Find ways to remember your baby
Our family collects rocks and always leaves one behind on a hike to honor Charlotte. One father I know hides his baby's name in all of the places that he goes; he writes it on stickie notes, the sand, and on graffitti walls. Another father volunteers as a tribute to his baby. Here are a few ideas that may be helpful in finding something that is meaningful to you:
- Project B.E.A.R. (Bringing Empty Arms Reprieve) will send a teddy bear to anyone who is grieving the loss of a baby. There is no charge for the teddy bear, though they do ask for donations so that they are able to continue providing bears for families. Molly Bears , also created by a loss mom, creates bears that are weighted to your child's specific weight (up to 14 pounds). Molly Bears has a long waiting list (4 months last I checked) and costs $20, but have the benefit of being customizable. (I know of several loss dads who sheepishly admit to falling asleep with these bears in their arms on a bad day.)
- Request a Gift Basket or Weighted Bear from Healing Embrace. This company was founded by loss moms and provides weighted bears and a gift bag for those who have lost babies. The service is free, but requires $20 shipping fee. Alternatively, you can "pay it forward" and purchase a care package for another loss-parent using the same link.
- I had a tattoo done on my right wrist (so I could touch it to my heart) to remember Charlotte. If you happen to be in the DC Metro area, my tattoo was done at Capitol Tattoo in Silver Spring by TK. He was kind, offering sincere condolences for my loss, and even listened to my story about why a fox was a symbol of Charlotte for us. He was patient and accommodating when I changed my mind about the design & sizing and made my first tattoo experience very positive. Some mothers that I have met in support groups have even added their baby's ashes to the ink in their tattoos.
- Find a special place to talk to your baby. A vocal stream of conscious can be just as cathartic as a written one. There is a bench on the side of a lake that I visit often on my hikes. I always stop in this place to talk to Charlotte. Sometimes I just tell her how much I miss her and other times I tell her about all of the things that she has missed. I bring her baby blanket with me in my backpack on these hikes and hold it while I talk to her.