How to memorialize your miscarried or stillborn baby
[Trigger warning: the first 2 paragraphs of this blog post include the story of one family’s miscarriages. If this is a sensitive topic for you, please skip ahead past the first photo to continue reading.]
July has always been a month I looked forward to for as long as I can remember. My family would go on a beach vacation to North Carolina and celebrate the 4th of July with food and fireworks. We had wonderful memories to hold onto. But last July changed how I would look at one of my favorite summer months. On vacation last year, I had my first miscarriage. The cramping and faint spotting began on the 4th of July. As my family was on the deck watching the fireworks, I was clutching my rosary and begging God to let me keep this baby. July would never be the same again.
That baby would have been born in early March but I ended up losing them on July 6th. Two more miscarriages followed in the next seven months. Faustina Teresa, whose due date was May 16th, was found to have no heartbeat on October 13th. Then, a few days before I went to the March For Life in D.C in January, I found out I was pregnant again and that baby was due on October 4th, my wedding anniversary. That pregnancy also ended in miscarriage a week after the positive test.
As the anniversaries of each of their due dates approached, I felt sad. Friends who were due around the same time were holding their newborns. I was joyful for them but felt sorrow for our family and what could have been. On May 16th, the date our Faustina Teresa was due, I asked my friends to pray for me. My good friend Jess sent beautiful flowers. I kept the ultrasound picture on my mantle that day with a lit candle. That evening I decided to go to adoration to feel close to Jesus. It was raining when I got into the car and started driving. The rain turned into a drizzle and a rainbow appeared. Sadness turned to wonder and awe at how loving God is. I felt the peace of Christ rush over me and God gave me a beautiful rainbow to remember.
I made the decision that instead of mourning those dates, I would remember my children in a special way and rejoice that they are with such a loving Father. Here are some ways we have and will remember our Faustina, Seraphim and Francis.
Since they were early losses and we had no remains, we decided to have their names etched into tiles at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents at the National Shrine of Divine Mercy. We visit there twice a year, and it will be nice to have a place in this world that recognizes our little gifts from God.
We were gifted watercolor flower prints with our babies’ names on them. We display them to remember that these children are a part of our family. They sit next to a print of the Blessed Mother holding a baby. It is a good reminder that our heavenly Mother is taking care of our children until we can hold them again and also reminds us to ask for their intercession to Jesus for our intentions.
Two of my friends sent me items that I used in a memorial garden at my house: little seeds that will come up each year to remind me of the little life that bloomed in heaven, and angel wings in the shape of a heart with a sweet poem on it. Being together in community with other women who have gone through similar losses has helped me because I have heard of the beautiful ways they remember their own children.
My friend Allison lost two babies: her son Christian Peter Maria and daughter Hope Veronica Marie. She shared with me that in order to remember her babies, she does random acts of kindness for others and lets the recipients know that the act was done in memory of her beloved babies. Some things she has done for others include meals for parish priests and women who have just given birth, or giving money to a family that didn’t have enough for a child’s birthday present. On Christian Peter’s first birthday, they put 100 pinwheels in the Mary garden at their parish in memory of all children lost through miscarriage. Taking our grief and turning it to works of mercy or service gives a purpose to our pain. Seeing joy come from sadness helps the soul be more at peace. It helps us to remember our children and the joy that they have brought to others through their lives. I know others who honor their child’s memory by wearing jewelry with their name on it.
God gave us the ability to remember things. Sometimes memories are heartwarming, at other times heartbreaking. Remembering is a part of our story. I read in a new study that the part of the brain that holds the memories continues to light up for thirty seconds after the heart stops beating. Science points to this being the moment our lives flash before our eyes. Memorializing our babies, whether lost at 3 days, 3 weeks or 3 months is an important part of healing. Even though they are not physically with us, reminders of them will hold us until we are able to hold them in heaven.
We asked you, our readers, to share the names of creators offering gifts and keepsakes to memorialize lost littles ones and we have compiled a list of your responses below. If you know a family whose baby has gone to heaven, your prayers are an extremely valuable gift to them. However, if you would also like to give them something tangible in memory of their child, we hope these suggestions will inspire you.
Jewelry and devotional items
Photo features: Humble Mission Beads (top left), Pink Salt Riot (top right), Little Light Designs (bottom right), Rightly Royce (bottom left).
Humble Mission Beads (find on Etsy or @humblemissionbeads on Instagram) We offer bereavement jewelry and gifts for families whose little ones have run ahead of them to heaven. All of our bereavements gifts come with a foldable litany of the saints for miscarriage and infant loss prayer card. Our shop helps to fund out work of providing homebirth miscarriage kits for families whose little ones pass away in utero. The kits contain items they might need to retrieve the remains of the baby for burial. (See top left in photo above.)
Pink Salt Riot (go to website or @pinksaltriot on Instagram) Pink Salt Riot offers beautiful jewelry pieces to memorialize the life of little ones gone too soon, as well as an incredibly thoughtful miscarriage card with a unique and heartfelt message perfect for times when you aren’t quite sure what to say. (See top right in photo above.)
