Unfortunately, one in four pregnancies ends in a miscarriage. This can be devastating for anyone, but especially so if the journey to pregnancy was a difficult one. As with any loss, honouring, acknowledging or memorialising the loss of a pregnancy can be a helpful part of the grieving and healing processes. In this blog we share ten possible ways (although there are many others) to honour and memorialize a miscarriage.
A balloon release is a simple and cost-effective memorial that can be done alone, or with family and friends. Messages, song lyrics, quotes or poems can be tied to the balloons before they are released. If you aren’t comfortable with the environmental aspect of a balloon release but like the idea, visit THIS BLOG to find some alternatives.
Similar to the balloon release, a lantern release is symbolic of a freeing or letting go. This can be especially helpful for people who believe they are releasing the life or spirit of that baby to the care of another being or world. If you have given the baby a name, it may be fitting to write the name on the lantern too before releasing it. There are several places where you can buy biodegradable and wire-free lanterns too, or could choose a biodegradable kite if you prefer not to have to use fire.
Some people find planting a new tree, plant, bush or flowers can be a meaningful memorial for a pregnancy loss. The new life sparks hope and acts as a living memorial. If the plant is staying in a pot, it could be decorated with the name and date of the baby too.
While tattoos aren’t everybody’s cup of tea, for some people they are a meaningful, permanent reminder of a loved one. Whether simple text, imagery or a full work of art, you can tailor it to your tastes and include anything that has meaning for you. There are lots of ideas online, but most tattoo artists are very happy to talk to you about your aesthetic and what you want the tattoo to reflect (hope, love, peace, forever known, flying free, at rest for example) and create something wholly unique to you.
Memory bears (or any animal!) are stuffed toys made with clothes or blankets belonging to the person they remember. Particularly if the pregnancy was further along, you may have outfits bought especially for your baby that could be used to create a stuffed animal in their memory. One family we know takes their memory bear to family photoshoots. They will always get photos without the bear too, but make sure the bear is included in some of the shots. Etsy has several people offering this service, but a quick search on Facebook or Google may bring up any local businesses who can make one for you.
Light a Candle
There are many ways to use a candle as a memorial. Some people join in the annual Wave of Light which is an initiative to both remember babies miscarried or stillborn (or lost through other forms of pregnancy loss) and raise awareness. Perhaps you could light it on the baby’s anniversary, or include it with other candles at family occasions to represent that the baby is part of the family even if they aren’t physically present.
Birthstone, Date or Name Jewellery
Jewellery can be a meaningful way to memorialise and honour a miscarriage. One of our team has a ring with the birthstone for the months she lost each pregnancy. Others we know have rings, necklaces and bracelets engraved with dates or names. One mother has a very simple necklace with a bar for each of her children, including those lost during pregnancy. Again, Etsy has lots of ideas in a whole variety of styles. Lisa Leonard is also well known for her designs that intentionally incorporate storytelling and memories.
Miscarriage Memory Box
A memory box is another keepsake/memorial that people sometimes find meaningful. Some also find the act of creating or decorating it can be therapeutic in and of itself. If this appeals to you, but you would like some guidance, one of our volunteers is a qualified art therapist and may be able to meet with you.
It’s entirely up to you what you put in it, but ideas include ultrasound pictures, sympathy/support cards, appointment cards, toys, clothes or books bought specifically for the baby and pregnancy photos. If the baby is stillborn some people choose to include photos from the hospital or hospital bracelets and paperwork.
In the case of knowingly delivering a stillborn baby, there are some photographers who are willing to come to the hospital to capture it in the same way they would a live birth and include some of these images in their memory box. Some people we know have found this to be an important part of their journey, although many don’t have this option.
Memory Christmas Ornament
Just as some people have ornaments to commemorate a new baby, house move, marriage or death of a loved one, some choose a Christmas ornament as a way of honouring and remembering a baby lost during pregnancy. Again, this symbolises that they may not be physically present, but they are a part of that home and the story of that family. THIS BLOG has some ideas for ornaments that you could make or commission, and again, Etsy is a good place to start the hunt for your perfect memorial Christmas ornament.
Garden Resting Place
Our final suggestion for a way to honour a miscarriage is to create a ‘resting place’ within your own garden. It may something as simple as an arrangement of stones in a corner, or a plaque laid by a specific tree or flower. You may choose a small statue or even something like a rock garden, rose garden or water feature. Whatever it is, it can be within your budget and meaningful to you. As with the individual plant, the life around it is a good reminder too that although the memory and experience will always be there, there is also hope and new life around that life.
Choosing Your Memorial
Every individual is different. That means there is no right way to grieve the loss of a pregnancy and no right way to honour or memorialise it either. We hope these have given you some ideas for your own journey, and that you are able to find something that is significant and special for you.
Sharing our experiences may be hard sometimes, but it can also be a key that unlocks healing for someone else, so if you have experienced miscarriage and found a way of honouring it that we didn’t mention here, why not drop a comment and let us know what you found helpful.