When a baby doesn’t survive beyond the womb women are left with empty arms and a space in their lives where a baby should be. Finding ways to commemorate the children that have left the earth too soon helps us acknowledge our grief and create a space for their memory. No matter how short their time on earth, our children’s lives are valuable and worth acknowledging, celebrating and commemorating.
Commemorating a child is often about using symbols which can comfort us and honour the lives of our children. They can also be ways to share your child’s life with others, to bring them into your grief journey and to allow them an opportunity to value your child. Today I want to share with you 10 ways that women may choose to commemorate their children.
Disclaimer: You don’t need to buy anything to commemorate your child, but there are some recommendations for small keepsakes in this article. Some of them are affiliate links. Please know that anything you buy through these links goes to support this site and to help other women on their pregnancy loss journeys.
1. Plant a garden, plant or flowers.
The first time I had a miscarriage I decided to plant a garden. Planting seeds, working the soil and caring for the plants gave me something to throw my grief into and see life come out of death. We had buried our child in our garden and we planted a special plant on top. Although some women may find the idea of keeping a plant or garden alive overwhelming, for others planting a garden or plant may be a way to commemorate their child’s life.
2. Hold a memorial service.
This can be big or small. The first time I had a miscarriage we held just a short 5-minute service in our garden with our two living children where we planted some plants together, watered them together, said a prayer and took some photos of the plants.
When we had our second and third losses – both ectopic pregnancies we held a 15-minute service in our garden where we invited close friends and family to bring a flower (real or handmade) and to place it under a tree after saying a word if they wanted to.
Many chose to, others didn’t have the words, but just the presence of close family and friends expressing their kindness and warmth was healing and special.
3. Word art or figurines
Word art or small figurines can be a special way to remember your child and have something to display in your home – either in a public area or privately. There are many different options of the internet, but I liked this one (which is customizable):
I love the Willowtree figurines but their designs are limited for families of color which is frustrating. You can see the figurines they have for darker skin here, and below is a couple of angel figurines – one which is engravable (click on the image to see more about each one below):
4. Photo frame with a symbol
If you have a scan of your baby you may like to frame that, but I personally chose to take photos of flowers and frame them in memory of the first child I miscarried. You could choose anything that symbolizes your child – it may be a scene from nature – a butterfly or bird for example.
5. Release paper lanterns
I know that many people like to release balloons in memory of loved ones, but I hate the potential ecological damage those plastic balloons cause! Along the same idea, however, are ecological paper lanterns which can be safely released into the sky. This can be a great activity to do in a small group at a memorial service or as a memory a year after the loss.
Here are some colored ones and white ones:
6. Commemorative Necklaces or keyrings
I have different necklaces after different miscarriages – one that was gifted to me and others I made myself from shells from the beach. There are many different types available, but here are a couple of examples to get you started (click on each image for prices and more info – some of them are customizable):
7. Commemorative Ring
Similar to necklaces, other women prefer to have a ring to commemorate their child(ren). I recently saw this one on Instagram from a woman who has lost four babies like me and I thought it was beautiful!
Here are some other designs, (I also liked this one!) some of which can be engraved or customized:
8. Write a letter to your child
A simple but powerful way to commemorate your child can be to write a letter to him or her. It may be something you keep privately in a journal or drawer, or you might like to type it up and print and frame it (or part of it).
9. Get a Tattoo
I don’t personally have any tattoos but they are one of the top ten ways that women (and men) choose to commemorate children gone too soon. Pinterest has plenty of examples and you can check out my Pinterest board with some examples too.
10. Write a song or poem for your child
Get the creative juices flowing and write a song or poem for your child. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a professional songwriter or writer – just imagine you were singing to your baby as a mother does. Shower voices are fine! You may like to record it or write it up and frame it.
What have I missed? Are there any other ways you have found helpful to commemorate your child? Let me know in the comments.
Other links you might like: