This page is intended to provide information and support following a pregnancy loss. For information about the death of an adult visit Grief Support Following the Death of a Loved One on UofMHealth.org. For information about the death of a child, visit Grief Support Upon the Death of a Child on MottChildren.org.
The only “right” way to remember your pregnancy is what feels right to you and your family. Losing a pregnancy can be devastating. You and your family may be overwhelmed by many powerful emotions and much confusion.
At this time, you are presented with a number of decisions to make which can be difficult. Our medical and social work staff are available to help answer your questions. We are aware that families vary widely in how they experience pregnancy loss. For some it is the death of a son or daughter and the loss of a future. For others, it may solely be the loss of a pregnancy. There is no right or single path for families to follow.
When You Are in the Hospital
While it is necessary that we follow legal and hospital procedures, our goal is to be as supportive as possible. If you are in the hospital, your decisions may include:
Memorial Ideas Shared by Families
Some families share that it is meaningful for them to acknowledge and honor the life they were anticipating. The following are some ideas families have shared that were helpful to them in mourning their loss. These ideas may feel like something you would like to consider or may help you think of something unique and special for your family to do.
- Plant a tree in a special place
- Hold a butterfly release
- Select wind chimes in honor of your baby which you can hear play in the breeze
- Make a quilt or other handmade comfort item
- Create a memory book
- Create and decorate paper boats and place in a river, stream or other body of water for them to float away while people are gathered together talking about this shared loss
- Have a gathering on what was the pregnancy due date
- Volunteer to work for meaningful organizations
- Donate children’s books to a library with a certificate on the inside sharing why this book was chosen
- Have a journal at family events and encourage family members to write messages regarding wishes they had, feelings they have about this los
- Meditate in a peaceful place
Attend Our Special Memorial Event
A Walk to Remember and Tree-Planting Memorial: Non-denominational memorial service used as a time for families and friends to join with other who share a similar journey; a time to come together to honor hopes, dreams and memories held each October during National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
“In Honor of” Donations
Friends, family, and others in the community may wish to make a charitable donation in honor of you and your loss. Many families’ direct donations to non-profit organizations that represent the values or interests of their family.
You can also direct donations to a specific department or program of your choosing at Michigan Medicine. The staff at the Office of Medical Development (734-998-6893) would be honored to help you choose an appropriate memorial fund. Donations can be made to provide services to other families struggling with illness or loss, support nursing units, social work, spiritual care, medical research, or the general fund among others.
Getting through Special Days and Holidays
Holiday and birthday celebrations are traditionally known for joy and laughter. For those who are grieving, however, they may be particularly painful and they may even feel inappropriate.
The demands of grief require extra physical and emotional energy which may leave you unable to deal with excessive demands these times can bring. When these days come, think about ways you can care for yourself:
Talk about your fears and share your feelings about the upcoming holiday with your friends and family.
The Office of Decedent Affairs (ODA) is part of the Michigan Medicine Department of Social Work. The ODA is the centralized point of contact at Michigan Medicine for ongoing questions and concerns before, during, and after the death of a loved one. The Children’s and Women’s Bereavement Program is part of ODA.