As you know, the Caring Cradle is a device that cools the body of a baby immediately following stillbirth. The facts are that the changes a baby’s body goes through may be difficult to view or manage.
The Caring Cradle can slow those changes down which then slows the need to separate the family and the baby. In effect, the family can spend more time with their baby. Immediately following the loss, ‘more time’ is what mothers and families say is so important to them.
And what do these mothers and families do during this extra time afforded to them by using a Caring Cradle?
They hold their baby, they weep, they snuggle their baby. They look at their baby. They take in every feature so they will always remember and never forget.
During this extra time, most mothers and families create memories to take with them – like photos and imprints of tiny hands and feet. We don’t know how these families have the presence of mind, amid this heartbreak, to think of these things, but they do. They know they will need these memories to help them in their grief journey later on.
Some other things families may do:
They take photos of their babies. While some mothers worry about how their baby may ‘look’, Caring Cradle says all babies are beautiful and we welcome all photos.
They take family photos. Some hospitals have local companies and/or photographers who will come to the room and take these special photos. Many families bring older children in to meet and say goodbye to their sibling. It is not uncommon to see family photos. Some take sibling photos. One forgotten group of those who mourn the loss of a baby are siblings.
And even with the loss, families smile in some of their photos because they know this is the only time they will have all their children together. They smile because they want to find a moment to celebrate. They smile because they want to save the memory of the moment. They smile because of love.
It is not uncommon for families of faith to receive visits from their clergy to provide spiritual support and words of encouragement. Some perform private ceremonies that are aligned with their faith and bring comfort and assurance.
Some hospitals have gifts left by families who previously experienced this loss. Those families make small packages for new families, usually including a note of support. The packages may have a keepsake or a gift. Families who have lost a child to stillbirth have big beautiful hearts and never cease to give.
Families might create a memory box to hold photos or memorabilia
Parents may write a poem
Keeping a headstone updated with visits by the family may be their habit
They hold memorial services
They wear jewelry with their baby’s name on it
Create a dedicated space in the home with photos and memorabilia
Light a candle
Create a playlist of music
Donate in their baby’s name
The importance of this time seems self-explanatory: families want to make memories. And if anyone doubts the importance of this gift of time, just ask the families!
Stillbirth families and parents leave with empty arms and broken hearts. At the least, ‘more time’ allows for opportunities to build memories. Whatever families ‘take’ with them comes out of that extra time.
Caring Cradles are generally given in two ways: by families who purchase a Caring Cradle and then donate it to a hospital, or hospitals whose decision-makers become educated on the importance of providing exceptional care and compassion to families during this time.
Extra time is not counted as a luxury. Parents routinely tell us they don’t know where they would be if they hadn’t had that time to create some memories. And the families who did not get the ‘extra time’ will often associate that with a harder grief journey.
Caring Cradle believes that what we provide ‘more time’ helps families begin their grief journey. Any memories created during the extra time are treated with care, love, and respect.
You need only look on the social media of any of these families and you will most likely see something they created during that extra time.
We invite families to post a photo or a comment sharing a memory they created during the ‘extra time’ the Caring Cradle helped to provide. And if you are a family, a parent, a sibling, who did not get that time to say goodbye, we grieve that loss with you. We honor your love and the extra loss you carry.