Scrapbook your baby
How do you create a scrapbook for a child you never got to know? Maybe you experienced a miscarriage and early pregnancy loss. Maybe your baby was stillborn. Maybe your baby’s short life was spent in the NICU unit of your hospital. Often when families experience the loss of a child there are very few, if any, momentos.
However, it can be very healing to create a scrapbook for your child. Your baby did exist! And no child is ever forgotten who has a family to remember him or her. No matter if you got to hold your baby or not, if you have photos or not, it is important to capture your baby’s brief life in a scrapbook similar to any other scrapbook a mother makes for her child.
If you experienced an early pregnancy loss:
From the first moment you found out you were pregnant you started creating memories. Gather anything that reminds you of your pregnancy and your baby. This might include your pregnancy test results, sonogram photos, pictures of you while you were pregnant (whether or not you knew you were pregnant or if you ‘looked’ pregnant.) Write down your feelings you had when you found out you were pregnant. How did you tell your partner? Did you have morning sickness or strange cravings? Was your pregnancy a surprise or a much anticipated effort? Write down anything about this early part of your pregnancy. Was there a nickname you called your baby? I encourage you to name your baby even if you did not absolutely know the gender of your baby.
If your baby was stillborn:
You likely have more memories about your pregnancy if your child died later in your pregnancy. Did your baby kick a lot? Have hiccups? Was your baby restless, did he or she respond to daddy’s voice or a particular type of music? Did you prepare a nursery room or buy special items while preparing to meet your baby?
You may have other memories created while in the hospital, or you may not. You may have been fortunate enough to have photos of your baby. You may have handprints or footprints. You might have a special outfit the baby wore or a blanket your baby was wrapped in. You may have cards or flowers received while you were in the hospital. Write down all the memories you have, regardless if they are difficult to remember. You can enclose them in an envelope to place in your scrapbook. It can be very healing to express these feelings and know they are ‘remembered’ in a safe place.
If you have few hospital momentos, it is still possible to create some items to recognize your child. You can request a “Certificate of Life” from SHARE (nationalshareoffice.com). You can put an obituary notice in the paper. You can make announcements to send to family and friends including your child’s name and birth and death dates. You can write a letter to your baby and put it in your scrapbook. Is there a particular poem, scripture or song that has special meaning to you? Do you feel inspired to write a poem or song for your baby?
Memorial Services or Graves:
Did you have a service for your baby? Who attended? What poems were read? You can take pictures of your baby’s grave or urn. Even if you did not have a memorial service it is never to late to do so. You can have a small family service on an anniversary date. You can write letters to you baby, or kiss a balloon and let it go.
No matter if you have momentos or not, it is never enough. You were expecting a lifetime of memories and photos, not just a tiny book with a few items. However, you will find that although your child was with you just a short time, you are changed forever. You may want to record how your baby changed you. You may have met friends at support groups you would never otherwise had known. You may find your direction or purpose in life has changed. How are you different for knowing your baby?
You can scrapbook how you spend anniversary dates. Did you attend a Walk to Remember? Is there a special piece of jewelry your purchased to remind you of your angel? Is there a service project you have done in honor of your baby? What do you do to feel close to your angel? Is there a special song that has new meaning?
I wish you peace as you create your baby’s scrapbook and remember his or her life.
With love, Emily