After a pregnancy loss, a lot of grieving parents look for a special way to remember their baby for the long-term. It seems like there’s plenty to do right after your loss. In the hospital, you might have the opportunity to hold and photograph your baby, and you’ll likely be given footprints and a lock of hair if possible. Then, if you’ve decided on a funeral or memorial service, you have the planning process that allows you to stay connected to your baby’s memory.
Of course there are long-term memorials, like a gravesite, and the mementoes you have at home. But sometimes, you’re looking for something more. Something that helps others understand how important your baby was to you. Your options are only limited by your imagination.
Here are 10 creative ideas for a memorial that will last.
1. Plant a Memorial Garden
Planning a memorial garden gives you lots of creative freedom as well as providing you an opportunity to stay engaged with your memorial for the long term. On-going maintenance will bring you back to the garden frequently, where you’ll have plenty of time for quiet contemplation.
2. Start a Grief Journal
Journaling can become a positive habit that lasts a lifetime. Even if you’ve never journaled before, you might find great comfort in having an outlet for your feelings. A blank page is always ready to listen. Over time, journaling can become like a form of self-therapy. And journaling doesn’t have to be just words on a page. There are plenty of ways to express yourself creatively.
3. Scrapbooking and/or Photography
Like journaling, creating a scrapbook of your memories and experiences can be a healthy outlet for grief. Ultimately, however, you might find yourself expanding into other types of scrapbooking, or developing photography as a hobby.
4. Start a Local Event
It’s natural to wonder what you can do to prevent other families from experiencing the heartbreak of pregnancy loss. Many families like to do whatever they can to help raise awareness and funding for research into pregnancy loss causes and prevention. If you are looking for a way to contribute, consider organizing a charity walk or hosting a local event for a national organization. Many national non-profit remembrance organizations welcome people to start an event in their local areas. You could name your event after your baby, such as ‘Emma’s Walk,’ or ‘Kites for Caleb.’
5. Get a Tattoo
This obviously isn’t for everybody, but if you’ve already got some body art, why not add a special one just for your baby? There are plenty of lovely design ideas out there. A sleeping angel, tiny footprints, a flower with special meaning, your baby’s name and date of your loss, or a quote that tells the world you’ll never forget. One great example is from Song of Solomon 8:6, "For love is as strong as death."
6. Throw a Party
It might seem unconventional, but why not celebrate in your baby’s memory? Whether you decide to throw a birthday party on the anniversary of your baby’s birth or death, or just have a memory party, you can gather all the important people in your life together for a celebration of life and memory. You could combine this idea with #4 above, and start a charity ball to raise money for a research organization while you party.
7. Random Acts of Kindness
Simple, usually free, and guaranteed to lift your spirits, a random act of kindness is a positive way to carry on your baby’s memory. Whether you make it an annual event, or dedicate yourself to one random act a day, no matter how tiny, you may just find yourself addicted to making the world a better place.
8. Dedicate Something
Maybe it’s a bench at the local playground, or a brick in the plaza outside the new museum. It could be a tree in an ornamental garden, or even naming a star. There are plenty of ways to set your baby’s name in stone or wood that will bring beauty to the world and give you a precious memorial to visit.
9. Design Jewelry
There are plenty of talented jewelry designers out there who will help you create a special piece to wear as often as you like. If you don’t know someone locally, try searching a site like Etsy for a wide variety of designers. Many will do custom work on request. You can also find ready-made jewelry just right for engraving. Whatever suits your taste.
10. Have a Diamond Made
This idea will definitely not be for everyone. There is a service called LifeGem that will take the carbon from ashes after a cremation, or from a lock of hair and use it in the process of making a synthetic diamond. A way to make your priceless memory into one of the most enduring substances on earth. For many people, this option will be cost prohibitive, as the diamonds cost a substantial amount of money, but for someone looking for a truly unique and enduring memorial, LifeGem might be just the thing.