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After a death, we have rituals to memorialize the lives of people we’ve lost–memorial services, wakes, etc. But after miscarriage, we usually mourn privately and in silence. Miscarriage memorials give us closure and provide a place to place our grief. Whether it’s creating a rituals, buying symbols to represent your loss like teddy bears or keepsake boxes, or buying someone miscarriage memorial gifts–these ideas will help grieving families.
There are so many ways to create miscarriage memorials, be it a funeral-like ritual or a symbol of loss. Miscarriage memorials bring a semblance of closure and are beneficial for your emotional health.
To help guide you through miscarriage grief, I’ll give ideas for the following types of miscarriage memorial that can provide support and comfort:
My Miscarriage Memorial
After pregnancy loss, parents often struggle with the intangibility of the experience.
There’s no funeral service, no t-shirt that smells like their child, no gravesite, no favorite teddy bear.
Parents might have a onesie they bought to announce their pregnancy, a positive pregnancy test, or maybe an ultrasound photo.
But rarely are we left with anything to physically hold onto. Just empty arms and a broken heart.
This is where rituals, memorials, and gifts come in.
We had a one-time miscarriage memorial service, like a funeral, on the due date of my first pregnancy. Unlike a funeral, however, it was a small, intimate affair between only Husband and me.
On June 17, 2016, Husband and I sat on the waterfront at sunset in Maine and lit 4 candles, one for each pregnancy lost.
Miscarriage Memorials Should Support Both Partners
Husband is of the quiet persuasion (it’s probably clear that I talk enough for us both), so we said nothing aloud.
We found a secluded spot on the coast and had a moment of silence for each of our little ones.
We chose candles as our memorial symbol. They lifted our unspoken words up to the skies so they could be heard by our angels.
I don’t know what Husband said in his moment, and I will never ask. I had my moment. He had his.
Then, we came together for our memorial. Eye contact confirmed we’d both silently said all we needed to say.
So we held the lighter together as we lit each candle and watched until they burned out in the wind.
These four same candles now sit on our bookshelf at home.
Miscarriage Memorial Services
Many families have miscarriage memorials soon after their losses. For some, this provides a more immediate sense of closure, although the grief can wax and wane over a lifetime.
What matters is not when a miscarriage memorial occurs, but that it honors the needs and the personalities of both partners.
Whether you’re planning your own ritual or buying a miscarriage memorial gift, honoring the loss parents is your main goal.
The suggestions below cover various types of miscarriage memorial to fit different needs of different families, personalities, and grieving styles.
Some are celebratory and group-oriented. Others are private, quiet, and introspective.
(1) Candle Lighting
Mine and husband’s candle lighting ceremony was just as it needed to be. Candle lighting is an intimate ceremony, and the best part is that you can decide what you want it to look like.
All you need are candles and a full heart.
(2) Send balloons into the sky
Many loss parents love this because it allows them to truly envision their little ones ascending into the Heavens, the universe, whatever they believe in. It can be private, or done among a support group of friends and family.
To keep it environmentally friendly, I like these biodegradable balloons.
(3) Have a lantern parade
Want to involve other people in your ritual and make it more a celebration? Buy a variety pack of paper lanterns and organize a small lantern parade with the people you love.
(4) Have a naming ceremony
Many people choose to name the children they lost, whether they knew the sex of the baby or not.
A lot of people use names they’d considered for children.
Others use mythical or fantasy names. I know a lot of angel babies named after constellations, living among the stars.
Again, this about what works for you.
Miscarriage Memorial Symbols
Creating symbols to remember your loss is extremely effective in helping parents manage their grief after pregnancy or infant loss.
A symbol provides a tangible way to mourn something abstract. Many are metaphorical symbols of life or loss that have significant meaning to the grieving parents.
(1) Plant a tree or flower
This is an especially good plan if you live somewhere you’ll be for a while, or permanently. And, of course, if you have a green thumb.
Some people plant one plant, tree, or flower bed.
Planting a small garden is also an idea–imagine walking out into your yard and being able to physically place your loss. Like many families visit a gravesite and leave flowers, having a space that represents flourishing life provides tremendous comfort to many families of miscarriage.
After my first loss, my friend Tessa sent me a small bush to plant. It was a beautiful idea, except that I have a black thumb (is that a thing?), and the bush’s life didn’t span much more time than my baby’s had.
(2) Create a memorial space in your home
I have a space on the bookshelf in my living room that I call my shrine.
There are 4 little wooden angels, all different sizes, that spoke to me the second I saw them. Behind them Is a piece of metalwork, crafted by a Haitian artist to represent the tree of life. In front of that “tree,” there are 4 candles, one honoring each of my angel babies. The same 4 we lit on the anniversary of my first due date in Maine.
(3) Miscarriage shadow box
A miscarriage shadow box is a wonderful miscarriage memorial that will fit in any home, no matter how much space you have.
Many people keep items from their pregnancies–pregnancy tests, the onesie they ran out to buy, ultrasound photos if they were far enough along to keep them.
Making a shadow box with these items can be a great addition to your home to help with remembering your baby.
(4) Miscarriage memorial box
If you don’t want your pregnancy tests to be visible, or you want to keep your memorabilia more private, use a miscarriage memorial box.
You can buy these, or build them yourself, if you’re crafty. I’m not crafty at all, so purchasing is always the way to go for me.
This is my favorite keepsake box for miscarriage. I love its message and beauty, as well as the privacy it provides. You can leave it on a bookshelf in your home, but visitors don’t see what lies inside.
I’ve had many parents report that the process of building the box was both individually cathartic and healing to the couple building it together.
