At Sands, we believe that parents facing the death of a baby in pregnancy or shortly after birth need to be cared for with compassion, patience and understanding. Expectant families who are not able to bring a living child home benefit from being supported as they develop a new and different relationship with their baby.
When a baby dies, there may be little visible evidence of their time with its parents, family and loved ones. Memory boxes are an important part of many bereaved parents’ journey, since they are a special place for families to store meaningful items they have collected through their baby’s pregnancy, birth and in the years that follow.
Sands memory boxes are a fundamental tool for professionals to deliver good bereavement care, because they help families to establish a positive connection with their babies by utilising the items inside to record details, produce physical evidence of their babies’ lives and start forging a parental bond that will endure after saying goodbye.
Sands memory boxes are:
• An evidence-based platform for midwives to start conversations and begin memory-making activities with parents
• An initial contact with Sands, an organisation which can support parents at any stage after a loss
• A safe and reassuring space for parents to build their own memories around their bond with their baby in the years that follow
We have included the following memory making materials because parents have told us they need help connecting and getting to know their baby during those precious moments together.
Sands Memory Box Contents:
• Hand and Footprint Kit
• Baby Details Book
• Certificate of Birth Pair of bears
• Heart in Their Hand
• Soft White Blanket
• Information about Sands Bereavement Support App
Are they memories if I didn’t make them? (Bereaved Mum)
At Sands we believe every baby is special and would like families only to place things that are important to them inside their memory box. This is why Sands boxes contain key items for active memory making, as opposed to other additional items which may not be relevant or helpful for a particular family. This may mean that families do not use all of the items in the box, or tell you as their healthcare professional that they don’t feel a box would be helpful. What matters is that families are offered a complete Sands box after every loss and accompanied in their choices. This will enable them to think and be present during moments which they will remember for the rest of their lives.
Healthcare professionals play a vital role in helping parents to choose things that help them connect to their baby. By modelling how to hold, swaddle or arrange special items you can help parents to overcome any uncertainty around physically connecting to their baby. It is you and the relationship you encourage at that point that can make all the difference in establishing continuing bonds and mitigating loss through memory-making.
Evidence suggests that a positive experience at this stage in bereavement will enable parents to reach out for further support as they need it. Through having a safe space for their babies’ special objects that they can re-visit any time, parents will not feel like there is limited time to dedicate to their baby in the brief hours between birth and going home.
A Memory Box that is a permanent and personal reminder of the baby they could not bring home can help integrate parents’ experience into their family history and grow around their grief as life moves on.
If you would like to order an individual memory box, please contact our Helpline – email@example.com.
Please note that we are only able to send Memory Boxes to UK addresses.