1980S Toy Where You Stuff Stuffed Animals In A House Miscarriage – Saying Hello Before Saying Goodbye

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Miscarriage – Saying Hello Before Saying Goodbye

Disappointment doesn’t begin to explain my feelings. This was the second miscarriage in six months. Having a child already, in my heart I really wanted him to have a brother. I was grateful to my doctor for understanding my devastation and for my husband’s efforts to be supportive, but there were very few others who understood the depth of the feelings I was experiencing. This happened in the early seventies.

During the 1980s I became involved in the beginnings of the hospice movement. During my training I learned a lot about grief, mostly unknown to the general public. The most important lesson I learned was helping grieving families personalize their celebration for their loved one. After five years in hospice, I went to work as a death director at a nearby funeral home. I received a different education than others. The funeral director strongly encouraged direct participation in the funeral ritual to promote physical and emotional healing.

A young couple whose first child was aborted came to us for help. We encouraged them to name their baby and tell us all the wonderful things that happened to them when they found out they were pregnant. Mom and Dad shared many special memories with us. In the midst of their grief, they smiled through their tears as they shared the hopes and dreams they had in the early weeks of pregnancy. How disappointed they were when their dreams ended in miscarriage. We helped them organize a simple memorial service.

Their little one was tiny, only about eight inches long and weighing less than two pounds. I found a little doll outfit that the baby could wear. We arranged a viewing in a small intimate room in the funeral home as if it were a friendly bedroom. I placed an afghan on a rocking chair next to the small casket, an angel night light, some stuffed animals and a children’s board book. The appointed time came for the parents to see their little one – first to say hello and then to be greeted.

Mom and Dad were visibly moved the moment they walked in the door. There were tears but also smiles. We left them with just a few words of encouragement. After some time, they showed that they were ready for the next step. Their parents and loved ones moved in little by little to lend their support. The healing had begun.

People who have had bad experiences with death or have no experience at all of grieving the death of a loved one often think that such a thing sounds macabre, but those who have known that something special has just happened and now have some beautiful memories from their child.

Years later a nephew of mine was miscarried. I had the privilege of making a little blanket for her and buying a little toy that came in the little wooden box that my son and his wife bought and decorated. His father conducted his funeral service. Family and friends prayed and sang together as we comforted Mom, Dad, and each other. The healing had begun.

So what can be done if a friend has a miscarriage? Reach out to them first with words of love, care and disappointment. Any positive thoughts about your feelings when you heard about the pregnancy would be greatly appreciated, because they are tangible proof that this child touched your life. Perhaps you can find a special piece of jewelry, a window prism, or some other small memento to give the parents as a gift in memory and celebration of their child. Another sign of your care can be a flowering perennial plant or tree. Anything that will reinforce that this little human being left a mark on the world will give hope and comfort to his or her parents. I wish I had this knowledge when my miscarriage happened. I’m sure I would have recovered much faster.

Knowing what I know now, I would encourage mothers who have failed to write about their feelings and observations in a journal specifically for this baby. Making something like a rock, a small notebook, or planting a specially chosen perennial plant will bring closure. A cement lamb or duck placed in a special spot in your yard is another idea that couples have found useful. The most important thing is to do something in honor of your child even if it is to take a long walk. Every child has an impact on the world no matter how small. Begin the healing.

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