On October 15th we celebrate Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. The date marks the end of Baby Loss Awareness Week which is celebrated each year from October 9th to 15th. On that day, families around the world take part in the annual Wave of Light celebration. This is one way that families around the globe remember and celebrate the life of their loved one. However, there are countless ways that families can choose to remember their babies who were here for only a while. I spent a lot of time thinking of ways that my family could celebrate together this year, especially now that my rainbow babies are getting older. After reading everything I could find, I compiled a list of 10 suggested ways that families like mine could mark the day together, along with a list of items you may need. Again, there are so many ways that this can be done and I encourage everyone to do what is best for them and their families.

  1. Wave of Light


                                                                    Picture courtesy lesiesworld.wordpress.com

What is it?

On October 15th, at 7pm (local time) families light a candle for 1 hour to bring awareness to the epidemic of pregnancy and infant loss as well as to remember their loved one(s). The idea being that for one day, all around the world there would be a constant wave of light.  Candle lighting can be done at home in private or along with other families at a public wave of light. An extension to this is the Digital Wave of Light where families are invited to take a picture of their candle or their family lighting the candle and post to social media using the hashtag #waveoflight.

What do you need?

  • ·         A candle (wax, electric or digital)
  • ·         Ultrasounds or picture of the child(ren)
  • ·         A meeting space (if being done in a group)
  • ·         A camera to capture the moment (optional)


  1. Balloon release

                                                                    Picture courtesy www.giantcards.co.uk

What is it?

Families attach notes to balloons and release them into the sky as a way to say goodbye to the babies or as a sign of their eternal love for the baby no longer in the world.

What do you need?

  • ·         Balloons
  • ·         Writing material
  • ·         String



There is some concern about the environmental impact of this method, particularly on wildlife. You can read more ab out that here: https://www.independent.ie/irish-news/environmental-group-welcomes-cancellation-of-lethal-charity-balloon-release-35025158.html . Alternatives to balloon releases include using  bio-degradable balloons, flying kites and blowing huge bubbles (which might add a lot of laughter to the event). In which case you would need:

  • Kites
  • Bubbles and blowers


  1.  Accessing support

                            top-image                       Picture courtesy www.alexandrahouse.org

What is it?

It is exactly as it sounds. For many people the loss was so great that even the thought of speaking to another person was too much. The day of remembrance is a good time to reach out and access support systems and help. It is a day when people all around the world are openly discussing their loss and provides the perfect opportunity for families to begin dialogues either among themselves or with other families.

What do you need?

  • Names and numbers of local and international organizations that work with families after loss. Resources like https://www.babycenter.com/ can assist.  Also doctors and health care professionals should be able to give referrals to support groups. And finally, there are countless online support groups on Facebook such as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Group and Miscarriage, Pregnancy Loss and Infant Loss Support Group that can give information and support.


  1. Memory boxes

                                             Baby Box                                            Picture courtesy www.therealisticmama.com

 What is it?

It is a place to organize keepsakes from the time spent with your baby either during your pregnancy in the case of miscarriages or the precious moment you had with your child in cases of infant loss.  The boxes can be store bought or handmade and decorated. They can be filled with ultrasounds or pictures, keepsakes like socks and hair bows and even letters to your baby. Memory boxes can be a great way to involve other children in the family in the event.

What do you need?

  • ·         A box (obviously)
  • ·         Keepsakes and trinkets
  • ·         Pictures and ultrasounds
  • ·         Birth announcements
  • ·         Birth certificates
  • ·         Certificates of Life
  • ·         Funeral programs
  • ·         Condolences card
  • ·         Gifts from older siblings
  • ·         Books or toys
  • ·         Receiving blanket                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              5.        Jewelry and Keepsakes

                                                                                   Picture courtesy specialCanmade

What is it?

Any wearable art or trinket that represents the idea of pregnancy and infant loss. You can purchase or make the jewelry or keepsake. Some ideas include necklaces, candles, bracelets, rings, and Christmas tree ornaments to name a few. This is another great way to involve siblings in the event.

What do you need?

  • ·         Craft or jewelry supplies
  • ·         Pendants and trinkets
  • ·         Creativity and love


  1. Make a donation

                                                                                                                     Picture courtesy now.tufts.edu

What is it?

Families use their experiences with loss to become advocates for other children and families facing similar challenges. There are many organizations that work tirelessly to fight childhood diseases such as cancer. Other families may choose to help alleviate the pain of other children living in difficult circumstances. Whether you give money to scientific or social programs, making donations to a trusted organization and improving the life of other children can go a long way to bring healing to grieving families. It is also important to note that volunteering time to organizations and hospitals is also practical and much needed commodity.

What do you need?

  • ·         A trusted organization
  • ·         A clear idea of how you can realistically give back


  1. Planting a tree

Image result for planting a tree

Picture courtesy www.woodlandtrust.org.uk

What is it?

Planting trees has long been use to represent the life-long love and commitment parents feel for their children and the death of a child does little to take away those feelings. A tree which is a growing thing that needs care and nurturing can be a good way for families to work through their loss. Plus, planting trees is a good way to give back to the earth and can represent all the good the baby did during its time on earth.

What do you need?

  • ·         Space for planting
  • ·         Seedlings
  • ·         Dedication Plaque (optional)
  1. Having a discussion with sunshine babies and rainbow babies about their sibling(s)


                                                                                  Pictures courtesy www.abusidiqu.com

What is it?

A guided discussion about the child who has passed with sunshine babies (children born before the loss) and rainbow babies (children born after the loss). Older children may have memories of their own about the sibling or of the pregnancy. Babies born after may have tons of questions about the experience. It may help to do some research on talking to children about death. Either way, this should a safe and open discussion.

Articles like the two listed below should help:


hat do you need?

  • ·         Time (this conversation should not be rushed)
  • ·         A quiet space
  • ·         A list of expected questions  and answers


  1. Create a new family traditionIMG_6128.jpg                                                                                                 Picture courtesy cfm.org

What is it?

Again, this is as the name suggest. Gather family and friends and create a new tradition. Maybe the child who passed loved the beach, so you could head to the beach and do the wave of light there. Or maybe have all the siblings put a suggestion for an activity in a hat and each year you pick a different way to celebrate. The idea is that families spend time together in honor of the baby/child.

What do you need?

This would largely depend on the activity but a few items come to mind like

  • ·         A full tank of gas
  • ·         Snacks
  • ·         Camera to capture the memories
  1. Openly mourn your lossPicture courtesy images.wisegeek.com

What is it?

The strength it takes to not only survive but to thrive following this kind of loss is unmatched. Every day families put on a brave face, or smile at strangers, go to work or school and go about their daily lives. They breathe through grief and talk themselves out of bed in the morning and force themselves to be strong. Maybe October 15th gives all families one day to openly mourn the child they have lost. For one day, no one will judge you for crying it out or talking about your loss. For one day you can sleep in (if you need to) or call in sick from work. Maybe for one day you do not have to be strong. Maybe the strongest thing you could do is allow yourself space and time to mourn all that has happened to you. You can and you will be strong again on October 16th.

What do you need?

  • ·         A safe space
  • ·         Tissues
  • ·         Understanding and support from family and friends

So whether you and your family choose to do something or nothing at all on October 15th, it is a day that has been set aside to pay tribute to the life that you loved and lost. However you spend it, know that for one day you are not alone in your grief and that all over the world there are people who make up one of the strongest communities on earth.

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