Time with your baby is precious. Hold them, dress them, sing to them, cry with them, smell them, talk to them. Take your time and capture memories that you will hold on to for a lifetime to honour them, share their story and be their voice.
You may not feel like it at the time, but our bereaved community encourages you to keep or create at least one memento.
Below are ideas and suggestions that other parents have made:
- Name your baby or a special meaning for namesake.
- Take photographs and video – take photographs or video prior to delivery, during and after delivery to share and reflect on for years to come. If you and your partner, do not feel up to taking the photos yourself, ask someone at the hospital, a relative, or contact Heartfelt, a national photographer volunteer organisation to take some on your behalf. Our bereaved parents’ community tell us that you can never have too many photographs. You may not feel like looking at them straight away but store them online or print and keep them in a safe place until you are ready.
- Painted handprints and footprints or impressions.
- Keep a lock of hair – some parents keep in their memory boxes or put in a locket or fuse in a piece of jewellery.
- Buy a journal or notebook and write about your baby – special features, hair colour, who the baby resembles, and any other thoughts or feelings at this time.
- Write a letter to your baby – this can be kept with your baby when they are laid to rest and take a copy to keep for yourself.
- Keep the hospital name tags for your baby and yourself and any other paperwork or items.
- Keep cards from family and friends.
- Wrap your baby in a special blanket and keep an identical one as a memento.
- Give your baby a bath.
- Keep clothes that you dressed your baby in.
- Press and dry flowers and keep in your memory box or frame.
“After several months, I started to doubt that I had even given birth. It was then that I reached for the floral-covered memory book, where the midwives had carefully recorded every detail of your birth, complete with black ink footprints, handprints and two Polaroid photos. These were the ‘old days’, before digital photography took off. And then, one by one, fragmented memories would pop into my head …”
– Name withheld
Organisations that help bereaved parents
The Stillbirth Foundation is often approached by organisations and individuals with a genuine desire to help the parents of stillborn babies create beautiful mementos of their precious babies.
Below are some of these wonderful people and organisations. Please note, that some providers charge a fee for their services.
Heartfelt is a volunteer organisation of professional photographers from all over Australia dedicated to giving the gift of photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirth.
“Through Heartfelt’s beautiful photos I get to look back at how precious he was, how beautiful he looked.
I appreciate what you do and all your volunteers, you have made my grieving process that little bit easier.
The photos Heartfelt provided my family have made me feel like I really got to know my son, connect with him, love him and cherish him. I thank you.”
– Heartfelt testimonial, 9 June 2020
If you have other memory creating ideas or services for bereaved parents, please contact us at email@example.com