“No parent can ever imagine having to be told that their baby has died at a stage where they are preparing for a life with their newborn. The shock and numbness is unimaginable. We can guide parents through this tragic but most precious time by gathering these items to create a Memory Box, which will provide forever timeless memories.
The way that we approach families, and the way that we help them to make memories is incredibly important; even the smallest gesture can mean the world. Our job is to empower parents, to take away their fear if we can by encouraging them to hold and cuddle their newborn and create memories that can never be taken away. Each time a parent looks into their Memory Box, we want it to be full of memories; time spent with their baby, time creating the clay imprint kits, inkless certificates, making hand and foot prints together, taking photos together. A Memory Box is often described as a parent’s most treasured possession.”
Who knew me and Steven would ever come to just realise how true those words above would be. Just how important it was for us to have listened to the midwives when they told us to spend time with our daughter, creating some of the only memories we would ever have with her. I cant even begin to tell you just how wrong It felt to be told in that moment we found out her little heart had stopped that after Francesca was born that we would get to spend time with her doing things that “normal parents” get to do only it wasn’t “normal”!. Nothing about that god awful day was normal! I cant describe the pain, shock , numbness and if I’m honest the fear of meeting my much longed for daughter who would never open her eyes. I felt It was a cruel joke. How could I be expected to lay beside my baby girl, taking pictures, bathing her, talking to her like I had pictured in my mind so many times over the last 41 weeks. This was supposed to be the day that our family was completed not ripped so brutally apart … I felt I had failed her and I didn’t deserve to have those memories so I shut down.
After she was born silently into the room, there was no sound , no crying baby placed onto my chest, just the most heartbreaking empty feeling any human being could ever withstand. The room that was filled with Drs emptied and all that was left was just a broken mummy, daddy and angelic baby girl. I was terrified to look , I didn’t know if my heart could take it,but I did and in that moment where I held my beautiful little angel I loved her more than words and knew then that this little baby girl deserved the world and since we couldn’t give her that then it only felt right to create those memories with her before we had to let her go.
“Parents will never forget being encouraged and empowered to create their Memory Box; to be supported in making their baby’s imprints, for them to choose and cut where the wisp of hair comes from, supporting parents to write a message in their “Just to Say” card and encouraging them to take pictures of their baby and spend time with them. You are helping to create the most precious memories which will be remembered each time the box is opened, and treasured for a lifetime.”
I was very ill and in complete shock after the labour so i’m forever proud of Steven for being able to help the midwives create the items in our box. They took hand and foot casts, bathed her, held her, cuddled her, dressed her, took locks of her beautiful dark brown hair, and took the only pictures we have of our little bumpy chops. The only proof she really existed. She was then gently laid in her cold cot beside me where we spent a full day and night with her. Our family visited and met our daughter and we then had a special blessing for her in the ward before we kissed her goodbye for one final time. We left her behind as we walked out the hospital alone and the realisation that the life we had planned for our much wanted baby girl was gone in its place lay a little box full of things.
The weeks passed in a blur of sadness and we couldn’t really wrap our heads around anything at the time. If I’m honest I couldn’t even look in the memory box for maybe around 2 months. I just couldn’t handle the pain. I couldn’t even look at pictures of Francesca for weeks afterwards. I knew Steven looked inside it often though. When the time came and I opened her little box I felt the biggest sense of comfort you can imagine. I wasn’t expecting the rush of love and emotion that hit me and still does every time I look inside. It hit me hard the regret I would have had should I have not listened to the midwives when they pushed us to have that time with our daughter. I cant imagine a world without this little box. We keep lots of things inside like her little nappy, towel, the bar of soap she was bathed with, hospital bands, the measuring tape they used to let us know how long she was. Over the last year that little box has grown and more special items have been placed in there. That’s the beauty of it. She may not be with us but we have a place to hold her memories and add to it.
“By gifting a Memory Box to parents and treating their baby as an individual you are helping to break the fear and taboo that can be associated with miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death.”
Now that little box is our everything. When times get too hard to cope we have it there as our little part of Francesca. Its always there whether we want to spend time with it together or individually and I really cant imagine a world without it. And as the quote above says , it really truly is our most treasured possession.
We are proud to support SIMBA Charity and can never thank them enough for the memories they have given us. They do many more things to support grieving families all of which you can find on their website https://www.simbacharity.org.uk/ .I have included some additional information below If you would like to find out more about the extremely meaningful work the wonderful Simba Charity does then please have a look at the link below.
As Always for Francesca and Leo xxx
Pregnancy can be one of the most wondrous experiences for a woman. Many women bond with their babies early on in pregnancy, especially when they feel the baby’s first movements and their own bodies begin to show the first signs of the life inside of them. When a woman loses a baby during pregnancy and around the time of birth it can be a very traumatic experience for her, her partner and others close to them.
SiMBA has been supported in its fundraising efforts by many individuals, organisations and businesses. The families who have suffered the loss of a baby have been instrumental in their support and SiMBA endeavour to be ‘reactive’ to their needs. SiMBA was founded by a team of dedicated individuals in October 2005 in response to the needs of those affected by the loss of a baby during pregnancy or close to the time of birth. SiMBA was officially registered as a Scottish Charity in 2007.
We offer a range of support and services;
We donate Memory Boxes to help families to gather precious items of the time that they have to spend with their baby. We refurbish Family Rooms giving families and peaceful homely place in the hospital to send time with their baby.
In conjunction with CHAS we offer free advanced bereavement and palliative care study days for midwives and hospital staff. Adding a leaf onto our Tree of Tranquillity shows parents that they are not alone in their loss and acts as a place to remember and reflect.
We also offer monthly bereavement support groups across Scotland, 24 hour online support and we organise family friendly awareness events throughout the year.
Scottish Registered Charity Number: SC038243
SIMBA provide memory boxes for all babies of any gestation
Our middle sized Memory Box is recommended to create memories with a baby who has died at 14 – 24 weeks of pregnancy
Our large sized Memory Box is recommended to create memories with a baby who has died over 24 weeks of pregnancy and in to the neonatal period.
What’s in a Memory Box?
Our Memory Boxes are donated to hospitals and hospices so they can then be gifted to parents and also gifted to individuals on request. Each Memory Box will arrive fully made up and sealed. Every Memory Box is made up by a SiMBA volunteer and prepared with care and attention. Each contains a feedback card to be returned to us so that we can continually look to improve our services.