Baby Loss Memory Boxes

Featured

Donate Button with Credit Cards

It’s been a long time coming but I’ve finally put together information about the baby loss memory boxes I’ve been making in memory of my children in Heaven. Many have been asking for details so here they are! I’m excited to share this with you.

I don’t have the words to fully explain what it’s like to give birth to three beautiful children and watch them die in your arms. Mommy misses you Alice, Elliot and Alexis. This is a pain nobody should have to endure and yet too many do. Although I received some of the most beautiful clothes and blankets for my children (thank you Threads of Love) not everyone is blessed with these gifts for their children. I’m forever grateful for what I received yet after meeting other loss parents I realized that there were so many resources that could have helped me during the most painful time of my life. I wanted to give back in memory of Alice, Elliot and Alexis and try to fill the empty arms of other parents leaving that silent hospital room.

BabyLossMemoryBoxes_BWM

It started with five bags donated on my triplets’ first birthday. I knit a blanket for each similar to the one I had received. I added some soft kleenex, a candle and a few beautiful loss books. Months later I found a sale on photo boxes at Michaels. I had purchased a similar box for my babies’ keepsakes before their funeral. I filled my cart with boxes. I stumbled upon some beautiful ceramic birds and had to have them. I added ribbon, stickers, flower seeds, photo albums and candles to my cart and checked out of the store that day with a mission and hope that I could help another grieving heart.

I started building my boxes and was blessed with help from my friends at church. We gathered one evening and put them all together with love and prayer for each life that those boxes represented. I was able to include the loss book Empty Arms thanks to a donation from author Sherokee Ilse (thank you!). I donated fifteen boxes (including several for multiples like my children) to the hospital where my babies were delivered in time for the one year anniversary of their due date.

Johnson&Johnson_1_BWM

Months later I kept knitting and gathering supplies for more boxes. My sister-in-law Amy graciously offered to make flannel blankets and purchased many of the supplies for the next donation. I came across a video that another beautiful loss mom, Carly Marie from Australia made to show how she makes her memory boxes. Feel free to watch if you’re interested in doing this in your area! She had moisturizer on her list of items to include. What a beautiful idea to have a scent connected with the memory of your child (for me it’s the soap my dear friend had given me for the hospital room while I was on bed rest).

Johnsons_lotion_BWM

I reached out to Emilie, creator of Baby Loving Mama and JOHNSON’S® BABY CARES Council member. She contacted Johnson & Johnson with a request for small lotion bottles in their lavender scent. I was so honored to learn that they’d be willing to send a donation for my memory boxes!

Johnsons_washcloths_BWM

Not only did they send small lotion bottles, they sent some of their disposable washcloths. I didn’t feel like they were quite right for my boxes so I had the opportunity to donate them to our local Lutheran Social Services Crisis Nursery here in Duluth, MN.

CrisisNursery_clothing-room_BWM

The LSS Crisis Nursery is an early intervention service committed to keeping children safe by providing support services to families and emergency care for children during times of family crisis.

Thank you to all of the family and friends who have helped me put these memory boxes together. Thank you Johnson & Johnson for giving the gift of a beautiful scent to the memories of these grieving parents. I hope you’ll consider continuing this beautiful gift in the future.

Make A Difference : How You Can Help

Tax Deductible Donations:

Have you suffered the devastating loss of a child? I’m so sorry if you have. If you’re able to give $20 (or more), I’d be honored to create a memory box to be donated in memory of a child/ren you’ve lost. Consider making a donation below with a simple click and include the name of your child in the notes. Lindsey Henke from Stillborn and Still Breathing sponsored the beautiful box below for her daughter Nora and even sent a hand written card to be included in the box.

