Information about Infant Bereavement and Loss
According to our research in 1998 when we began this program, every
year in the United States approximately 40,000 infants are stillborn.
In the state of California in 1995, 3,478 children died before 11 months
of age. Infant loss is now much better documented and we know this number
is actually far greater than previously documented.
This project is for the families left behind. In our research for this project we talked to many people; mothers, hospitals, care givers and support groups. The one message they all brought to us was this: the thing the parents most seek after the death of an infant is an acknowledgment of the child's life. It may have only been a few moments, or it may have been months. They cling to the precious seconds they shared with the child.
The family often feels abandoned when a child dies because people do not know what to say. Sometimes people are uncomfortable dealing with death. The families are told "it was for the best", "you will get over it", or "you will have another baby" -- and while all of these things are true, they add to the grief the family feels at the time.
We cannot hope to help these families through the tremendous loss,
but we can give them a small gift to hold the things that touched their
child; the birth certificate, crib card, bonnet or cap, gown, wrist
band, foot and hand print, etc. This is the purpose of the Memory Box
We have screened all of the participating hospitals to guarantee they have infant bereavement programs in place. Many hospitals do not have a program. When you prepare your boxes you will be given the name of the hospital, and exact information on where and whom to address the box to so we can guarantee the boxes are used as intended.
If you choose to participate in this project, you will be creating a keepsake box the family may keep for generations. At the least, it will be a treasured keepsake for a family who has few mementos of a too-brief life. We think this is a very worthy project and are proud to be a part of it.