sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Maria Servold EPLA Editor
After parents lose a child, whether in early pregnancy or not, it is natural for them to want to give their baby a proper burial if they choose. Unfortunately, that dream may not be as easy to realize as the parents may think. The state and local laws surrounding burial can make navigating this issue complicated, as a mother described in a recent post on our blog.
The main trouble parents may face when wanting to bury a miscarried baby is the fact that laws concerning burial of babies before a certain gestational age vary from state to state. Additionally, if the baby was miscarried in a hospital, parents may have to navigate regulations when trying to retrieve the baby’s body.
First, if you are in a hospital, ask your doctor about the procedures to retrieve your baby's body from the medical staff. Many hospitals also have bereavement coordinators - ask if your hospital does and if they can help you through this process.
If you miscarry at home, it is important to preserve the baby’s body if you intend to bury it. A sterile saline solution works well - Heaven’s Gain Ministries offers information and kits for this purpose.
Once you have the baby’s body, call a local funeral home. (Some hospitals may help make this connection for you.) Many funeral homes offer free burial urns or caskets for miscarried babies. As part of this process, you may also need to contact whatever local group is in charge of a cemetary in your area. You may need to purchase a burial plot if the cemetary does not have a special plot or mausoleum for miscarried babies.
Heaven’s Gain also offers information about burial rules by state and tips to help you navigate the process. Some states may allow burial of a baby on private property, but others do not - be sure to check with local burial officials if you want to bury a baby in your yard.
If you belong to a church, you can ask your pastor or priest to conduct a burial ceremony for the baby. It is natural and right to want to treat a lost baby with the same respect we give all members of our family who die. Do not be afraid or ashamed to ask for support from your church during this time.
Burying a miscarried child is something we hope no parent ever has to do, but we hope that if you do end up having to do so, these tips may be helpful.
Maria Servold is an Editor at the EPLA, Assistant Director of the Herbert H. Dow II Program in American Journalism, and Lecturer in Journalism at Hillsdale College