word offers a “Blog Button” and other ways to help others including our Debris Day
- unofficial burial (including baby clothing and casket information).
- order a stillbirthday cake
- special remembrance jewelry (See our list! There’s a lot!)
- special momentos (See our list! There’s a lot!)
- please see our birth plans for a full section of birth planning, birth, and immediate postpartum support, including, for example, items from Earth Mama Angel Baby
- purchasing an unofficial Certificate of Birth as a momento (Stillbirthday has a free Certificate of Birth basic template)
- An identifiable baby:
- An older baby:
- any of the above ideas for a smaller baby
- see your state listing of professionals/volunteers for photographers in your area
- consider breastmilk donation (and get help from the hospital staff with nursing)
- investigate as soon as possible if your state offers an official certificate of stillbirth
- visitation at hospital, home, or funeral
- farewell words and music (can be included in the funeral)
- official, cemetary burial options (including hospital cremation, funeral home cremation, funeral, clothing, and casket information)
- if you have baby items or the nursery already set up, do not pack anything away until both parents agree to this decision. If at that time you decide that you’d like to share your baby’s items with others, Missing Solace has a Christmas present donation program. You can alsoparticipate in our Love Cupboard program.
- special momentos for older babies (see our list! There’s a lot!)
Honoring Stillbirthday Fathers
- Dads can honor the real life and the real death of their babies in special and unique ways, including any of the above ideas. For more suggestions, visit our:
- family and friends/ gift ideas for dads
- support resources for dads
Things that may not be very helpful
- believing or acting as though the burial location is a nursery or that the baby is somehow living there
- volunteering for long-term projects in your baby’s name, because if you cannot follow through you may be left with tremendous guilt
- naming a pet or another child the same name as your lost child, unless both parents fully agree to this
If you’ve experienced loss in the past
You may know someone who’s lost a baby many years ago, and never thought there were options for their family to honor their little one. No time or distance can deter a mother from celebrating the life, and death, of her child. If you are that mother, you can still honor your child. You can choose from different items on this page, too, in particular, the ones for celebrating a very young baby.
Cultural Farewell Traditions & Customs
& Burial Items
- Our SBD Chaplains can officiate the farewell celebration of your choosing, as well as guiding you in caring for your baby’s physical form and preparing for natural burial. All of our SBD Chaplains are also trained SBD Doulas, which means that they can also support you prior to and during your birth, as well as support your postpartum needs. You can visit the “During Birth” resources for a listing of your local SBD Doulas and SBD Chaplains.
Matching Mother/Child Jewelry (one buried with baby, one kept and worn by mother)
Cultural and religious information pertaining to bereavement (including cultural keepsakes) can be found in our Long Term Healing Perspectives section.