Little Light Designs (find on Facebook or @little_light_designs on Instagram) After my precious daughter Catherine was stillborn at 37 weeks, the Holy Spirit pushed me to honor her and all children lost to miscarriage and stillbirth. I created rosary bracelets as a subtle reminder to draw closer to Our Blessed Mother, who knows the pains of our hearts and seeks to bring us comfort and wrap us in her mantle of love and peace. (See bottom right in photo above.)
Rightly Royce Jewelry (go to website or @rightlyroyce on Instagram) We make custom jewelry that connects you to those you love, in honor of our son Royce. (See bottom left in photo above.)
Johanna Moldenhauer (go to website or @johanna_artist1 on Instragram) I make items for mothers who have lost their little ones, such as earrings with a baby’s breath bud and a necklace with a baby’s breath bud encapsulated in resin.
The Little Catholic (go to website or @thelittlecatholic on Instagram) Catholic jewelry in gold and sterling silver.
Chews Life (go to website or @chewslifeshop on Instagram) Coming soon! Chews Life are working on some products for mothers who have lost little ones.
Artwork and prints
Photo features: Just Love Prints (top left), Harmony Design Shop (top right), Mrs Torres Creates (middle right), L’Amour de la Petite (bottom right), Light Bearer Designs (bottom middle), Grace Upon Grace Prints (bottom left).
Just Love Prints (go to website or @justloveprints on Instagram) Just Love Prints offers prints of Jesus and the Blessed Mother holding little ones in heaven. (See top left in photo above.)
Harmony Design Shop (find on Etsy or @harmonydesignshop on Instagram) After a few losses in our own family, I started drawing these memorial portraits as a way to bring comfort to grieving families, so they can have a picture of their entire family that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to have. (See top right in photo above.)
Mrs Torres Creates (find on Etsy or @mrstorrescreates on Instagram) Per custom request, I can personalize an image of Mary rocking a saint baby in any way to represent your family. Send me a message if this might work for you or someone you love who is facing heartbreak. (See middle right in photo above.)
L’Amour de la Petite (find on Etsy or @lamourdelapetite on Instagram) I pray for the family and soul as I paint flowers for the family to have in their home. (See bottom right in photo above.)
Light Bearer Designs (find on Etsy or @lightbearerdesigns on Instagram) I offer a print or greeting card of the Blessed Mother welcoming a sweet baby into heaven as she wraps the child in her starry mantle and weeps with their earthly mother. (See bottom middle in photo above.)
Grace Upon Grace Prints + Catholic Design Co (go to website or @graceupongraceprints on Instagram) We offer portraits of the entire family (including members in heaven) by custom request. There are also saint quotes regarding miscarriage and child loss. (See bottom left in photo above.)
Sweet Little Ones Shop (find on Etsy or @sweetlittleones on Instagram) I sell prints and cards for miscarriage and child loss.
Maple Lane Shop (find on Etsy or @maplelane on Instagram) Digital print of a baby in the arms of Jesus.
Jen Olson Illustration (find on Etsy or @jenolsonillustration on Instagram) Watercolor print of the Blessed Mother cradling a baby.
Little Oak Studios (find on Etsy or @littleoakstudios on Instagram) Simple watercolor prints of Jesus holding a baby.
Other gifts and keepsakes
Photo features: Clarey Clayworks (top left), The Domestic Monastery (top right), Laurelbox (bottom right), The Little Rose Shop (bottom left).
Clarey Clayworks (find on Etsy or @clareyclayworks on Instagram) It is our hope that our baby loss remembrance bowls, prayerfully made from a creamy earthenware clay and personalized with your child’s name, bring parents comfort in the promise that their child is with Our Lord as they were truly born into heaven. (See top left in photo above.)
The Domestic Monastery (go to website or @thedomesticmonastery on Instagram) Working with over 50 artists, we offer original art, prints, indoor and outdoor statues, bronze, clay and ironwork. We feature handmade fabric holy cards and stationery for occasions which require something ordered toward beauty. There is much more in our shop than online. We welcome FaceTime shopping appointments and we ship. (See top right in photo above.)
Laurelbox (go to website or @laurelbox on Instagram) Laurelbox offers heartfelt remembrance gifts to honor those you’ve lost, from personalized jewelry to beautiful keepsakes. (See bottom right in photo above.)
The Little Rose Shop (go to website or @thelittleroseshop on Instagram) The Little Rose Shop designs meaningful blankets with hidden symbolisms or prayers to offer a tangible reminder that we are covered in love even in our suffering. (See bottom left in photo above.)
Due to Joy Rainbow Co (find on Etsy or @DueToJoyRainbowCo on Instagram) Miscarriage care packages and grief gifts.
Blessing and Light (find on Etsy or @blessingandlight on Instagram) Beautiful memorials and stones for home or garden.
Sands, a stillbirth and neonatal death charity in the UK (go to website or @sandscharity on Instagram) Sands offers a memory box for bereaved families who are saying goodbye to their baby.
SiMBA, Simpson’s Memory Box Appeal, a charity in the UK & Ireland (go to website or find on Facebook) SiMBA offers three sizes of memory box to suit the gestational age of your baby, containing items to help you remember your child and make memories as you say goodbye.
To read the experiences of some of our readers, take a look at Miscarriage: Your Story.