October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. If you've suffered a loss, what can you do to remember your baby?
In 1988, President Ronald Reagan designated the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month — a month of remembrance for pregnancy loss and infant death, including (but not limited to) miscarriage, stillbirth, newborn death or SIDS. Bereaved parents all have different ways of coping and grieving, and they all have unique ways of remembering their little ones. Here are a few ways moms have remembered their babies.
Some moms cherish physical reminders of their pregnancy or baby — a sonogram photo, a hospital bracelet or even a positive pregnancy test if a loss happened early on in a pregnancy. If a baby is stillborn, or dies after birth, some parents take comfort in having their photos taken by a volunteer photographer from the Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep organization. Another way to keep a physical reminder close to your heart is by getting a memorial tattoo, for example, or creating a piece of art or jewelry in the baby’s honor. “I got a ring engraved with the name we intended for the baby,” said Kelly from Missouri.
Mallory, from California, has kept her son in her life in these and other ways. “Losing my baby Robert was by far the hardest day of my life,” she remembered. “It's really hard to deal with, still to this day. I finally got my memorial tattoo about a year ago and it has helped me so much knowing he is close to my heart. He was cremated and placed in an urn heart with his name on it. I have a glass box with a teddy bear in it holding the urn, and his receiving blanket and hat are also in there. Every year my kids and I celebrate his birthday. We just celebrated his fifth birthday yesterday.”
Other moms have kept their child’s memory alive in other ways. DaNita’s son Logan passed away during his birth, and she feels his presence everywhere. “He is with me all day, every day,” she told us. “He was mine and only mine. It's a struggle, making sense of it, finding a place to tuck away the hurt and anger that comes along with it. He taught me one very valuable lesson though. Love with all you have today because tomorrow may never come. I have what I call ‘bad Logan days.’ On these days, I feel the loss stronger and sharper... I miss what I was supposed to do… hold and care for my child.”
Other moms remember their babies by talking about them with their family — especially siblings who might not have been able to know their brother or sister. “I lost two pregnancies before I got pregnant with my son,” Dawn from California explained. “I've never not talked about it, as that was my coping mechanism. I talk about those lost babies with my children all the time. They know they have two siblings that have passed on.”
When your pregnancy test turns positive, it leads to a whirlwind of thoughts, dreams, plans and hopes. No matter how far along you were in your pregnancy, you deserve the right to grieve, and to keep a special place in your heart for your little one who is no longer with you.
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