Moving on while keeping memories of the baby alive

Keeping their baby’s memory alive was very important to parents. Deciding how to do this was a very personal choice. Michelle highlighted how important it was to ‘do what you need to do’. Some parents talked about marking their baby’s birthday or due date in a special way. Parents might visit their baby’s grave or the special place where they had scattered or kept their baby’s ashes.

Helen Z and her husband felt it important to mark their baby’s due date and birthday.

Age at interview 37

Gender Female

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Michelle felt that validating your experience was important and there was no right way of doing it.

Talking about the baby

Talking about the baby was a common way that parents felt kept their baby’s memory alive. Most parents wanted to keep talking about their baby to friends and family, although they often found this was difficult. After a few months some found that their friends and family no longer talked about the baby and their loss. They often felt this was because people were embarrassed and afraid of upsetting them or had forgotten about it. Similarly some parents explained that they didn’t talk about their baby with certain friends and family members because they didn’t want to make them feel uncomfortable. Some said they found that talking to other parents who had lost a baby at a support group really helped as they ‘get it’.

Kirsty strongly felt she often didn’st speak in full detail about her loss because she didn’st want to upset friends and family.

Doing something to make a difference

Many parents we spoke to were very passionate to do something to make a difference for future parents suffering a loss, to thank people for the care they had received, and to ensure that their baby hadn’t ‘died in vain’. Maxine explained, ‘we’re very realistic, we can’t stop it happening but we can try and learn from our experience, to help other people actually, our story is really powerful to people’.

Many parents described fund-raising for charities that they had received help and support from during their loss such as Sands and the Miscarriage Association. Some raised funds for specific things that had helped them such as memory boxes or facilities in the local bereavement suite. Sharon raised money for a double bed for her local bereavement suite after the loss of her second baby and then sadly made use of it when she lost her third baby.

Matthew described how fundraising for Sands was the moment he felt he was able to move on.

Some parents helped emotionally support other parents who had experienced loss, either by setting up a bereavement group or volunteering for an established support group. Others felt this would be something they would like to do when they were ready.

Loretta really appreciated the support of other bereaved parents and it motivated her to become a telephone contact for the Miscarriage Association.

Age at interview 54

Gender Female

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Michelle became a doula to support other mothers who were going through a similar experience.

Several of the parents we spoke to felt that contributing to this website was another way of helping. As Emily said, ‘If it makes any other parents’ experience slightly less harrowing, then I’m all for it.’ One of the reasons Sarah participated was to let parents know that there was good care for people suffering a loss as, after attending a Sands meeting, ‘I knew that lots of other people had had much worse experiences than me and I didn’t want everyone to think that that’s how it had to be.’

Experiences of a following pregnancy

Many parents we spoke to had been able to have another baby after their loss. They felt very lucky, but often those pregnancies were difficult....