Ask your hospital for the contact details of the Bereavement support team, if these are not provided to you.
Again, there is no right or wrong way to grieve or to feel in this most difficult time. It is important to give yourself space and the time to grieve and heal at your own pace and in your own way.
Many people find it helpful to get tokens of remembrance such as footprints, handprints, photos if possible. This can sometimes be arranged through the hospital you attend outside of Ireland.
You may wish to plant a tree or perennial flowers in the garden that will return year after year. Counselling with the right person can also be very helpful.
Whatever your way, try not to go through this alone. Reach out to those who you trust and who give the kind of support you require; whether that be through family, friends or finding others who have gone through a similar loss.
Sharing and giving voice to your emotions really can help you through – especially in the first few months following your loss.
When planning a termination for medical reasons, waiting for a miscarriage, or expecting the death of your baby, you may have the opportunity to create memories of your pregnancy or baby.
Memory making can be a source of great comfort, not just in the moment, but for the days, weeks, months and years ahead. In our experience, a tangible reminder of our babies can help us to signify their importance to us, and their place in our families.
A memory box is a box that can hold the keepsakes you have associated with your baby. If you deliver in an Irish hospital you may be given (or can request) a Memory Box donated by Irish charity Feileacáin.
If you are travelling abroad to deliver, you can contact Feileacáin for a Memory Box or prepare your own to bring with you. The Feileacáin boxes contain a little knitted blanket, two teddies (one for you and one for your baby, which you swap before burial or cremation), a hand and foot printing kit and a candle.
Not all of these suggestions will appeal to, or be possible, for every woman or family. It is important not to feel pressured to take part in any activity that distresses or upsets you.
Partners and family members should take their cue from the pregnant or grieving mother and not impose their idea of grief, memorialising or helpfulness on a person who is not receptive to it.
You may choose to undertake some of the following memory-making activities:
• Keep a journal of your pregnancy. Include anything you want. You can note important dates or your day to day feelings or experiences.
• Talk to or play music to your baby.
• Take photographs of yourself, your tummy, you and your partner, or your other children.
• You might like to visit places of significance. For example, parks or beaches. Take pictures or collect shells or pebbles to have tangible items from the pregnancy.
• If you are feeling movements, you could take note of things your baby reacts to like music or food or drinks.
Depending on how many weeks your pregnancy has progressed, how you deliver, what kind of termination you have, your or your baby’s medical condition some or all of the following might be possible.
With your baby
• Take lots of pictures of and with your baby, including other family members if possible.
• Take footprints and handprints.
• Have moulds made of your baby’s hands or feet.
• Keep a lock of your baby’s hair.
• Have a baptism, blessing or naming ceremony.
• Spend time with your baby if at all possible.
In Memory of your Baby
• Plant a tree dedicated to your baby.
• Donate or dedicate a bench to your baby.
• Donate a toy in their name to a children’s charity on their birthday and at Christmas.
• Light a candle in memory of your baby.
• Have a piece of jewellery made with their thumbprint or from their ashes.
• Write a letter to your baby, add it to a memory book and add to it as you like.
• Donate an Aching Arms bear to another bereaved family in memory of your baby.
• Get a tattoo in memory of your baby.
You can contact LMC on our helpline: 086 374 5474 or by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Significant or Difficult Dates
Some dates associated with the loss of a baby are obvious triggers and some are much less obvious.
Evidence and testimony from bereaved mothers worldwide show that acknowledgement and support on these dates yearly are as important as the initial support after the loss.
• The date of the loss itself and the anniversary every year.
• The date the baby was due and the anniversary of that date every year.
• Mother’s Day and Father’s Day.
• Christmas Day.
• The day the child was due to start school.