Some hospitals will have a memory box that they will begin to set up for you if you have lost your baby whilst in hospital. What these boxes include will widely vary from organisation to organisation, but below is a list of some things you might want to keep for your memory box. Some of these things will need to be organised by your midwife or doctor, so don’t be afraid to ask for them before you leave the hospital.
From the hospital
Footprints and handprints of your baby (your midwife can organise this for you)
The clip from the umbilical cord
A lock of hair
The birth card used to record your baby’s weight, height etc.
The measuring tape used to measure your baby
Hospital bands from both mum and baby (usually worn around the wrist)
Mum’s “yellow card” – or the card that is used to record health/pregnancy information for the mother throughout the pregnancy
If the baby has spent time in a special care nursery, there may be tubes, wires and other things you may be able to take.
Photos of your baby
Any special outfits/blankets/toys that you may have
A copy of your baby’s birth certificate
Cards and notes sent to you
Dried flowers (if you have been given flowers, consider drying a few for your box)
A copy of the order of service from the memorial service
Copies of any other elements from the memorial service (e.g. a CD with music that was played, a copy of a poem that was read etc.)
Daddy's Memory Box
Dads can often feel that they don’t have anything to “hold on to” if they have lost a baby early on in the pregnancy or if the baby is a stillborn. Mums have had the privilege of carrying the baby for a time, but dads can often feel as though they have missed out. This idea of a daddy’s memory box can be a way to give dads something to hold and cherish. However, if you are considering this idea I will offer a word of caution. This type of memory box is designed for a Christian father who is affirmed that their baby is in heaven with Jesus, and to encourage him in that faith. If the father you are considering is not a Christian or is struggling with his faith, you may want to consider modifying the ideas below, or holding off for a time.
Each item below is placed in the box with a gift-tag that has the text in italics to accompany it. Find a nice gift box that suits your home and is not girly (after all, it’s for a man). The items listed are suggestions only – you may find something that is more appropriate to your situation. If you can think of any other good additions to this collection, please email us with suggestions to email@example.com as we are always looking for ideas to help others.
Old camera/holiday ticket or something that represents a family holiday
“You will never get to take her/him on a family holiday, but she is enjoying rest and laughter with family every day."
Pair of booties
“You will never get to help her/him learn how to walk, but she is with the one that will keep her/him from stumbling.”
Photo frame with a small photo of your baby with their daddy
(if you have one)
“You will never get to hear her/him learn to say “Dadda” for the first time, but you will hear her excitedly greet you for the first time one day.”
Keyring and car key
“You will never get to teach her/him how to drive, but she is already where she needs to be.”
“You will never get to feed her/him and implore her/him to eat her/his vegetables, but she/he is being fed on the bread of life and is thriving.”
Wedding garter/horseshoe/ornament – or something that represents a bride (for girls)
“You will never get to walk her down the aisle, but she is already with the bridegroom.”
“You will never get to teach her/him about Jesus, but she/he already knows him better than you do.”
“You will never watch her/him graduate from school, but he/she is in a place where worldly knowledge is of little value.”
Child’s crayon or pencil
“You will never get to teach her/him how to read or write, but she dwells daily with the Living Word.”
Ornament that represents a hobby (maybe ballet slippers for a girl or a football for a boy)
“You will never get to watch her first ballet concert, but her teacher is the Lord of the Dance.” Or “You will never get to watch his first football match, but his referee is the fairest and most gracious judge.”
pre natal diagnosis
47 hours with a prince
memorial service ideas
Write a Psalm or a Poem
This can be one of the most therapeutic exercises to undertake. Your writing does not have to be long or profound – just an honest expression of what you are feeling at the time. To write a Psalm, it is easy to follow a basic formula, but you can adjust it to suit how you are feeling. Don’t feel forced to write things that you don’t really think or feel at the time.
Start by telling God exactly how you feel
Remind yourself of the things that you know to be true about God and what he has said
Talk about what you are going to do in this situation
Praise him and give him glory
For an example of a home-made Psalm click here for the Psalm that my sister wrote for reading at my daughter’s memorial service.
It's important to preserve the memories and capture your emotions at this difficult time. For some people, being able to make their own mementos is an important part of the grief journey. Here are some ideas of mementos you can create.
Order a Birth Certificate or Early Loss Certificate
The government will usually require you to register for a birth certificate for babies born past a certain gestational age, so you might want to consider order a special commemorative certificate if it is available. For babies who are not eligible for a birth certificate or for miscarried/early loss babies, the Australian government now has a special certificate to acknowledge these losses also which can be applied for via the department of Births, Deaths and Marriages.
