Making Memories

Don’t feel that you have to do something to mark your loss.  You may feel it will make things worse or it may just not feel right for you right now.  There are no right or wrong ways to deal with pregnancy loss.

If and when you do feel like making memories, you can revisit this page and consider the various options we have put together to help you remember your baby.

For Under 24 Weeks

Naming Your Baby

Some parents decide to give their baby a name, as this gives them their own identity and can make it easy to talk about them. Some parents use a nickname they may have chosen during their pregnancy. You do not have to name your baby if this does not feel right for you.

Funeral Options

When a baby is born before the 24th week of pregnancy and shows no signs of life, there is no legal requirement to have a funeral. 

However, there are 3 options that you can decide between to honour your baby: 

Communal Funeral

Please be rest assured that your baby will be looked after and that the communal funeral or cremation is carried out in a dignified and respectful manner. What is offered will be dependent on where you are. Do speak to your healthcare team. 

Arranging burial or cremation via a funeral director  

It is possible to arrange an individual burial or cremation for a pregnancy loss at any stage of pregnancy – if you wish to do this you will need to appoint a local funeral director.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Taking baby home from the hospital

You can take your baby home with you to bury in a planter with flowers or a plant in the garden; this is a personal choice and there are no regulations to prevent you doing whatever feels right for you. 

If you decide to do this, there are certain requirements that need to be met. It is advisable to think carefully about what you will do with your baby and consider any associated restrictions which might exist, for example in relation to burial on a home property. For further guidance please visit fdean.gov.uk. 

Pregnancy Loss Certificates

If your pregnancy ends before 24 weeks, you can get a certificate in memory of your baby. It’s free to get a certificate. Please access this link to request this.

Memory Boxes

Your nurse/ midwife should offer you a memory box, if you have not been given one, please ask the staff looking after you. The box is a special place for keepsakes to remember your baby and pregnancy. This could include a scan picture, where possible, photographs, hand and foot prints, or any cards that you might receive. For babies born very early it may not always be possible to take hand and foot prints but you may still like to have a box for other memories. A memory box can help you acknowledge your grief and talk about your pregnancy/ baby with family and friends.

Held In Our Hearts Notelets

Beautiful notelet cards developed by Loughborough University, which are writing prompts to record memories and thoughts about your baby.

On-going keepsakes

In addition to the keepsakes you collect from your pregnancy or soon after you baby is born, there may be other things that form valuable keepsakes in the future. Among these things could include poems, letters, emails, cards and jewellery. Write a letter or poem for your baby and perhaps keep it in a memory box. Make a donation to a favourite charity or do some fundraising. Plant flowers, a shrub or tree in your garden or in a local garden of remembrance.

Attending events 

Attending remembrance events can be a meaningful way of honouring your baby’s memory alongside other bereaved families and a helpful part of your grief journey. Sharing this time with other families might help you feel less isolated in your grief. Ask your local hospital for any events that may be being held.

Baby Loss Awareness Week

Break the silence around baby loss between 9-15th October. BLAW ends with the International Wave Of Light at 7pm on the 15th October for parents, families and friends to remember all babies gone too soon at the same time as others across the world by lighting candles and sharing their lit candles on social media. Your local Trust will be hosting events if you want to do something with them. Visit the official website here.

Black Baby Loss Awareness Week

Created by Alicia Burnett, midwife and bereaved mother, to raise awareness of the support available for Black families after pregnancy and baby loss. The week is held the 3rd week in May. More can be found by accessing the Instagram page.

Carry Their Names Campaign

A heartfelt initiative created by MAMA Academy to remember all of our precious babies that are no longer with us. From the 15th July – 15th October, we carry our children’s names with us, on our summer adventures, taking them where they never got to go. More information can be found on our Carry Their Names webpage

MAMA Academy Awards

Say thank you to the healthcare professionals who cared for you after the loss of your baby by nominating them for a MAMA Academy Award. The Awards take place every November to acknowledge the remarkable work of our NHS heroes. Please visit our webpage here.

For Over 24 Weeks

Naming Your Baby

Some parents decide to give their baby a name, as this gives them their own identity and can make it easy to talk about them. Some parents use a nickname they may have chosen during their pregnancy. You do not have to name your baby if this does not feel right for you.

