Many bereaved parents have shared that when faced with this unknown and overwhelming task, they have engaged a funeral director to help with planning and arrangements.
Each ceremony can be as unique as your fingerprint, and the possibilities are endless to create lasting memories for you and your child.
When do we need to start planning a funeral or memorial service?
This is a personal choice and will be dictated by cultural or religious beliefs, in the first instance. If no cultural or religious traditions are to be followed, the type of service may depict timing.
To help with the planning, a Funeral Director can be contacted within hours to a few days after birth.
What service options are available?
Rite of Passage Funerals, Owner and Head Funeral Guide, Yasemin Trollope, advises there are generally two options when planning a service for your baby:
- Funeral service – a service where the coffin or casket is present. It occurs before a cremation or, before or during a burial, depending on where you hold the service. In most cases, the service takes place from one to two weeks from your baby’s date of birth.
- Memorial service – this takes place after the cremation or burial and can be held at any location.
Services can be personalised to your unique requirements or cultural beliefs and can be held in a variety of locations. Our community has shared stories and photos at their homes, local parks, memorial gardens, beaches and places of worship.
“Addison’s service was beautiful, we had family and friends travel to come say their goodbyes. I realised not only did we lose our baby girl, but we lost a sister, granddaughter, niece, great granddaughter, great niece and a little friend. They too are grieving and to them I say thank you, thank you for being there, for giving our girl the beautiful send-off she deserved.”
– Mother to Addison Paul Grace. Read her story here.
Steps to consider when planning a service for your beloved baby
To help you plan your service and highlight options available to rest your child, read the below guide from Rite of Passage Funerals.
Talk to your hospital, doctor, midwife, social worker or refer to online resources to find a Funeral Director that aligns with your needs to lay your baby to rest.
Talk to your Funeral Director about your options for after death care. Questions to consider include: Can you hold your baby? Can you keep your baby with you for a period of time? And any other personal or cultural preferences.
Talk to your Funeral Director about your options for how you would like to rest your baby including: burial, natural burial or cremation.
Think about a resting place for your baby for example: memorial gardens, cemetery, urn for ashes, keepsake jewellery or scattering the ashes.
Service or ceremony type
Talk to your Funeral Director about the type of service you want. This might be something traditional like a service in a church or funeral home, or something else entirely. There really are no rules, so working with someone who’s creative can really help.
Discuss the type of ceremony you would like with your Funeral Director. They usually pair you with the right fit or you can use someone you know, this might be a priest or religious figure, or a ceremony specialist to lead your ceremony and create meaning and ritual at this sacred event.
Create memories with your baby, including arranging a photographer to take photos, write notes and cards, include siblings in the process, add items into the casket or arrange a private viewing. The ways you create memories will be entirely personal to you.
Make it special
Choose music, passages, photos, poems and readings for the ceremony that have special meaning to you.
Your support network
Ensure you have a strong support network around you, and if possible, ask a close family friend or relative to act as your family liaison to ensure you’re not too overwhelmed with planning.
What does a Funeral Director do and how do I find one?
Yasemin says “the Funeral Director helps coordinate and plan from the moment you baby comes into their care until the day of the service. They help to arrange transportation, mortuary care, booking and planning, liaising with the celebrant, completing paperwork on the family’s belief and much more.”
To find someone to suit your unique need and beliefs, it is common for word of mouth or ask your hospital social worker for recommendations in your local area. To research other options, visit Funeral Booking, Gathered Here or independent Funeral Directors who aligns with your needs to lay your baby to rest.
“The profound impact that loss has on you is never felt more intensely than the loss of a child. The grief is heavy and oftentimes brutal, and as a Funeral Director, I see that grief compounded by the fact that families simply don’t know where to start when it comes to planning a funeral.”
– Yasemin Trollope, Rite of Passage Funerals