For many people, having a way to remember or commemorate their baby can help in the grieving process. Regardless of how old your baby was, you’re entitled to grieve your loss and honour your baby in any way you want. By the same token, if you don’t need to distinguish this experience, that’s OK too – there is no right or wrong way.
These are some of the ways you might like to remember or commemorate your baby.
Having a ceremony or memorial service
There is no legal requirement to have your baby buried or cremated in Australia if the miscarriage occurred before 20 weeks. Most hospitals can arrange for the respectful burial of the pregnancy tissue, including the foetus (if one is present) at the local crematorium if you would like them to do so.
Alternatively, you may choose to make private arrangements for burial or cremation at your own cost. Burial in a garden or other private land is not unlawful, provided that the person carrying out the burial owns the land or has obtained consent from the owner of the land.
I just sort of had a bit of a private ceremony with my husband, and it was a bit of letting go and starting afresh. It was my way of, you know, finally let go of all the sadness, and mourning of the, losing a child, or you know, a baby.
Baby naming or certificate
Naming your baby may help you to process your grief. Additionally, you may choose to apply for a certificate of recognition of your loss. In all states and territories in Australia, there are certificates of recognition or commemoration for early pregnancy loss. Unlike traditional birth certificates, they are not a legal document nor used for lawful purposes; instead, they are a means of recognising your baby and your loss (under 20 weeks).
For further information about the certificates please click on the link to your state/territory department of Births, Deaths & Marriages.
- Victoria – Early Pregnancy Loss Commemorative Certificate
- New South Wales – Recognition of Early Pregnancy Loss Certificate
- Queensland – Early Pregnancy Loss Recognition Certificate
- Tasmania – Early Pregnancy Loss Recognition Certificate
- Northern Territory – Commemorative Certificate of Early Delivery
- South Australia – Early Loss of Pregnancy Certificate
- Western Australia – Recognition Certificate of Early Pregnancy Loss
New South Wales government were issuing acknowledgments of life I think they’re called. Where you go to the Births, Deaths and Marriages and actually get a certificate to say that you’ve had this happen. So, we got one of those for [son] which you know…just helps.
Keeping or creating a keepsake
For many people, having a keepsake or something special to them that they can remember their baby by is truly important. An ornament, a piece of jewellery, a tattoo, a keepsake box of any pregnancy images or tests are ideas people have created or collected of these special memories.
- Bears of Hope, a pregnancy and infant loss support organisation, offer a range of memory making options .
I planted a tree, a wattle tree. So, whenever I see wattle, I think of this little one…that was really good for me. Because it was like, it was sort of like a memorial.