One couple had the remains of their lost pregnancies cremated, so they worked together to build beautiful urns that hold the ashes.
Miscarriage tattoos are among the most common types of miscarriage memorial. I have no statistics to back that up, but I know so many loss mamas who have tattoos to honor their little ones.
Tattoos are a great way to honor your lost little ones because, in a way, it keeps them with you always. I’ve seen small stars, birds, angels, and the miscarriage heart symbol.
Then, there are larger representations, which are also lovely.
Memorial Gifts for Miscarriage
Miscarriage memorial gifts won’t take the pain away, but a thoughtful gift for a grieving family means so much. Ultimately, being gifted a memorial item can provide comfort and support for parents grieving the loss of a baby.
One day during pregnancy, I’d felt lonely in my new job, so I’d looked down and talked to my belly. “I’m not alone,” I said aloud. “You, darling, will be with me for 34 more weeks. During that time, I can never be alone.”
When I lost that baby, I felt so empty.
I needed something to hold, a token of some sort, and I wanted it to be something that was always with me.
Husband and I went to a jewelry store and picked out a pearl ring. In some cultures, pearl rings are bad omens, but a pearl would’ve been that baby’s birthstone, so to me, it felt like a tribute.
This piece of miscarriage jewelry provided me with immense comfort, like my little ones were always with me once again.
After my second loss, Husband asked hesitantly if he had to buy me more jewelry. No. This could go on for a while, I said (and it did), so that ring could represent them all.
And it did. A pearl is Jack’s birthstone too.
Obviously, jewelry can be a great gift, whether fancy or everyday.
Below are ideas for types of miscarriage jewelry, plus other miscarriage memorial gift ideas.
(1) Miscarriage Jewelry
Birthstone jewelry is an excellent miscarriage memorial gift. I chose a ring because I could easily wear it everyday.
Many mothers also report enjoying charm jewelry with birthstones. That way, if miscarriages continue, there’s room for additional remembrances without adding extra pieces of jewelry.
Custom Miscarriage Jewelry
If the parents have named the child they lost, memorial jewelry with that child’s name can be especially significant. I also love this option because it allows for additional pieces, whether honoring future losses or living children.
I personally love simple pieces, like these bangles, because you can wear as few or as many as you want.
(2) Miscarriage teddy bears
This one may seem silly, and perhaps obvious, but I love teddy bears as a miscarriage memorial gift.
Bears for families who are grieving give them something childlike to snuggle–they’re soft and warm, and the type of item their baby would’ve had, if it’d been born living.
Stephanie had a special teddy bear for each loss, and she did a photoshoot to commemorate them.
Angels are especially symbolic of loss. You may have noticed that I often refer to my lost little ones as my “angels” or “angel babies.”
This is common terminology in the miscarriage community, so as cheesy as it may seen, angels really are a beloved miscarriage memorial gift.
My angels are wooden, and are hand-maid by an artisan on the coast of Georgia. I stood breathless when I first saw them in a shop.
But the form of the angel isn’t important. Loss mom Stephanie Maksymiw was gifted crocheted angels, which she included in a photoshoot memorializing her losses.
Not a crocheter? Me either, but I love these sweet, soft crocheted angels.
(4) Name a star
Again, this may sound cheesy, but since many loss parents love to imagine their lost children are out there in the universe, this is a great one.
Regardless of religious beliefs–whether people believe their child is in Heaven, going to be reborn in another child, in the ether–the notion of a star watching over you is so comforting.
You can name a star at the Online Star Register.
After my third loss, my friend Tessa sent me this very simple piece of artwork. It’s nothing special, but it means the world to me. The thoughtfulness was incredible, and I can’t imagine the day when it won’t remain framed in my bedroom.
I won’t link to my favorite art for miscarriage, mostly because art is too personal.
Draw it yourself, find it on Etsy, or have an artistic friend make it for you. I promise your loved one will appreciate the personal touch.
What Was Your Miscarriage Memorial?
There are so many ways to memorialize a miscarriage that we didn’t touch on here. The important thing in choosing a miscarriage memorial or miscarriage memorial gift is keeping in mind the needs and personality of the recipient.
Remember, different people grieve differently. Make choices based on personal needs.
What did you do for your miscarriage memorial?
Other Miscarriage Gifts
- Books about miscarriage
- Miscarriage ornaments
- Gifts for parents who have lost a baby
- Rainbow baby gifts (for parents who are having a new child after miscarriage, stillbirth, or child loss)
Popular Articles About Miscarriage
- What to expect when miscarrying
- Fathers dealing with miscarriage
- Arden’s misoprostol experience
- Choosing not to attend a baby shower after miscarriage
- Katy’s blighted ovum story
- Types of miscarriage
Articles About Miscarriage Support
- How to deal with miscarriage (practical steps to take after miscarriage)
- What not to say to someone who had a miscarriage
- Helping a friend through a miscarriage
- What to do when your friend had a miscarriage and you’re pregnant
Katy Huie Harrison, PhD, is an author, mom, recurrent miscarriage survivor, & owner of Undefining Motherhood. She lives in Atlanta with her husband (affectionately known on the internet as “Husband,”) son (Jack), and dog (Charlotte). She believes our society puts too many expectations on women that make womanhood and motherhood restrictive. Her goal is to shift the paradigm about what it means to be a woman and mother, giving all women a greater sense of agency over their own lives. You can find Katy and her work featured in places like CNN’s Headline News, Romper, Scary Mommy, Demeter Press’s Motherhood and Social Exclusion, & more.