Donate Button with Credit Cards

BlessedWithMore_MemoryBox

This project is fiscally sponsored by Star Legacy Foundation (a non-profit dedicated to stillbirth research and education) and your donations are tax deductible! I’m hoping to include grief resource books in the future if you’re willing to consider a larger donation for this. Of course if you’re more of a hands-on person you can make some memory boxes of your own and contact your local hospital to drop them off. It’s been a beautifully healing process for me.

Materials Donations:

If you’re in touch with other sponsors (such as the Johnson & Johnson lotion) who might be willing to donate materials or items for these boxes please contact me. I’m also looking for the following items to be included in boxes. Each box is unique but please consider buying in quantities.

  • Good quality photo boxes (I buy mine at Michaels and try to chose a beautiful pattern appropriate for loss. I love the butterflies!)
  • Hand knit/crocheted baby blankets, hats and burial gowns of varying sizes from about 20 weeks to full term (Here is more information from Star Legacy as well as premie sizing and some patterns.) Keep them soft and flexible fabric/yarn. Consider a stretchy or rolled/folded edge on hats so they can be adjusted easily. Gender specific/neutral colors are welcome.
  • Flannel blankets. These can be either store bought or hand sewn. I include as small as 17″x17″ up to full term size. Keep them soft and thin so they can be swaddled and folded if necessary. Please keep fabrics appropriate with small patterns and soft colors so they don’t distract from baby in pictures. Remember this is likely the only item they’ll be photographed in apart from a gown.
  • Sturdy ceramic birds, wooden butterflies/dragonflies or memorial items such as angels.
  • Soothing or unscented candles. Please keep them votive size if possible and enclose in a plastic bag if shipping with fabrics.
  • Forget-me-not flower seed packets. *We’re heading into the winter months and I’m having trouble finding these right now.
  • Small photo albums to encourage families to take pictures.
  • Small stuffed animal.
  • Small soothing lotion.

Please contact me here if you’re able to make a materials donation of any kind.

Remember Your Hospitals:

I fully recognize this is about more than my children and the hospitals in my area. If you’re feeling inspired and want to give back, find a group of friends and consider doing this for a hospital near you! It’s often the smallest gifts that mean the most.

____________________________________________________________________________

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post. All thoughts remain my own. To read more about Emilie and Johnson’s Baby Cares council visit her blog Baby Loving Mama.

You Came Back To Me

One of the sessions at the 2014 Stillbirth Summit was a free writing workshop. After such an intense few days of medical research and information I was ready for a creative release. Although I’ve enjoyed writing for quite some time I haven’t really sat down in a creative sense since my days in college. I was shocked at how incredibly freeing it was. I was more shocked at how special it was to write TO my children.

We were asked to read the poem Beloved by Toni Morrison and write in response to a single line that spoke to us. The intention here was to write without ceasing or thought. Simply let the words pour out of you and then step back and see what you have. No editing. No picking apart. Just living with the words that came.

The line that I chose to respond to was, “You came back to me.” This is what came of that session.

You Came Back To Me
by Janelle Wourms

You came back to me.
You were lost and I was lost with you for what felt like forever.
The fog came in and darkened my door.
Closed inside.
Dark.
Alone.
Where are you?
I need you.

The clouds broke one day from the corner window with the shade pulled tight.
Do I open it?
Are you there?
Can I find you once again?

My eternal hope sees you in my arms wrapped tightly.
Safe.
Warm.
Encircled in sunshine.
My break from the storm.

I step out into the darkened door and look for you.
Moments slip by and I see you in ways I never imagined.
The dragonfly darting by.
Three birds on a wire.
Fresh strawberries.
The warm sun on my face.

Wait.
There it is.
Light.
Hope.
The replacing warmth of your memory.
The pieces, fragmented still, but becoming clear.

Walking from the fog and grasping for your hand.
You are there.
You are there.
You are here.
You came back to me.

