Remembering your child in a tangible way is one way to promote healing. Here are some ideas, some of which may or may not be applicable to your situation:
• Plant a tree or flowering plant. This can be symbolic of your child’s eternal life in heaven.
• Invest in something physical you can touch—a memory box or blanket, for example.
• Ask for the intercession of your child’s patron saint. You can also buy a medal of the saint to wear as a reminder.
• Ask the hospital staff to make handprints or footprints.
• Swaddle the baby or take photos with him or her.
• Keep a journal. Writing your feelings out can be therapeutic.
• Create a basket filled with baby items to donate to the local Respect Life center in honor of your child in heaven.
• Have a Christmas ornament for your child.
Support a family who has experienced a loss in this way:
• Most importantly, treat the situation as a real death.
• Create a spiritual bouquet—a bouquet with prayer intentions.
• Call or e-mail. Contact the person, letting him or her know you are there.
• Send a sympathy card, perhaps a card offering a Mass.
• Make a meal or send a gift card to a restaurant so they do not have to worry about cooking.
• Make a care package with items that can bring comfort—devotional books, chocolates, treats, and so on.
• Offer to make calls for them to let others know what has happened.
• If they have other children, offer to take the children out for the day or a few hours.
• Help arrange a funeral Mass and burial—call funeral homes and cemeteries for the family. Help them gather the information they need to make the most informed decision possible.
• Help with mundane tasks like paying bills, walking the dog, cleaning dishes, and so forth.
• Offer to listen, if they want to talk.
• Remember and offer a Mass during All Souls Day.
• Organize a prayer chain of friends who will intercede for the family during their difficult time.
• Remember the anniversary of the baby’s death and when the baby was supposed to be born.
• Protect them from hearing other people’s horror stories.
• Be patient. Grief takes time.
www.elizabethministry.com/fi les/Burial_Shows_Reverence_For_Miscarried_Baby.pdf; www.elizabethministry.com/Miscarraige_Child_Loss.html
Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope:
A website where people can post their stories
You can acquire a small casket from Heaven’s Gain.
I Am the Face:
Related to faces of loss advocates to create awareness of
October 15th national Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. Powerful graphic shows that one in four women experience the pain of loss.
La Belle Dame:
Infant and miscarriage loss jewelry
Memorials on Eden Hill:
Memorial tile for Shrine of the Holy Innocents at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy. All children memorialized at the shrine and their families will be remembered daily in the Rosary for Life, in the Holy Mass, and during the Hour of Great Mercy at the National Shrine of the Divine Mercy and in special Masses on December 12 (Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe), December 28 (Feast of the Holy Innocents), and on the third Saturday in July.
Details and stories from other parents who have lost their young preborn children
Morning Light Ministry:
A Catholic ministry for bereaved parents; can request a prayer card for your baby
My Forever Child:
Keepsakes that may help with healing
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep:
Offers free professional remembrance photography for families experiencing a loss as a step in the healing process
Share: Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support:
Has local support groups throughout the country as well as resources and training for support providers
The Shrine of the Holy Innocents:
You can have your baby’s name inscribed in the “Book of Life” at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents in New York City. A candle is lit in loving memory. On the first Monday of every month, a Mass is celebrated in honor of these children. The shrine will e-mail you a “Certificate of Life” with your baby’s name included.
You can have your baby’s name inscribed in the Holy Innocents Virtual Mausoleum.
St. Mary’s Hospital Save the Baby Unit, London:
The world’s largest clinic dedicated to miscarriage prevention
University of Chicago Recurrent Pregnancy Loss Program:
Cohen, Janice, D.S.W., and Gail Owens. Molly’s Rosebush. Morton Grove, IL: A. Whitman, 1994.
A children’s book on miscarriage.
Cohen, Jon. Coming to Term: Uncovering the Truth about Miscarriage. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2005.
Offers a comprehensive look at the scientific research done on miscarriage along with stories of many couples that experienced miscarriage.
Edmisten, Karen. After Miscarriage: A Catholic Woman’s Companion to Healing & Hope. Cincinnati: Servant Books, 2012.
Excellent new book offering solace, Scriptural wisdom, and helpful resources.
Kellett, Mary. “Peter’s Story: Discovering Hope and Love After an Adverse Prenatal Diagnosis.” 2007. www.catechism.org/prolife/programs/rlp/Kellett.pdf.
Otrema, Maureen, and Jim Otremba. “Miscarriage.” Accessed September 20, 2011. http://foryourmarriage.org/everymarriage/overcoming-obstacles/miscarriage
Schermerhorn, Caroline. “Miscarriage: Moving From Grief Toward Healing.” St. Anthony Messenger, January 2005. www.americancatholic.org/messenger/Jan2005/feature3.asp
Sodergren, Andrew J. “Hope for Healing: Miscarriage and the Dignity of the Human Body.” January 12, 2005. www.christendom-awake.org/pages/may/hopeforhealing.htm
Wicker, Kate. “Short Lives That Are Long Remembered: Coping With the Loss of Miscarriage.” Faith and Family, Spring 2011.