There are many significant dates in the life of a family after pregnancy loss. The day you found out your baby died, the day you miscarried or gave birth to your stillborn, and your due date. For families whose baby’s lived for a short time, there is also a birthday to remember.
Birthdays can be a day of joy and of sadness, as families remember the precious time they got to spend with their babies—sometimes only a matter of hours, or even minutes. Each year brings a bittersweet reminder of a young life lost.
As with every aspect of grieving, the decision to remember your baby’s birthday is personal. Some people would rather treat it as any other day, while others make an annual tradition of celebrating and remembering. Your own choices about how to handle the day may change over time.
If you do decide to do something special, for your baby’s birthday, the possibilities are wide, from cheerful and creative, to quiet and solitary.
Private Celebration Ideas:
- Visit your child’s grave.
- Write a journal entry or letter.
- Do a balloon or butterfly release.
- Bake a birthday cake, or purchase a special cupcake.
- Light a candle.
- Create and listen to a special playlist that reminds you of your child.
- Go through photos and mementoes of your baby.
- Browse for an age-appropriate birthday gift, and consider donating it to charity.
- Go shelling at a beach, choose one shell to remember this year’s birthday, and write your child’s name in the sand.
- Turn off your phone and take a break from outside stress so you have time for contemplation and remembering.
- Donate blood.
Family Celebration Ideas:
- Have a small birthday party, complete with cake and singing.
- Visit your child’s grave as a family, bring a cake or gift.
- Exchange gifts with your family members in your baby’s honor.
- Plan a balloon release with your entire family, even those who live far away to be done at a specific time of the day.
- Take a day trip to somewhere kid friendly, like a zoo or theme park to make the day positive for you and your other children.
- Ask friends and family to do a random act of kindness with the money they would have spent on a birthday gift.
Public Ways to Remember:
- Place an announcement in your local paper.
- Post a remembrance message on Facebook or other social media outlets.
- Attach a balloon bouquet to your mailbox or elsewhere in your yard.
- Have a large party for everyone important to you.
- Go back to the hospital where your child was born for a visit, and bring the staff a treat to thank them for their caring and support.
- Make it a birthday party at the cemetery by bringing balloons for all the other babies if your child is buried in a children’s area or babyland.