When thinking about our children we miss, many of us occasionally wonder about dating their lives. Many of us celebrate (or at least note) our birthdays, and the birthdays of others. But how should we decide on a day to remember (read The Importance of Validation) our miscarried children?
This could be a positive reminder of their creation—their life. But it can be rather difficult to determine, especially in a healthy marriage. If it is easy to determine (for example, conceived from rape), using this date might create an internal conflict between remembering your child and remembering what was done to you.
The death date, or “angelversary” would be either the date you learned you child had already died or the date you know your child died. Many gravesites mark a death date, so this can be to put on their rock (read Why Rocks).
This would be the date their miscarried body passed from their Mother’s body. Sometimes we learn that our children have died but we are still carrying them (sometimes for a few weeks). In this case, it might be easier to determine a passing date, and perhaps note that.
This would be the date an older child was stillborn or the date a child was born live but did not live long after birth. Given the size difference and likelihood that others are assisting, this may be one of the easiest dates to pin down.
Whether you were able to calculate this for yourself or you had a professional tell you, the due date was something you once looked forward to. This could both be a reminder of the life you expected with them and a reminder that those plans are forever altered.
Do you have any definitive date at all? While not necessary, Miscarriage Moms For Life recommends using at least one of these dating suggestions in association with your child. Do you have more than one definitive date? Then when you are ready, consider which date you feel most comfortable with using, as this is a personal decision. If you wish, there is nothing wrong with remembering all of the dates you have. (Putting them all on the stone might make it appear crowded).
If your loss was very early and/or very messy/extended, you may not have any definitive date. This can be difficult if viewed as being unable to recognize your child. We encourage you to consider picking a date anyway. October 15 is Pregnancy and Infant Loss awareness day, so you may wish to choose that date. Though a moving target, Mother’s Day is an option, because your child—no matter how early they left you—made you a mother.
Whatever date/dates you choose, let your choice come from your heart. This is, after all, your child—your irreplaceable, unique, precious, one-of-a-kind child. A child that is made in the image of God (read Our Babies Are Made in the Image of God) and deeply loved by you, your understanding and compassionate family members, and God.
This article is recommended reading before attending our Memorial. Find more comfort in reading our book, When Unborn Babies Speak.