Marking your Loss

Miscarriage differs from later pregnancy losses as there is often no funeral or burial to acknowledge and mark the loss. However, many parents have found that acknowledging their pregnancy loss with memorial rituals such as planting a tree, lighting a candle or perhaps releasing a balloon, can be helpful.

“One day I passed a shop and there was a simple butterfly necklace in the window….it was in a heart shape and it just caught my eye. I decided to buy it and I wear it all the time now. I just feel it is my own private way of having something close to me to remind me that I was pregnant and that I haven’t forgotten”.

“I never told anyone, but as soon as I found out I was pregnant I had a name picked and I was convinced I was having a girl. Sometimes when I go for a walk on the beach, I write her name on the sand and even though I am the only one who knows whose name it is, somehow it just helps to say and see her name”.

 

You may perhaps feel sad on what should have been your due date or on the anniversary of your miscarriage. You might find it helpful to do something special at these times so you can mark your loss in whatever way is appropriate for you. 

“The midwife in the hospital gave us some suggestions as to how we might mark the loss of this pregnancy ourselves. At first, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to, but after a few weeks, we decided to plant a tree that we knew would flower every spring around the time the baby should have been due. I remember the first time I saw the buds appear on the tree – it took my breath away and we both had a little cry that morning, but I was so glad we had done something and that it was in our garden beside us as a reminder”.

Speaking with others who have experienced a similar loss can also be helpful. You may be surprised to find that many people you know have had a miscarriage but never talked about it. Do whatever feels right for you to help begin the healing process.

“At first I wasn’t even sure how to tell my close friends and family we had miscarried. But I was stunned once I did tell a few people how many others had experienced something similar. It really left me wondering why so few people talk about it…….I could see that once conversations started we all felt relieved that someone else understood”.

 

However, you may find that you do not want to share your feelings with others or mark your loss in anyway, and it is important that you do what is right for you.  Giving yourself time and space to grieve in your own way is really important.

Prayer Room 

There is a multi-denominational Prayer Room located on the ground floor of CUMH hospital. You are welcome to visit this Prayer Room where you will find a remembrance book and tree where you might like to acknowledge your loss.

To locate the prayer room, as you enter the maternity hospital through the main front door go straight through the double brown doors in front of you and you will get to a set of stairs and a lift. Take the lift/stairs to the ground floor. Go through the double doors and take a left. Follow the corridor until you see a set of double doors on your right. They are not locked or code protected. Go through the double doors and the prayer room is in front of you.

Pregnancy Loss Remembrance Service

Some maternity hospitals in Ireland hold a Remembrance Service each year for Pregnancy and Infant loss. Cork University Maternity Hospital, hold a remembrance service every October to coincide with the International Pregnancy Loss awareness week. This is a multi-denominational service, open to anyone who has experienced or been affected by pregnancy or infant loss. For many parents, this service is an opportunity to acknowledge the loss of their pregnancy and to remember in a supported space with others who have experienced a similar loss. Many of the staff at CUMH attend this service and offer support on the night for those who may wish to attend.

“The Remembrance service has become an annual event in our diary as a family now. It is the one time in the year when we all stop and just take time to acknowledge and remember the other pregnancies we had but sadly did not make it. It still matters to us that there is space to do that, even as the years have passed. The pregnancies we lost we no less wished for than those that did make it to full term and the remembrance service is a lovely space to acknowledge that”.

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Pregnancy Loss Research Group

Cork University Maternity Hospital

Wilton, Cork, Ireland

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