Remembering your baby after a stillbirth

For many people, the loss of a baby leaves them feeling shocked, isolated and empty.

With so little to remember their baby by, it can be difficult to know how to commemorate the huge loss, of both their baby and the future that might have been.

Whilst the grieving process often begins as private and intimate, some then choose to honour their baby’s short life with a tribute page, in which donations are given to a charity of choice. This allows friends and family to show their support through messages and donations, and provides a channel through which to turn grief into something positive. You can support Tommy's stillbirth research through an In memory page and the donations help fund our research to prevent pregnancy loss. A lot of mums and dads also choose to ask for donations to Tommy’s at their baby’s funeral if one is held, instead of flowers.

How some have chosen to remember their baby

Below are some suggestions of other things that you can do to help create special memories:

  • Keep letters and cards.
  • You may wish to press the flowers you receive.
  • Many families find it helpful to write about their experiences. Try writing a diary or a letter to your baby.
  • If you have lost your baby during or after the birth, the first few days are crucial for gathering moments and memories. Spend as much time with your baby as you want. You can often visit your baby after leaving hospital. Some families may wish to take their baby home with them for a day or so.
  • It is natural to spend time talking, touching, cuddling and comforting your baby.Being together as a family is often very important. You may want to include other family members or close friends.
  • You can dress, wash or undress your baby as you wish. Some mothers wish they had undressed their babies to look at their bodies. You may like to keep the clothes your baby wore. Take as many photographs as you wish. You may like some photographs of the baby being cuddled by you and different family members. Don’t be afraid of taking close up shots.
  • Take a lock, or several, of your baby’s hair. The hospital will also make hand, foot and ear prints if you wish. Keep hospital nametags and other items and keep them in a special memory box.

You may not feel like doing any of the above so soon after you have experienced your loss, this is completely natural. But we have found that many mums and dads often come to regret this decision once they have had more time to start coming to terms with what has happened. We suggest not throwing things away immediately; it is never too late to start creating memories

Holding a ceremony

You may choose to have a funeral, ceremony or memorial service for your baby. You could have it just for you and your partner, or ask close friends and family.

You might want to attend a remembrance service. Ask your hospital chaplain if the hospital holds a service for babies who have died there.

‘Saying Goodbye’ services are held at cathedrals across the UK, the USA and Canada for people who have lost a child at any stage of pregnancy, at birth, or in infancy, whether recently or in the past. Here is a full list of Saying Goodbye's 2017 remembrance services:

The 2017 services are:

Saturday April 8th – Exeter Cathedral – 1.30pm

Saturday April 29th – Plymouth Minster – 4.00pm

Saturday May 13th – Winchester Cathedral – 10.30am

Saturday May 20th – Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford – 7.30pm

Sunday May 28th – St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast – 3.30pm

Saturday July 1st – Tewkesbury Abbey, Tewkesbury – 6.00pm

Saturday July 8th – Manchester Cathedral – 2.30pm

Saturday July 15th – Derby Cathedral – 3.00pm

Sunday July 23rd – Wimborne Minster – 3.00pm

Saturday Sep 9th – Malmesbury Abbey – 3.30pm

Sunday Sep 24th – Sunderland Minster – 3.00pm

Wednesday Sep 27th – St Andrew’s Cathedral, Inverness – 7.30pm

Saturday Sep 30th – Glasgow Cathedral – 11.00am

Sunday Oct 8th – Lincoln Cathedral – 2.00pm

Sunday Oct 15th – Chelmsford Cathedral – 6.00pm

Sunday Oct 29th – Bradford Cathedral – 4.00pm

Sunday Nov 19th – Ely Cathedral – 6.30pm

Sunday Nov 26th – Westminster Central Hall – 3.30pm

Find out more.

Creating an In memory page

We hope that by offering our in-memory tribute page service, we can in some way aid this process. You can also take comfort in knowing that all donations received through tribute pages come directly to us, and are put towards our research projects. So, any donations you raise help us to find out why babies are lost during pregnancy and birth, and stop others’ experiencing the loss you have felt.

If you have any questions about setting up a tribute page, or have any problems whilst doing so, please contact us at community@tommys.org or call on 020 7398 3400.

Create an in-memory page

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Comments

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 16 Feb 2017 - 13:16

    On February 15, 2000 I lost my precious little girl. She was 17 weeks old. I still can't cope with her loss. On that dreadful day everything was happening so fast we didn't know what to do. I was so distraught that when they asked if I wanted to see her I said " No" and I can't get passed this. I regret it everyday. I don't know why I did that maybe I was scared. I didn't want my last memory to be seeing her deceased. I wish I did get that chance to hold her and tell her how much we loved her. I just don't know how to move on.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 17 Feb 2017 - 10:56

    I am so sorry to hear of the loss of your little girl, I cannot imagine how you are feeling or what you have been through. It sounds like it is important to be able to get some support into place for you. If you would like to, you can email us in confidence we can explore what support you have had already and anything else that may help you. Our email is midwife@tommys.org. Take care x

  • By Anonymous (not verified) on 14 Oct 2016 - 15:15

    Very good and sensitively written.

    I feel in the support section; we have felt it really supportive when others have used our baby's name, they are acknowledging him and that's respectful and comforting.

    More info needs to be available for employers; I was bullied into returning to work and it's been a horrendous; nobody at work knows what to say and have felt it easier just to avoid me.

    The information you have provided is brilliant and covers all topics, however I feel the timing of the delivery of this information is crucial; we found out during a scan our baby's heart had stop, we had a doctor talk to us about what happens next then past loads of booklets regarding stillborn; this was just too much, to this day we have not looked at the information; not only is written information important when it's offered is crucially important.
    Good work Tommys team.

  • By Midwife @Tommys on 14 Oct 2016 - 16:20

    Hi Natasha, We are so sorry to hear about you losing your little boy Thomas and that you had a horrendous time with little support from your work. Absolutely it can be very overwhelming you get so much information straight away and timing is so important. Thank you very much for your feedback and please know we are here if you ever need to chat 0800 0147 800

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