When You Know Your Baby Will Not Survive
The statistics are eye-opening, but yet no mother believes it can happen to her. There is too much to fear, so instead, we overlook any chances that we could be the one in four who loses her baby. There are, however, so many mothers who cannot overlook their chances. Some women learn that their babies will not survive pregnancy. Maybe they will miscarry quickly, or perhaps they may carry and give birth at full term but not take their angels home.
If you are one of these mothers, one who will not see her baby grow, my heart and love pour to you. Chromosomal abnormalities, pockets in the brain, and hundreds of other fatal diagnoses are being learned about through the advancement of medical technology. Sometimes there is no medical explanation. While some will argue that knowing your baby will pass away is too much heartache to handle, mothers who have lived or are living it may say just how grateful they are to cherish these moments and not take them for granted. My eyes are full and tears are falling as I weed through the writings out there on this topic.
Medically speaking, we are well ahead of where we are at for standard of care for the families living this nightmare. Several perinatal hospice locations do exist, but not nearly enough. There are support groups, but again, not enough. This blog that I write - I write to educate, inform, spread love, encouragement, happiness, and hope. Sometimes, though, my emotions can overtake me. I was speaking to my dear friend who lost her baby girl, Mercy, during the third trimester. As we spoke, I started thinking about all the ways parents may be able to treasure their babies who are gone too soon. (Many of these photos are from Mercy's birth.)
My Baby's Heartbeat Bear was created for parents to hold their babies' heartbeats forever, and in some situations, it is truly unmeasurable the amount of importance this stuffed animal can have. The impact our product can have on a family is priceless. We have more recently began reaching to families experiencing loss, in hopes that we may provide some comfort. Please help us reach more families. Share this blog, give a Heartbeat Animal as a shower gift, or have your own baby's heartbeat recorded. Time is a precious thing, and we just don't understand until it is gone.
Record Your Baby’s Heartbeat
Before your baby passes, record his heartbeat. You can do it on your cell phone if you do not have a My Baby’s Heartbeat Bear yet. It is easy to transfer the recording to the stuffed animal you choose, and you will be able to have a tangible reminder that your baby existed. YOUR BABY WAS ALIVE. This small token may save you in dark moments, or it may help you smile throughout your life.
Create a Special PlaceA shelf or wall space that holds something you will always treasure. A beautiful urn, a painting, a picture, a quote or book can become a part of your décor that has more meaning than any visitor will ever know.
Document Your Pregnancy
Take photographs and journal your days. They are words you may reread thousands of times.
Hire a Birth PhotographerBirth photographers have an eye to capture the most poignant, beautiful, and emotional of moments. Tiny toes, little lips, all of your tears deserve to be documented.
Make Hand and Foot Prints
There is no limit on how many imprints you can make. If your heart wants 10 prints, make 10 prints.
Lauren Self, a mother who lost her first baby at 22 weeks gestation, treasures the prints of her angel. Above, a picture of her angel and her rainbow.
Relate Something to Your BabyPerhaps the colors of the nursery, or a color you have linked to your baby. Use these colors on your nails, a special painting, in your clothing, or on your Christmas Tree (or other holiday tradition).
Create a Shadow Box
Preserve the hat, socks, blanket, and anything else that you placed on your baby. You can have a shadow box created or you can do it yourself. Even if you don't have clothing to save, think about other ways you can artistically design a shadow box, like this one found on Etsy:
Wear a Piece of Jewelry
You can have a drop of your breastmilk turned into beautiful jewelry. You can also wear a charm, include ashes in a sealed locket, or have treasured words stamped onto jewelry plates. This sealed piece holds ashes, but you can also seal a note or other small item.
Name Your Baby – and Display ItIf your baby will not make it to full term, that does not mean the he is not deserving of a name of his own. No matter what stage of pregnancy you learn of your child’s diagnosis, take time to name him. You can have a piece of art created with his name, or you may decide to hang a stocking for him each year.
Get a Tattoo
This one is not for every mother, but so many choose a permanent form of art be placed on their skin to keep the memory of their child with them. My personal favorite is a small elephant, as an elephant never forgets. (I traced this photo everywhere but could not find the original source. It is simple and beautiful.)
Plant a Tree
A rose bush, an oak, or something that will continue growing throughout the years may provide you a background for family pictures – a background that will also include your angel.
Share Your Story
Never be afraid to talk about your baby. You, my friend, are an amazing mother, and you know that your baby will always be apart of you.
In Loving Memory of Mercy. #MercyPink