sharing your stories and remembering your children
By: Emily Carrington EPLA Founder
The best advice I ever received following a miscarriage came from a dear friend in the tender hours after my first loss. As I told her what had happened she listened quietly and then responded, “have you thought about doing something in honor of your little one?”
This idea brought comfort, hope, and a small sense of control. Bombarded by all of the thoughts of the things I couldn’t do with or for this child, I realized the one thing I could do: remember.
So I got to work “remembering.” I made a plan. Beyond the service and the memory box, I would also purchase a single purple rose on Baby’s due date each November. That way, Baby would always have a space in our family.
Then I miscarried again only a few months after losing my first. We had another service and added stuff to the box. I also received a few thoughtful gifts to serve as memorials. I resolved to buy a flower for this child, too, every April.
November came and I bought Baby’s flower. This helped me heal as the due date stirred up so much raw emotion and loneliness. I needed Baby. How could I ever forget? Then April came and I bought another flower.
During that first year I also bought ornaments, attended loss mom events, received memorial gifts, lit candles, and made donations in honor of my children. I had to do something to give them a space in this world.
Then August came and I miscarried again. By November I felt exhausted by the idea of keeping up with all of my memorials, like buying flowers, and I started forgetting death dates and due dates. With three losses, I had six special dates and remembering them became a burden.
I felt guilty and confused. If I didn’t remember my children, who would?
Four years later I realize that I have never forgotten my children, even if I can’t remember their due dates. I have since abandoned rigid memorials and rest on the memorials that I set in place at the time of each loss.
As I unwrapped Christmas ornaments this year, I came across two ornaments purchased in honor of our first two children lost to miscarriage. I took time to remember each of them and then gently joked with myself that the third child we lost to miscarriage never did get an ornament because, well, isn’t that how it goes with third children?
Whether you have recently lost a child in early pregnancy or you are years past from your loss, the holidays can be a time of both difficult and fond memories as you think of your children.
While I never have to be reminded of my children, I have found that the exercise of remembering has brought the comfort, hope, and control that I longed for. Even if it isn’t at the frequency or intensity of that first year, I still take the time to remember my children through many of the same activities.
I have found that my lost children are on my mind particularly during October (Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month) and December.
If you are looking for a way to honor and remember the life of your little one this holiday season, consider some of these ideas that can be done privately, with family, or shared publicly.
What are some ways you remember your little ones during the holidays?
Emily Carrington is the founder of the EPLA and mother to four children.