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Giving gifts and keepsake items to parents is one way to show your unwavering support and commitment to remembering the life they created. But choosing the right item to convey your feelings isn’t always easy. And it can be daunting to navigate the metaphorical landmines that exist in caring for grieving parents. The last thing you want is to trigger negative feelings or cause them even more pain.
To help you feel informed, empowered, and confident about giving thoughtful gifts that will be well-received, here are a few ideas:
Grief books can be incredibly helpful for some parents. But, as with any gift, be sure to consider the recipient. I recommend that you pre-read any book you plan to give to grieving parents to ensure it is relevant and appropriate.
Additionally, be considerate of the parents’ personal and spiritual beliefs. Their grief is not the time to challenge their views or present your own, especially through a book. Not every parent will want to read about another family’s story, experience, or faith.
When gifting books, be sure to provide context. What about this book spoke to you? If you are also a parent who knows how it feels to lose a child, what about this book was helpful for you?
Casting kits are used for making hand and foot casts or prints and can help parents create keepsakes that will last a lifetime. These casts and prints can serve as tangible proof that their baby existed.
I think we can all relate to studying and feeling a sense of wonder at the sight of the tiny, perfect hands and feet of the babies in our lives. Hand and foot casts and prints are cherished keepsakes for all parents, especially grieving ones.
Many hospitals provide this keepsake, but this could be a tender and thoughtful gift to send to the loved one in your life. I would encourage you to be mindful of how you go about delivering this gift and, again, be sure to provide context.
Donations and Charitable Giving
Donating to a family to help with funeral expenses or medical bills is an incredible, generous, and thoughtful gift. The topic of finances in the middle of dealing with the news of a diagnosis, continuing a pregnancy, saying goodbye to their baby, and then transitioning into life after loss can be an uncomfortable and difficult conversation. The medical bills and funeral expenses can be daunting and even crippling for some families, so this is an area where you can provide meaningful and memorable support.
You can also give a financial gift in the way of charitable giving. When my babies died, my husband and I did not want people to bring flowers to their memorial service or send flowers to our home. In lieu of flowers, we provided the opportunity for our friends and family to donate to a non-profit in memory of our babies. For weeks and months following the memorial service, we received cards in the mail, both from the non-profit and our friends and family, letting us know who donated in memory of our Bridget, Vivian, and Liam. To this day, I have a binder full of those cards, and it is one of my most cherished items.
If there is a particular organization or non-profit that means something to you or your loved one, consider this as a way to give and remember the precious baby in your life.
Many organizations and non-profits are funded by donations just like that, and it is an incredible feeling to know that part of my babies’ legacy was doing good for other families. If there is a particular organization or non-profit that means something to you or your loved one, consider this as a way to give and remember the precious baby in your life.
If you decide that a charitable donation speaks to you as a means to support a family, Carrying To Term would be honored to help you remember a precious life gone too soon. You can donate to our non-profit by visiting our giving page found here.
There are many options within this gift category, and this is another area where your knowledge of your loved one will help ensure you make the right selection.
From this category, you could give:
- Hand-lettered or quote prints
- Memory boxes
- Picture frames
Jewelry is another special and personal way to honor a baby’s memory. Many mothers find comfort in wearing a necklace, bracelet, or ring bearing their baby’s memory.
I can personally attest to the comfort I find in the sweet and tender jewelry gifts people gave me or that I purchased for myself. I love that these pieces are often a conversation starter when I am out in public because it provides me the opportunity to share about the precious lives that changed mine. I did not stop being their mother when they died, and I love to honor them by sharing their lives and stories. The jewelry I was given has provided that opportunity more times than I can count, and I am incredibly grateful.
I love that these pieces are often a conversation starter when I am out in public because it provides me the opportunity to share about the precious lives that changed mine.
This is another gift where you will want to use your knowledge of your loved one to pick jewelry in keeping with their style and preference. You may also want to provide a gift card to the place of your choice so that the parent can choose their own item.
For men, jewelry may not be something they want or wear. However, many companies provide customized engravings for keychains or other commemorative items, so keep that in mind if you are struggling to come up with something for the father.
Some parents find it cathartic to write their feelings down after their diagnosis, during pregnancy, and following delivery and loss. This journey can blur and fade over time, so many parents want to journal their thoughts, feelings, and experiences for reference later or for sharing with living siblings or babies who come after loss.
Providing parents with a beautiful and personally chosen journal can empower and encourage them to document their journey. Just like many parents buy a baby book to document their experience during a pregnancy without a diagnosis, parents carrying to term may have that same desire. A journal can be another way for them to honor their parenthood and record memories they can reflect on for a lifetime.
Giving gifts is a deeply personal process, and the supportive nature of your desire to give to the grieving parents in your life is beautiful. My hope is that you feel confident in your ability to choose and deliver thoughtful gifts in honor of your precious baby. The heart behind the gift is what touches a grieving parent, and there is something deeply powerful about receiving a carefully chosen remembrance item. Through your gift, you are telling a parent that their baby is always loved and never forgotten.