Couples Care for Stillborn Babies for Weeks While Grieving, & We Need to Be OK With That

When Chrissy Teigen lost her baby Jack last week, some disapproved of the fact that both she and her mother shared pictures of themselves holding him. These people may be surprised to learn that some parents go further when they grieve a stillborn baby and visit and hold it for days or weeks. With October being the month of pregnancy and child loss awareness, we want to help spread the word that this is one of many ways to mourn and remember a miscarriage or a stillborn child.
"She was a full-grown baby and I always thought she was going to wake up any minute," British mom Jess Mayall told the Sun of her stillborn daughter Ava. At her hospital in the UK, she was able to keep Ava in a refrigerator called the CuddleCot for two weeks. That meant she and her partner could hold her, take pictures with her, and even take her for a walk in a stroller to say goodbye.
“The hospice was a lifesaver for us,” Mayall said. "The support they offered us really changed our experience and we're so glad we had two weeks of memories with her before we retired."
This is a practice that some bereavement loss hospitals and pregnancy loss organizations have recommended, and sometimes even suggest, that they bring the baby home for a short period of time. While in the UK most hospitals have CuddleCots, there are parents and others hoping to bring more of them to the US, where parents often can't even see or hold their children after losing them.
However, the prospect of having and caring for a deceased child is not for everyone. We hope that we can help normalize many ways of dealing with this tragedy. Here are some other ways to grieve and remember about pregnancy and child loss:
Seek the help of a doula. BirthWaves.org has doulas in five states to help parents deliver a stillborn child, as well as all the difficult things that come home after their return, from lactation support to funeral, for free.
Hire a photographer who is familiar with funeral photos or take photos yourself.
Take an ultrasound image or create art with your footprint.
Buy a bespoke Molly Bear to fit your baby's weight.
Fill out a special baby book.
Create a custom book that you and your other children can read together.
Make a storage box.
Contact a local or online support group.
Share your feelings with friends and family. Nobody has to go through this alone. You may also be surprised to learn that someone close to you has suffered from a miscarriage or stillbirth without telling anyone until you do.
Read about other great ideas from Still Standing magazine.
These other famous parents were open to miscarriages.
Start gallery: Chrissy Teigen & More celebrity mothers who were honest about miscarriages - because it matters
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