Memorial ideas for honoring your baby’s life after miscarriage, stillbirth, or other forms of pregnancy loss
After losing a child to miscarriage or stillbirth, many parents find it helpful in their grieving process to do something deliberate to honor their baby. Some choose to commemorate their baby at the time of miscarriage (or soon after) while others choose to honor their baby in ongoing ways through yearly rituals. Still others choose not to do anything formal at all. There is no right or wrong to this—do what feels right to you personally.
There are as many ways to commemorate a baby’s life as there are parents who lose them. In section one are a few of the most popular suggestions, and in section two I will list additional ideas based on responses I received from hundreds of men and women who responded to the survey I took called Miscarriage and Faith Survey in preparation for writing my book, Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss.
Please note: For additional resources and support after pregnancy loss, please see my ever-growing miscarriage, loss, and grief resource page or my book, Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss.
How to remember your baby after miscarriage:
1. Name your baby.
2. Choose a symbol that represents your baby, so that every time you see it, you’ll have a sweet reminder of them (such as a sparrow, butterfly, or rose).
3. Buy or make a piece of jewelry that includes your baby’s birthstone or is engraved with your baby’s birthday or name.
4. Release butterflies, floating lanterns, or balloons with messages of remembrance or goodbye attached.
5. Plant a tree or flowers. Consider finding something that will likely bloom at a special time each year (such as the baby’s birthday or Mother’s Day).
6. Invite your family or small circle of friends for a memorial service at a place that has significance for you.
7. Commemorate your baby with a garden stone or small garden statue that has meaning to you. (Bury the remains of your baby, if you are able to.)
8. Buy a wind chime that will remind you of your baby every time you hear the wind blow through.
9. Get a tattoo with a symbol that holds special meaning. (Popular ideas include your baby’s name, due date, a special flower such as forget-me-nots, or butterflies.)
10. Frame an ultrasound photo or a photo of your baby bump to display with other family photos.
11. Participate in a walk of remembrance in honor of your baby.
12. Donate in your baby’s name to the March of Dimes, SIDS research, a children’s hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, the World Health Organization, the Love A Mama Collective, Every Mother Counts, a pregnancy loss support group such as Hope Mommies, or another organization or charity.
13. Create something: Compose a song, write a poem, create artwork, write a prayer, share a blog post or social media tribute, knit a blanket, or embroider a keepsake.
14. Make a memory box to store ultrasound photos, sympathy cards, a hospital band, or any other small items that hold special meaning.
15. Buy a Christmas ornament representing your child that you can bring out each year and add to your family Christmas tree.
16. Choose a date to commemorate each year and do something special to remember your baby, either privately or with your family or friends.
17. Write a letter to your baby each year on their birthday, perhaps in a journal.
18. Light a candle and take some personal time to reflect on other “marker” dates such as your due date, Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day (October 15), Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so forth.
Reader-submitted ideas for remembering your baby lost to miscarriage and other forms of pregnancy loss:
Question: Are there any special ways you commemorated the life of your baby or remember them now?
“I have a ring for each baby we lost, which I always wear on my right finger.”
“We bought a small plant and planted it next to a stream. With my second, we bought a flowered plant and took our toddler down to another stream and plucked the petals off and tossed them in the stream as a farewell.”
“I made a memory box for each baby and light candles on Pregnancy Loss Awareness day (October 15).”
“I asked an artist friend to paint a picture for me in remembrance. It’s a picture of Jesus holding a baby and has the words, ‘He carries me’ on it.”
“I have a small teddy bear that we always somehow hold in family photos to remember the little one who should have been pictured with us.”
“I commemorate quietly alone every year.”
“My husband gave me a necklace on Mother’s Day with our baby’s birthstone and I have him a watch with her name engraved on it for Father’s Day.”
“I have a tattoo with each element of the tattoo representing each baby I’ve lost.”
“We attend a yearly memorial service at a Catholic hospital. I also bring flowers to the hospital on Father’s Day for dads what have lost a baby and I mail angel ornaments to families who have lost at Christmas.”
”I have a private memory garden that no one else knows about.”
“We planted a magnolia tree. They are strong and hardy and bloom every year so it seemed fitting to remember our baby with.”
“I bake birthday cakes on each of their due dates.”
“We do a family fun day every year on his due date so we can celebrate like we would if he was alive.”
“We bought a lamppost at a family camp we attend and each year we take a family photo by it.”
“After six months my husband and I decided to name our baby and write our baby a card. We also had a little goodbye ceremony and this really helped us both to move forward.”
“I was able to save the baby and we took him home to be buried in the yard where we then planted flowers around it.”
“We planted a white rosebush on Mother’s Day.”
“I have a blanket that I bought for her at the county fair and some nights when it feels especially rough I sleep with it.”
“I let go of the pressure to feel like I had to do something special to honor them. Now I remember them and celebrate them every time I thank God for my children that I mother on earth.”
“I’ve marked the day on my calendar and my husband and I quietly remember them each year.”
“We donate Christmas gifts to an angel tree every year in remembrance of our babies.”
“We attend a Walk to Remember each October.”
“When someone asks me how many children I have, I always include the full number of children—in my home and in heaven.”
“I applied for a certificate from Births, Deaths, and Marriages for each of my babies with the names we were going to call them.”
“We built a water well in Uganda.”
“After my second miscarriage we had our priest come to our house and do the Catholic ceremony for parents who have lost an unborn child. It was beautiful.We now remember them on their heaven days and ask them for their prayers.”
“I joined an organization called Hope Mommies so I can reach out to other moms who have lost babies and help them in their grief.”
Question for you:
Have you commemorated your unborn baby somehow? Is so, please share in the comments below.
Please note: The first 18 suggestions appear in the appendix of Grace Like Scarlett: Grieving with Hope after Miscarriage and Loss. (Shared with permission from Baker Publishing Group.) The other suggestions were mined from a survey I conducted in 2016 titled Miscarriage and Faith Survey, which I posted to facebook and garnered 756 responses within a 24 hour period.