Seeing And Holding Your Baby

Once your baby is born, you may begin to think about the choices you want to make, for example, you can think about whether you want to see and hold your baby. You might have already started thinking about these decisions in the time before you delivered. Your nurse or midwife will support you with this. If you are not sure about seeing your baby or anxious about how your baby will look you could ask your nurse or midwife to show you a photograph or ask them to describe your baby to you. If you would like to see your baby and this is not suggested, please ask the staff caring for you.

Photographs

Your nurse or midwife will usually offer to take photos of your baby. You can also take your own photographs of your baby. Some parents like to have photographs of their baby’s hands and feet, others may also wish to have a photo of them holding their baby. Should you agree to photographs being taken but you do not wish to look at the photos, you can request for them to be given to you in a sealed envelope. You can then look at them at a later date if you wish, or you can give them to family members or friends. If you do not wish for photographs to be taken, then please inform the nurse / midwife caring for you.

Handprints/ Footprints

For babies born very early it may not always be possible to take hand and footprints. When possible, your nurse or midwife will offer and if accepted will try to take ink prints of your baby’s hands and feet. You may choose to incorporate the prints into images, tattoos, and jewellery. You may want a few sets of these prints to give to family members who are not able to meet your baby.

Dressing Your Baby

You may want to dress your baby, or you could ask your nurse or midwife to assist you with this. We have suitable clothing, wraps, blankets and angel pouches for all gestations and your nurse / midwife can support you with your choices. If your baby’s condition makes dressing them difficult, you may want to wrap them in a blanket or something similar.

Blessing

A short blessing or naming ceremony can be arranged with the hospital’s on call chaplaincy team who would usually provide this service. Ask your nurse or midwife to make contact with the chaplaincy team. If the chaplaincy team are not available another staff member at the hospital can conduct a blessing on their behalf – your nurse or midwife will support you with this. You may wish  to record or stream this for family and friends to watch.

Memory Boxes

Your nurse / midwife should offer you a memory box, if you have not been given one, please ask the staff looking after you. The box is a special place for keepsakes to remember your baby and pregnancy. This could include a scan picture, where possible, photographs, hand and foot prints, or any cards that you might receive. For babies born very early it may not always be possible to take hand and foot prints but you may still like to have a box for other memories. A memory box can help you acknowledge your grief and talk about your pregnancy / baby with family and friends.

Held In Our Hearts Notelets

Beautiful notelet cards developed by Loughborough University, which are writing prompts to record memories and thoughts about your baby.

Memorial Book

Some Trusts will have a memorial book where you can add your baby’s name. Speak to your midwife or nurse to see if this is something you can have access to. 

In Scotland there is an online memorial book you can add your baby’s name to, from any time the loss may have happened.

Memorial Garden

Some Trusts will have a memorial garden where you can visit and some have the ability to add your baby’s name.

On-going Keepsakes

In addition to the keepsakes, you collect from your pregnancy or soon after you baby is born, there may be other things that form valuable keepsakes in the future. Among these things could include poems, letters, emails, cards and jewellery. 

Aching Arm Bears

The Aching Arms Bears – a tangible comfort during a heart-breaking time. Many parents who have experienced the loss of a baby during pregnancy, at birth or shortly afterwards, find comfort in receiving the gift of an Aching Arms Bear. Each beautiful bear wears a personalised, handwritten label with the name of the baby in whose memory the bear was dedicated.

Attending Events

Attending remembrance events can be a meaningful way of honouring your baby’s memory alongside other bereaved families and a helpful part of your grief journey. Sharing this time with other families might help you feel less isolated in your grief.

Baby Loss Awareness Week

Break the silence around baby loss between 9-15th October. BLAW ends with the International Wave Of Light at 7pm on the 15th October for parents, families and friends to remember all babies gone too soon at the same time as others across the world by lighting candles and sharing their lit candles on social media. Your local Trust will be hosting events if you want to do something with them. Visit the official website here.

Black Baby Loss Awareness Week

Created by Alicia Burnett, midwife and bereaved mother, to raise awareness of the support available for Black families after pregnancy and baby loss. The week is held the 3rd week in May. More can be found by accessing the Instagram page.

Carry Their Names

A heartfelt initiative created by MAMA Academy to remember all of our precious babies that are no longer with us. From the 15th July – 15th October, we carry our children’s names with us, on our summer adventures, taking them where they never got to go. More information can be found on our Carry Their Names webpage

MAMA Academy Awards

Say thank you to the healthcare professionals who cared for you after the loss of your baby by nominating them for a MAMA Academy Award. The Awards take place every November to acknowledge the remarkable work of our NHS heroes. Please visit our webpage here.