A lovely idea is to make a cushion that you can fill with a combination of dry rice and cushion stuffing to the exact same birth weight of your baby. These become a lovely tactile reminder, and there is something very comforting about being able to cuddle and hold something in place of your baby. It is a good idea to measure out the weight in dry rice before you choose to buy a cushion cover or to make one – that way you can gauge roughly the size of the cushion you will need.
Creating a heart-shaped cushion is a lovely version of this activity, and you can decorate it or choose fabric that suits your home and/or your memory of your child. This can also be a great activity to do with children who are grieving the loss of a baby brother/sister/cousin/friend.
Teddies and Toys
Purchasing or making a teddy bear or soft toy is another lovely tactile memento, and gives you something to cuddle or hold. Making a bear or toy from scratch can be very therapeutic and can allow you to personalise it in an extra-special way to remember you baby. If you have never made something like this before, or you do not have a lot of sewing experience, ask around the people you know and see if someone is able to help you. You can also do search on the internet for teddybear kits from places that ship to where you live.
Putting together a scrap book of special memories is another special way to keep some of the items that are suggested for a memory box. Scrap book materials and albums are available from most craft stores. If you are not especially “crafty”, ordering a professional photo book is a lovely way to create a book-style memory with relative ease. Places such as Snapfish, Blurb or Vistaprint have some very easy formats for creating beautiful photo books and other photo gifts.
Memory Quilt/Wall Hanging
If you are competent with a sewing machine, or you know someone who is, you could consider creating a memory quilt which may include some of the fabrics from clothes and blankets that your baby came into contact with.
In a framed memory quilt, you can also add objects such as pendants, buttons, umbilical cord clips, and any other small items that are significant.
Cot Quilt or Baby Blanket
Even though your baby doesn’t need it to use, creating a special blanket is something you can do to keep your hands busy, and can hang over a chair, sofa or be placed in a special spot in your home as a beautiful reminder of your baby. You could consider a patchwork quilt, a knitted or crocheted blanket or an appliqué style quilt.
If you have never done anything like it before, the best thing for you to do is ask a friend who you know does that sort of work for some help. You could also consider going for some sewing/quilting/knitting classes that will allow you to work on your project. This may be a good opportunity to get out of the house, learn a new skill, and open up other ways for you to process your grief.
Even for people who have never enjoyed gardening, planting a plant or designing a small patch of garden in memory of a loved one can be incredibly therapeutic and satisfying. Even if you do not have a lot of space in your garden, you could consider planting a special flower (like a rose bush) in a nice pot. You could also consider removing a bush or tree that is already in your garden and replacing it with something that has been especially purchased as a memento.
Considering ordering a carved riverstone or hand-stamped memento for your plant/s. Links for these products are here.
Photo Frame Collage
One of the most difficult things I faced was the want to share many of the precious photos I had with others who came to my house, but without it being overdone or morbid. For me, I also wanted a way to include a little bit of text with my photos. Finding a frame that holds multiple photos is a really good way to display more than one image as well as some text. There are some lovely frames available that are easy to add pictures to and look really fantastic. You can be as adventurous or as simple with your use of these frames as you like, and they will still look great.
Holiday Season Mementos
Holidays will be a particularly painful time as we often reflect on our family situations and traditions, and the feeling of loss or “someone missing” at these times can be acute. It can be nice to try and find ways in which to acknowledge your baby at these times. Below are some ideas for creating mementos during holiday seasons.
Consider ordering a personalised bauble or ornament that displays the name of your baby. You could also choose a special ornament that does not have a name on it, but holds significance to you in memory of your baby.
Choose a nice candle holder or lantern, and even some accompanying ornaments if you like. When your family meets at special times during the season you could light the candle as a reminder of the one who is not there with you. We light our candles at the start of our family celebration where we give gifts.
A lovely idea is to have an Easter tree to sit in the middle of your dining table or somewhere else in your home. Choose a good sized branch from the garden and place it upright in a vase (you might need to put some stones in the base to keep it stable). You can then create some ornaments to hang from your tree by blowing some eggs and then painting them with a good craft paint. There is no limit to the way in which you can decorate your eggs, and you can personalise the eggs with your baby’s name or with other things that are significant to you. Thread a long loop of ribbon through the egg and you can hang them on your branch for a special Easter decoration.