Marking the loss, making memories
Aim to offer all women and partners information about possibilities for marking their loss or creating memories, while respecting that not everyone will want to do this.
Women and partners tell us they can feel that they have no right to make memories because they have made the decision to end their pregnancy.
What do we need to do?
- All women and partners regardless of gestation should be sensitively offered the opportunity to mark their loss and create memories.
- Do not make assumptions about what women and partners may want based on the gestation of their pregnancy, the anomaly diagnosed or the decision to end their pregnancy.
- Give women and partners time to reflect and decide what they want.
- Let women and partners know they can change their mind but respect a decision when one has been made.
- Consider the gestational age and condition of the baby when offering options and discuss ways of marking the loss and making memories e.g. scan photos.
- Acknowledge where there are no physical remains and be aware of how this may affect opportunities for memory making, if this is something they would like to do.
- Offer women and partners the opportunity to see and hold their baby. If women and partners are uncertain, offer to describe the baby’s appearance first.
- Complete the informed choice form to ensure women and partners are provided with options, but do not feel pressured - a template form Creating memories – offering choices is available.
- Options to discuss with women and partners, if appropriate:
- washing and dressing the baby
- hand and footprints
- certificate of loss - a template certificate is available.
- memory box
- other mementos.
- Where there is a death from a multiple pregnancy, discuss with women and partners the options around marking loss and memory making. Offer to use the ‘Butterfly Sticker’, available from the Twins Trust, and ensure staff recognise this as identifying women and partners of a surviving baby who have suffered the loss of a baby/babies from a multiple pregnancy.
How will we know we have achieved our aim?
Women and partners will tell us they were offered information on marking loss and making memories sensitively and their wishes were respected.
Staff will say they feel confident and competent when offering and discussing possibilities for marking loss and making memories, and able to do so without making assumptions or imposing their own values.