I didn’t think that the due date would be so difficult. My womb had been empty for seven months by the time that would-be-delivery-day crept around, and I was simply unprepared for the wave of grief that swept over me that week.
We’d miscarried her at just eight weeks along. Unlike her older brother who was stillborn, this babe had far fewer tangible memories. There was no gravestone, no blurry ultrasound photos, no videos of belly morphing and moving, and no keepsake box sent home with us from the hospital. But despite these differences in experience, the pain I felt at her loss was no less real or vivid. A mother’s heart does not determine value by the duration of time she has with her children, a mother simply loves wholeheartedly.
It should have come as no surprise to find my grief so closely tied to that due date: to all that could have been but never would. I wanted to find a way to remember her, to celebrate her short life, and to tell the world that she had been here and that she was loved. After all, isn’t this what we all want for our babies gone-too-soon?
So for those who find themselves shattered by an empty womb and a looming due date, here are a few ideas to help get us through a difficult day:
1. Plant a tree or a perennial flower
Certain flowers or plants can hold special meanings and be a beautiful, long-lasting reminder of the life that grew within.
2. A “Due Date” Cupcake
Treat yourself to your favourite dessert, blow out a candle, and spend a few minutes remembering. This is an important date worth honoring and it’s okay to not only grieve, but also celebrate that little one’s life.
3. Write a Letter to Your Baby
Writing out feelings and emotions can be a helpful outlet for pain. Pour your grief onto paper as an act of love and remembrance of the one who touched upon your life so deeply.
4. Balloon Release
This can be a special way to include friends and family members in the day too. Pop a small message into the balloons or release them as is.
5. Random Acts of Kindness
Make a few “in memory of” cards and hand them out as you buy a stranger’s coffee, hand out roses on the street, or bake cookies for a neighbor. Ask your friends and family to participate too.
6. Order a Starbucks drink with their name
Sometimes it feels as if everyone has forgotten your baby, as if you’re the only one who remembers them. Today, it might just feel nice to hear someone else say their name out loud for the world to hear.
7. Write their name on a shell at the beach or a pebble on a hike
Bring a sharpie with you and leave your baby’s name on a small pebble or shell at the beach — something to remind you and those who might find it that no matter how small, your baby made an impact on this world.
8. Designate a family day
Set aside this date as your own annual family day and spend it together with the ones you love. Go out for ice cream, a walk in the park, a mini-getaway — whatever you do, just do it together.
9. Get a tattoo or customized jewelry
Take your time with this one and find something that is meaningful to you. It’s never a case of forgetting your little one, more so a way to ensure that their memory is always carried with you in a visible way.
10. Donate to charity in their name
Organize a walk, volunteer your time, or donate to your favourite cause. This is a beautiful way for your child’s memory to make a difference in the lives of others too.
No matter how you decide to remember your babe on their due date, set some time aside for yourself. Give yourself the freedom and space to grieve and remember as you need to. Amidst the heaviness of a day washed in tears, may you find a glimmer of joy remembering and grieving this precious child.
Liz is the proud mother of six precious children: one son in her arms and an extra five babies carried in her heart. Liz writes about motherhood, faith, and life after loss on her blog MommyMannegren. You can follow along on Facebook or Instagram for more of this messy, grief-filled but ever beautiful story.