There are many ways to create memories of your baby.
Memory creation can be done at any time, it does not have to be before the funeral or memorial service. You may think of a memorial idea years after your baby died - it is never too late. We have listed different things that parents have done to give you ideas which you can use and build on.
Some parents may feel that if their baby has died very early in pregnancy they will not be able to create any memories but many of the ideas listed below can be used to create meaningful memories for an early pregnancy loss as well as for a loss in later pregnancy when you have had a chance to see and hold your baby.
If someone was making something special for your baby they may feel awkward about giving it to you. They may feel it will only cause you more pain so you may have to reassure them that you value the item as it was specially made for your baby.
You can always add a ribbon to the Sands Ribbon heart in memory of your baby.
Certificate of Life
Births, Deaths, Marriages Queensland now offer Early Pregnancy Loss Recognition Cerificates. Full information HERE.
Sands Queensland has created a Certificate of Life. Personalise this beautiful certificate with your baby's birth details. The Certificate is A4 size and professionally printed on 250gsm paper. Add it to your memory book or proudly display it in a frame, it is a beautiful keepsake or special gift. Purchase Certificate HERE.
Use a special symbol, sticker or rubber stamp as your baby's 'signature' on stationery such as Christmas cards. Some parents choose an animal they associate with their baby or an angel or a star.
This special symbol can then be carried through into all areas of memory creation. You may even find yourself collecting anything that you find displaying your baby's symbol.
You can decorate your own or purchase a candle that is already decorated. Some parents will light these candles on special days such as anniversaries, birthdays or Christmas.
Some parents purchase a piece of jewellery or have something made perhaps with the birthstone relevant to their baby. There are now also specialist jewellers who can make items using foot or hand prints, locks of hair, ashes, or dried flowers.
Mikah Handstamped Jewellery and Gifts make customised pieces and donates 5% of their profits to Sands Queensland.
Write the story of your pregnancy and your baby's birth. Telling your story can be an important part of your grief journey and you may like to submit your story to the Sands Queensland newsletter or blog. Other bereaved parents very often find comfort in reading the stories printed in the newsletter.
Music or poetry
Some parents have found that they are able to express themselves through writing poetry or music even if they have never written anything prior to the death of their baby. You can even get a music box made that plays a special song you had at your babys funeral.
Decorate a shirt, blanket or Teddy bear that you can wear or hold when you need to be comforted or feel close to your baby.
If you had your baby cremated you can have the ashes placed into a teddy bear that you can then cuddle.
Some parents have done a special cross-stitch or other needlework and turned them into items such as a wall hanging or prayer cushion. Make a quilt for your baby or add a block to a Sands Memorial Quilt.
Other parents sew, knit or crochet items such as clothing or blankets for the hospital where their baby was born, or Intensive Care Nursery if their baby lived for a short time. Sands Queensland has a memory bag and bereavement clothing program you can donate to if you wish. For more details got to SandsQ Butterfly.
Many parents have found scrap booking to be very therapeutic and may absorb some of the energy generated by their grief. If you don't have many photos you can always use any ultrasound pictures, a photo of your positive pregnancy test or other images you associate with your baby.
Painting, Drawing and Sculpture
Draw, paint or make sculpture with colours, textures and materials that reflect your feelings about your baby. A picture of your baby or what you think your baby might look like is a lovely thing to hang on your wall, especially if you don't have any photos. You may even like to make a special container for your baby's ashes.
Many parents have found that having a charcoal or pastel sketch of their baby is a lovely tribute. They have also found that sometimes a sketch is less confronting for other people than photos.
Sands Queensland is lucky to have bereaved father and artisit Glenn Ainsworth, who creates beautiful sketches and donates 100% of proceeds to Sands Queensland. Further information can be found at Free Spirits Portraits.
Planting a special flower or tree may have significance for your family. The flower of the month of your baby's birth may have meaning for you. If you baby died very early in pregnancy you may consider burying your baby in a large pot plant or in your garden. You may also like to send family and friends packets of flower seeds for them to plant.
Even if you don't have a green thumb you can create a memorial garden with a special bench, rocks and ornaments.
At Christmas time you might like to make or purchase a special ornament or stocking to be hung on the tree. There are many companies that do personalised ornaments, or you could have a glass or metal ornament engraved with your baby's name or initials.
It is very important to have photographs of your baby for the future. Ensure that photos are taken of all family members, of your baby being nursed, undressed, having a bath. There is also the option of asking a professional photographer to take photos for you.
Your photo album may also contain ultra sound pictures, appointment cards, nametag from the hospital, cards received, a copy of the funeral or memorial service. You may like to write about who your baby resembled, how it felt to hold your baby.
A personalised photo can be created for your baby. From sunset beach photos to Sands Queensland's own Name in the Stars, there are many options to create beautiful visual momentos.
Some parents have gained much comfort from having film of their baby. Other parents have asked friends or family to film the funeral or memorial service.
Handprints and footprints
Many hospitals do these as a matter of course but they can be done in different ink - gold for example. Once your babies hand prints and footprints have been taken you can then have them embroidered and framed.
If you have a multiple pregnancy ensure that both babies handprints and footprints are taken.
Some parents choose to have plaster casts taken of their baby's hands and feet. These can then be framed or displayed in a cabinet. If you are unsure about doing this yourself, there are a number of companies that will come out to the hospital or funeral home to take them for you.
Tiny hand prints or footprints above the heart are very popular. Other parents will have their baby's name tattooed. One mum had a butterfly tattooed on her right side where she felt her baby move the most and another had her babies footprints tattooed on her feet so they would always be walking with together.
If you had an early pregnancy loss you can have a symbol such as a butterfly or star tattooed.
Decorating your baby's grave. Some parents use balloons, windsock, toys, flowers, pinwheels and solar lights. If you are unsure about leaving precious gifts at your babies graveside you can take a photo of it on the grave but take the gift home to display with the framed photo.
Please make sure to check with your cemetery as some have restrictions as to the number or size of items allowed.