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I've been continuously asked over the years by friends and family of grieving moms ideas on what to give in honor of their babies. I have put together a list of Remembrance Ideas offered by the women of the many support lists here at Honored Babies. I will continuously add to it; please send any ideas that you have - or web sites or companies to add to current ideas - to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Note: I have used baby singularly although I realize that many women experience the death of more than one baby.
Always the best thing you can do is to give of yourself. Be supportive and truly "be there." Some specific things you can do are:
Write a Poem ~ it doesn't matter if you think you're a writer or not, just write what you feel and share. Frame it if you'd like and share at baby's Memorial or Funeral if you'd like (and if acceptable for parents).
Send a Card or Letter ~ After the memorial service or funeral and after the initial flow of cards stop coming, a "thinking of you" note is always appreciated.
Choose from the many collections available depicting babies (i.e., Snowbaby, Precious Moments) or add to a collection that the parents or siblings already collect: music box, angels, teddy bears, etc. Monogram with baby's name and birth/death dates as appropriate. Another idea is a blanket throw with baby's name and dates monogrammed onto it.
Charm Bracelet ~ This is a great gift for mom (and grandma!). Give a charm bracelet and share with others that you have done so. It gives your friends and family an endless supply of love tokens to buy you. Giving charms to add to the bracelet would make for a special remembrance on baby's anniversaries, special holidays, or just because you're thinking of them.
La Belle Dame : Handmade Artisan sterling jewelry specializing in jewelry for miscarriage, infant loss, fertility, pregnancy, birth and baby.
Lockets or Pendants ~ Lockets and pendants are not only beautiful, but they can be passed on to other family members. You may opt also to have baby's name engraved on the back. If a locket has a place for a photograph or two, baby's picture and/or a family photograph would be a thoughtful addition.
Ashes/Hair Pendant/Locket ~ This locket can hold either ashes or a lock of hair. One place you may take a look at this type of pendant is at The Urn Store.
Mother/Child Necklace Pendants ~ If you can find one with baby's birthstone, that would be especially nice.
"MOM" Jewelry ~ Many women whose babies have died and who have no living children feel they are left out of being "mom," and any jewelry with "MOM" written on it lets them know that you know that they are indeed mothers.
Baby Ring ~ for baby. Baby can be buried in the ring or mom can keep the ring.
Baby themed frames or book-type frames make a wonderful gift so that families can view their baby's photo any time they'd like. Please make sure that mom actually does have photographs though.
A Memory Box can be any size, and should be large enough to hold sympathy/thinking of you cards, photographs, medical records, and a few mementoes. You can make one yourself or buy a "hat box," which are popular items now, often used to store photographs and other memory items.
Angels can be found almost anywhere now: picture frames, boxes, cards, jewelry, magnets, sculptures (for gardens/grave sites)... Be creative if you'd like or share one that touches your heart.
Sculpture Web Sites ~ What's in Bloom
PLAQUES & ORNAMENTS
You can have a plaque engraved and mounted for hanging. Engraving can be baby's name and special dates, footprints, handprints, etc.
There are so many charities you can donate to in honor of baby. Give to a charity or organization that is special to either you or to the family.
Plant a tree at your home, baby's parents (ask them first, of course), or plant one in their community in honor of their baby. Send tree seedlings to mom & dad (siblings can be included in the planting if parents so choose).
A gift basket can contain really about anything you'd like:
Food ~ Toiletries (lotions, bath potions) ~ Books ~ A Journal (and pen!) ~ A Special Gift ~ Jewelry ~ Plant Seeds ~ Movie Tickets ~ Gift Certificates ~ A Letter You Wrote...
The list is almost endless for what a mom and family may need during the first months while taking one minute at a time. It's hard to think about doing anything, much less doing some of the things that have to be done. Money is often tight for a family after a death, so pre-paid services are very welcome. Here are some ideas:
Movie theater, restaurants (take out, especially), home cleaning service, book store, tax accountant (if baby died near tax time), _____.
Although many may feel this is an inappropriate gift, baby's deaths are not covered by life insurance policies in most cases (babies must live for a specific amount of time, usually longer than 10 days). Families may have to cover the expenses a memorial service (and religious officials), funeral, grave, casket/urn, headstone, and other burial costs. Most funeral homes do provide free burial plots/graves and discount memorial services, but not all do, and not all cover the other expenses.
Food is important when grieving although it's not a high priority during those first few weeks to months. Anything that can be frozen and easily reheated in a microwave or the oven is especially nice. Be sure to use containers you may not get back (forgetfulness is common among parents who are grieving).
If the parents have living children, snack bags filled with nutritious foods (i.e., grapes) and other lunch items (i.e., juice boxes, lunch meat, fresh veggies) are very helpful. Be sure to be respectful of known allergies as many children especially have allergies to red dye, dairy... Caffeine and artificial sweetners should be avoided - for all involved.
Gift Certificates to local eateries are nice - along with a "to go menu" so that the parents can call in an order and pick it up with ease. This is especially nice since money can sometimes be tight after a death.
I'd like to thank the mothers, grandmothers, friends, and family who contributed to these ideas. I know that many who come here will be helped by your suggestions. ~Paula
Honored Babies supports women whose babies have died, no matter the cause:
miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, pregnancy termination (abortion)
stillbirth, neonatal death, and/or infant death
learn more about the book Honored Babies... learning to live with a broken heart, purchase your copy, submit your story for future volumes, and learn more about Honored Babies Press and its upcoming publications
Add a link for Honored Babies onto your site
I've chosen to partner with the companies below because they offer products appropriate to families grieving the death of their babies. I hope you find something that will help you (or your friend/family member) further memorialize your babies.
Remember baby with personalized jewelry.
Turn your baby's photo into canvas art.
Jewelry, music, movies, more. Gifts for the entire family during this difficult time.
Take care of her grieving body.