Say goodbye to your baby in a way that feels right and meaningful for you. There are many decisions you have to make at this time. You may feel like you want others to make these decisions for you. However, this is one of the few opportunities you have to parent your baby. The lasting memories you make will be very important for you and your family as time goes by. Take your time and consider your options. Do what you think is most fitting for you and your family.
Funerals and memorial services
You may wish to have a memorial or funeral for your baby or take part in a group memorial service if this is available.
Funerals are typically a service at which the body is present. You decide on the format and location of the ceremony and who you want to invite to attend.
Memorial services don't need a body to be present. Some hospitals or programs offer memorial services for families experiencing a loss. You and your partner, as well as your family, may wish to say goodbye with a service there, while you have support around you. You may also choose your own private, small gathering at the right time for you. It's up to you as to what feels comfortable and meaningful to recognize the loss of your baby.
Services can be held at a variety of locations and can be held at a time that is best for your family. You can make private arrangements with a funeral service provider of your choice. Some of your choices and considerations may include:
- funeral or memorial service
- burial or cremation
- how to recognize your baby’s life
- who you would like to attend the service
- what poems, readings, and music you want to include at a service
Now my family and I have ways to remember our baby. We have a holiday ornament for our baby and we recognize our baby's birthday.
Carlos, Baby Benjamin's father
Recognition of life
You may decide not to have a formal ceremony and instead choose a private recognition of your baby's life. This might be with just you and your partner or you may include family. This recognition can be offered in whatever way you decide is meaningful to you.
Writing an obituary is another way of honouring the life and death of your baby. It could be long or short, detailed or simple. It can also include personal poems or a message if you wish.
Families may remember their baby by:
- planting a tree
- creating, building, or buying a symbolic item
- selecting a special holiday arrangement
- choosing a tattoo
- writing a poem
- releasing a balloon or balloons at a special ceremony
Do something meaningful to you to recognize the loss of your baby, no matter how simple or unique it might seem.
In many communities in Alberta, hospitals hold memorial services throughout the year. If you'd like more information or to find out if this is available in your community, ask your healthcare provider or contact a pregnancy infant loss program.