You may want to keep a memory box to keep items that remind you of someone who died. You can use them after anyone’s death, and the act of gathering the keepsakes may help you with the myriad emotions that show up in grief.
This article will give you ideas on what to put in a memory box for those who have lost a child to miscarriage or stillbirth.
If you recently lost a child, we would like to offer our sincerest sympathies for your devastating loss. Here are some items you may want to gather for this very special stillbirth or miscarriage memory box.
1. Sonogram Picture
A sonogram picture is usually the first image you have of your child. Depending on when the sonogram was completed, the baby may not have looked any larger than a bean.
Regardless of how developed your child was in this first picture, looking at it will help you remember how excited you were to see proof of the promise of new life.
2. List of Baby Names
Like any expectant parent, you probably had a list of baby names you put together. Looking back at the names may bring back happy memories of when you and your partner negotiated to come up with the right one. You may even have the name that you ultimately decided on circled on the list.
If this list brings comfort to you or puts a smile on your face, put it in the memory box.
3. Lock of Hair
Some families ask for a lock of hair from their stillborn child. If you have a tiny curl of hair in a small plastic bag, consider placing it in the memory box.
4. Maternity Photos
If you and your partner took maternity photos, place one in the memory box. Seeing the images now may cause you pain, but you don’t know how you’ll feel years from now.
This is not to imply that you will be “over” your grief for your lost child, but seeing the photographs later in life may cause you to look at the situation from a different perspective.
5. Baby Shower Cards
Did you receive gifts from friends and family when you announced your pregnancy? They may have showered you with gifts at parties hosted by those close to you.
Place the cards you received at the baby shower in your memory box to remind you of all the support and love you’ve received.
6. Photo of the Nursery
Even though you may have disassembled the space when the baby did not survive, you may want to keep a photo record of the nursery you lovingly created for your child.
Some women keep written records of their pregnancy experience. If you enjoyed this process, you might receive some solace from writing about the death of your child as well. Writing about your feelings is one way to cope when you experience a lost pregnancy.
Your emotions are raw, but writing them down may not only help you as you process them. You could also share your thoughts with other parents who have gone through the same type of loss. You may not feel like you are at the point where you can help others, but perhaps you will be able to someday.
8. Sympathy Cards
If you received any sympathy cards for the loss of your child, you might want to place them in your memory box. These cards can act as reminders of the people you can turn to when you need support.
It’s a great way to focus on the fact that people cared enough about you to send a condolence message.
9. Handprint or Footprint
Some parents ask for the handprint or footprint of their stillborn child. Some nurses may give you these items without you asking.
You can use the prints to create personalized fingerprint jewelry or display the prints next to a photo of your child.
You may appreciate having photos of you with your child as you grieve. Even though some people wouldn’t consider having pictures taken at the worst moment of their lives, they may end up cherishing the photos eventually.
11. Hospital Identification Bracelets
If your child was given an ID bracelet at the hospital, you might want to keep that in the memory box.
12. Funeral Program
If you had a funeral service for your child, you might want to include the funeral program or prayer cards in your memory box. Don’t forget to slip in a copy of your child’s obituary.
Even if you did not have a formal obituary printed in the paper or on a funeral home website, you might consider creating one yourself as a grief writing exercise.
13. Verses That Give You Comfort
If your spiritual life is important to you, write down the verses that bring you messages of comfort or hope.
In addition to tucking these inside your memory box, you may also want to hang them on your bathroom mirror or your bedroom door. Seeing them often will be a constant reminder of your faith in everlasting life.
Hospitals sometimes dress stillborn babies in a newborn hat from the hospital. Ask the nurse on duty if you can keep the item and place it in your memory box.
15. Swaddling Blanket
Similar to the hat, most infants are wrapped in a swaddling blanket soon after birth. Keep this comfort item as a loving tribute to your child’s short life.
16. Poems or Quotes
You can find many poems and quotes written by people who have suffered a loss similar to yours. Print out the ones that speak to you and put them in your memory box.
17. Rubber Cause Bracelet
Rubber cause bracelets are those made to draw attention to a specific condition or illness.
The infant loss bracelets are usually pink, blue, and white. You may want to wear one of the bracelets to show others that you’ve suffered a loss but you may also put an additional bracelet in your memory box.
18. Tags from a Miscarriage Memorial Item
Did you purchase or make a memorial item to commemorate your child’s life? This product may have come with keepsake items that you could tuck away in your memory box.
19. Stuffed Animal
You may have purchased a stuffed animal in anticipation of your child’s birth or been given a stuffed animal or figurine from someone intending to provide comfort after your loss. Put the stuffed animal in your memory box.
20. Pressed Flowers
Did you receive any sympathy bouquets after losing your child? Press a couple of the buds to place in the memory box.
You may want to protect the other items from becoming damaged by the flower by putting it in a plastic bag.
21. Newborn Clothing
You may have had a special outfit picked out for your newborn to wear home. Place the tiny clothes in your memory box, as well as a tiny diaper.
22. Grief Books
You can find a number of books about grief written by mental health professionals, social workers, grief experts, ministers, and other grieving parents. Ask others what books were most helpful to them and read online reviews.
While your grief book may continuously be at your fingertips at first, you may decide to place the text in your memory box eventually. This way, it will still be at hand as you look at each keepsake.
23. Booties, Socks, or Shoes
Remember the size of your stillbirth baby by keeping a pair of booties or socks.
24. Personalized Items
Did you buy personalized items before the birth of your child? Maybe you bought some personalized memorial items after their death. Place the baby’s silver rattle, teddy bear, hat, or other items in your memory box.
25. Your Pregnancy Loss Announcement
How did you tell others about the loss of your child? Perhaps you announced it to your friends on social media.
Consider printing out your carefully crafted message and the responses you received.
Don’t Hesitate to Ask for Help
Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise — what you have gone through is a traumatic event. You may experience a wide variety of emotions that come with grief, and all on a timeline unique to you.
Contact a social worker at your local hospital, your religious leader, or online support groups if you need it. Don’t forget to share your feelings with your doctor.
Creating a memory box may be a painful process. Be gentle with yourself and reach out to those who can offer you support.