“In her deep anguish Hannah made a vow, saying, ‘LORD Almighty, if you will only give me a child, then I will give him back to you…'”
1 Samuel 1:10-11
There are ways to honor your little one, regardless of just how little his or her physical form 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:
- Celebrating Pregnancy Blessingway – Stillbirthday Sacred Circles
- SBD Chaplains have many special, unique alternative cremation and burial options. These can be very difficult decisions but it can be very important to know that you have options you may not otherwise know about. SBD Chaplains use tools and resources including small cast iron pots, fruit dehydrators and many more ideas that are available simply for you to consider.
- placenta burial
- unofficial burial (including baby clothing and casket information).
- farewell words and music (can be included in the unofficial burial)
- 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. Or, you can release flower petals or a love letter to your baby into a stream. Many stillbirthday mothers value incorporating water into their farewell when flushing was inevitable. See the photos below. You can also use colored tissue and mod podge to create a beautiful vase or candle holder.
- some funeral homes offer a memorial wall or garden for names of babies who are not buried there
- confirm with your local crisis pregnancy center that they can and should offer ultrasounds for every mother enduring an impending miscarriage, as this may be the only photo she will have of her baby, and consider donating to their organization if they do offer such a valuable service to bereaved families.
- estriol is a pregnancy estrogen, which is measurable by week 9 of pregnancy. Because of this pregnancy estrogen, the shedding state of hair for the pregnant mother is decreased, causing some mothers to experience longer and/or shinier hair in pregnancy, sometimes followed by an increased sense of shedding or hair loss postpartum. One way to carry the legacy of your child can be through donating some of this extra grown hair to an organization that uses it for comfort for others. Children With Hair Loss requires 8 inches of hair. One precautionary note to making a dramatic hair style though, is that a dramatic hair cut can be a kind of self harm – please talk the idea over with your loved ones rather than impulsively.
- donate to your SBD doula or to our SBD doula sponsorship program to equip more doulas to serve families
- donate to an organization or business that offers discounted or free pregnancy & infant 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
- Birth & Bereavement Activism, Art & Expression
- 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
- order a stillbirthday cake
- special remembrance jewelry (See our list! There’s a lot!)
- special momentos (See our list! There’s a lot!)
- release a balloon, perhaps with a small letter or prayer attached
- 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. Portraits by Dana offers one and here is another as well. (Stillbirthday has a free Certificate of Birth basic template)
Incorporating water into your farewell, particularly when flushing is inevitable:
Sacred Water Offering
- 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
At home visitation is possible even when baby is born at home.
If this option feels special to you, consult with your healthcare team, and ask about including a stillbirthday doula at the birth or shortly thereafter. Your care team also can consult between the medical and funeral staff to determine how to make a home visitation possible.
When Your Baby Dies is one resource to share.
- 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
- searching for reasons or answers without being supported. Searching for answers can be very healing. Please do so with support.
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.
You might benefit from our Stillbirthday remembrance ideas page as well, for ways to celebrate your special remembrance days.
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.