Butterfly Boxes by Aiden’s Wings

I’m honored to share another beautiful project in memory of a child gone too soon. My friend Jackie Sondrol (brought together through our mutual loss) recently started making these amazing Butterfly Boxes for women who suffer a miscarriage. I’ve felt so called to do something for all forms of baby loss but with the numbers in a larger city it’s a daunting task. Jackie, however, works in a little hospital in Deer River, MN. The smaller facility makes it possible for her to reach more people on every level and I just love that she’s reached out in this way to honor her son Aiden.

ButteflyBoxes_1

Jackie has also started a Facebook page, Aiden’s Wings of Awareness, to draw attention to information surrounding the loss of babies. I’d love for you to check it out.

Great work Jackie! I’m so proud to call you a friend and honored that we’ve been able to work together to help families in Northern Minnesota.

Read more about Jackie and her inspiration below.

If you’d like to donate to this project please use the Baby Loss Memory Box donation link on my home page and be sure to specific “Butterfly Boxes” in the notes field.

Butterfly Boxes by Aiden’s Wings

ButterflyBoxesbyAidensWingsofAwareness_web
My inspiration behind these boxes came from a wonderful woman, whom I work with, that expressed to me the desire to provide mothers who have had to endure the pain of losing their baby to miscarriage with a remembrance memento.
My passion in bringing this idea to life came from my own son, Aiden, who was stillborn on August 20, 2013. Not a day goes by that we don’t miss our sweet baby boy. I am proud to be Aiden’s Mommy and grateful by how his life has touched so many already.
It is my hope that these mementos will offer families hope, healing and most importantly, to know that their baby is loved, honored and always remembered.
“Every life, no matter how fragile or brief, forever changes the world.” -Author Unknown
ButteflyBoxes_2

Bittersweet Valentine’s Day

Image

Two years ago today – Valentine’s Day 2012 was a bittersweet day. Ten days prior we said goodbye to our sweet babies. Three days prior we had their memorial service. To say I wasn’t in a celebratory mood was an understatement. Our friends from church were getting together for a couples’ night out at one of our favorite restaurants and we were invited. These friends that felt like family. These friends who helped ensure our memorial service was perfectly prepared. These friends who had planned baby showers and then cancelled them upon my request. Who delivered care packages and surrounded us with comfort during a time when that seemed like a foreign word.

I remember digging through my drawers trying to find something to wear. Something that made me feel like me again. The old me. The me who enjoyed dinner parties and drinks with friends. The me who didn’t have five dead babies. I didn’t realize then that no matter how hard I tried to find her – she had forever changed.

Two weeks prior I was so proud of the weight I had gained. I gained it for my babies. I dedicated my days to filling my body with nutrition and calories to make strong bodies for the precious lives I carried. Now it was just fat. A reminder of what I didn’t have. I pulled on the one nice pair of maternity jeans I owned. Maternity jeans. Those are for women who are pregnant. A cruel reminder that I wasn’t. I found a soft sweater that my friend Natalie gave me. I remember always being so cold. I was used to sharing my tummy with three, warm little ones.

I sat at the table and felt like I was most positively ruining any joy that my friends would have had. I felt like a burden … not because of anything anyone there did or didn’t do/say … simply because I felt it was unfair to expect these wonderful friends to give even more of themselves for my sake that night. I felt like the elephant in the room. But I was there. I was proud of that somehow too.

I practiced living. I tried smiling. I talked about the weather. I asked how others were doing. I tried to respond genuinely when asked how I was doing. I tried. I practiced living among people who made that a safe place for me.

Two years later it’s hard for me to realize how much true joy I have in my life. There were days I was sure it would never come. Despite the love I knew had multiplied in my heart with the birth of my children, grief was delivered that day as well. Grief that overshadowed that love too many days to count. The comparative today is bittersweet. Lunch with my husband. A butterfly balloon and treat bag for my beautiful Nora. Smiles. Love – for all I have and for all I’ve had – for hope – for the new me regardless of how I got here.

I’m thankful for the love my friends showed me on a day when I had a hard time finding it on my own.