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After your stillbirth

Creating memories

This is your baby. You've been a parent to your baby right from when you first found out you were pregnant. It's important to find ways to remember your baby.

Feel free to take the time for you, your partner, and your family and friends to go through this process. You may choose to spend this precious time creating special memories and considering religious ceremonies or rituals meaningful to you and your family. This is your time with your baby. Do whatever feels right for you. Many families have taken the time to dress or wrap their baby and read special stories to them. Your healthcare team is available to help you with ideas or to help you create memories of your baby.

Please let your healthcare team know if you'd like to talk to a social worker, spiritual care provider, or if you wish to involve traditional cultural practices when creating memories. A spiritual care staff member can help you with religious rites that are important to you, such as prayers, blessings, or a dedication. They can also help to contact community leaders or Indigenous liaison services if you want them to. Most hospitals have a quiet sacred space or chapel you may visit.

Making precious memories with your baby is an important part of parenting and can be a healing experience. You'll have time to create lasting memories of your baby through photos and other keepsakes.

Keepsakes and memory boxes

Your healthcare team will offer you some keepsakes to help you remember your baby. The unit will give you a memory box to hold these items. Keepsakes may include:

  • a recognition of life certificate​
  • a baby ornament
  • a lock of your baby’s hair
  • your baby’s hand or foot prints and casts
  • a baby hat or nightie
  • your baby’s ID bracelet
  • a teddy bear

These keepsakes are offered by the Pregnancy and Infant Loss Bereavement Programs. They are made possible through donations from families who have also experienced a similar loss.

Once you get home you may choose to add other things like:

  • ultrasound pictures of your baby
  • cards from family and friends
  • toys you may have bought for your baby
  • a letter you might want to write to your baby

You may choose to keep adding items to the memory box in honour of your baby.

Photo m​emories

Photos are a great way to capture forever memories. You can always decide later how you want to use or keep them as memories. Most families find both keepsakes and photos of their baby help in the grief process. If it feels comfortable for you, take as many photos as you like of your baby.

You may use your own camera or smartphone to take your photos. Many nursing units will also have a camera to use if needed. Ask someone from your healthcare team if you'd like help with taking the photos. They may also be able to offer some ideas for types of photos or provide support while taking the photos. If you'd like to invite a professional photographer to take pictures, that's OK too. To find a professional photographer who does remembrance photos, visit Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep.

Some families have said that at the time of the loss they weren't ready for photos. However, later they wished they had taken more photos.

Please tell your healthcare team if photos are not part of your cultural values or beliefs.​

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