Creating Memories when your child has or will die


Many parents keep souvenirs of their children growing up, and most children love looking at these, whether they are of themselves or their siblings.

Memories last a lifetime and they will be a source of joy for your other children.

Keeping tangible reminders of your beloved baby will help you to keep a small part of them with you and other family members.

In this chapter, ways to reinforce memories of your special-needs baby will be explained; some will be easy, others will need planning. Everyone is really encouraged to try to create as many reminders as possible. This applies to babies born after termination too. Your baby is precious whether you decided to terminate or to continue your pregnancy. In the event that your child was induced, you may still ask your midwife to take photos and may be able to see or hold your baby.

  • Pictures: Take lots – it’s better have too many than too few. Asking someone else to be ‘in charge’ of the photos is a great idea. Then you will not miss out on precious time. I would advise taking photos of the pregnancy, the birth, the child in special nursery and the funeral, as well as anything you feel is relevant or could bring you peace one day.

  • Home video: Having a tape of your baby is wonderful. It is different from photos and will bring you as much joy but in a different way. Once again, asking someone else to be in charge may be a good idea.

  • Keep pregnancy reminders: From the hospital details, appointment cards, pregnancy test, ultrasound pictures, tummy pictures, train or parking tickets to the hospital samples.

  • Keep birth reminders: Birth and/ or death certificates, clothes the baby wore, a lock of hair, umbilical cord clamp, nail clippings, blanket, items bought for the baby, headlines or television programme of the day, as well as details about the birth.

  • Keep funeral reminders: Funeral plan, invoices, legal documents, the funeral ceremony programme, pictures drawn by your other children or nieces and nephews for your baby, all cards received, pressed flowers, a duplicate name–plate (casket), a copy of the music for the service, a list of what you placed in the casket, a list of the people who attended.

  • Hand and foot prints: Many professionals do prints on babies including babies who have died. Some funeral directors do plaster hand- and footprints for a small fee or you can buy your own kit from some shops. Great places to start include Target, K-mart (Australia), Wal-Mart and target (USA), and Marks and Spencer or Abound (UK).

  • A professional hand-drawn portrait: It will be such a happy memory to display in your home; it can be done either face-to-face or from a photo. (Contact your local child and pregnancy loss support group or Rachel www.portrait-of-an-angel.com).

  • A picture of the sunrise and/or sunset on your child’s special day: an original photo taken on the day your child was born, died or had a birthday will always represent that special moment. Contact a freelance photographer in your area or look in the yellow pages for a name and number.

  • A diary: and/or a spiritual album with poems, quotes, special photos and so on.

  • A meaningful piece of jewellery:It may be very helpful to have a piece of jewellery that you can halve or separate, such as a set of earrings or a pendant, with one piece being kept by the mother and the other by the child.

  • A custom hand made Christening or burial gown for your baby such as Dana's unique gowns www.uniquechristeninggowns.com .



“We wanted to create as many memories as possible with our daughter. We had my younger sister there to videotape the birth so that we could go back and relive every single moment of her precious life. This is one of my most cherished possessions. We also had many people taking pictures. We had approximately three rolls of film and a lot of digital camera cards full. I also bought a foot/handprint moulding kit so that I could have her precious feet in my hands for ever. I also created a scrapbook in her memory. It’s filled with all of her pictures and beautiful sayings and poems. Last but not least, I have joined a memory boxpainting program.We create boxes for families who lose their babies in hospital.”




“When Lana was born we did take pictures of her; to this day, it is lovely to visualise her before the operation while she could still move her legs.”



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The PDS Australia website, its content and any services offered to anyone are provided for informational purposes only. None of the foregoing is a substitute for professional medical advice, examination, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a Doctor or Mental Health Clinician  or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding pregnancy or grief and loss issues. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on the PDS Australia Site.