These mementos can take a number of forms, and there is no limit to how many there are: for example, Knitionalist on Twitter said that she had 'a Sands box with his hospital bracelet, lock of hair, vest he wore, muslin square he was wrapped in, foot/handprints, pics, cards...I have also kept my bottom drawer full of little socks, bibs, vests, shoes, hats, etc.'
Because mementos, of course, do not have to be one or two items: a whole box of memories is a popular choice. Helene Skade, also on Twitter, recites her list. 'I have clothes, blankets, teddies, ECG stickers, name bands and a tattoo,' she says. All of these items are in memory of her daughter, Holly Amber, whose name she bears proudly in her wonderfully intricate body art.
Tattoos seem to be a poignant choice of remembrance. They are permanent, and a constant visual reminder to the parent and others of the baby which they have lost. A number of photos recently appeared on a Facebook group dedicated to bereaved fathers, called 'Daddys With Angels', by Mike Simpson and his wife, who remembered their twins - Kane and Saul - through a series of tattoos. Mike even had their ashes mixed with the ink, so that his children would be a permanent part of him.
Many bereaved parents have boxes of items to remember their baby by, and some choose to have just one or two mementos. Teddy bears are a popular choice, and one shared by a number of 'How I Came To Hold You' interviewees.
Rebecca was cremated a week later, following a service attended only by a small number of people. ‘The Dance’ by Garth Brooks was played, and yellow roses were placed by a headstone in the local cemetery. Rebecca wore a christening bangle – one of two; the other one can be found on the arm of a teddy bear bought by her great uncle in the days following her funeral.
- Carolyn Bray's story about her daughter Rebecca, from 'How I Came To Hold You'
Shortly after discovering she had suffered a miscarriage, Joanne bought a teddy bear and named it Milo: “a name which we liked for a son”. She took it into hospital for her operation, and later her two eldest children took it in turns to sleep with him.
Now, Milo sits in Olive’s cot. As yet, none of Joanne’s children are aware of his significance: but, to Joanne and David, the sight of the small teddy bear lying next to their baby will always be a poignant reminder of their first, lost child.
- Joanne Dewberry's miscarriage experience, from 'How I Came To Hold You'
Whatever the memento is is not important: what is important is the significance attached to it. Although memories live forever, these items - whether they be teddy bears, tattoos or locks of hair - are permanent physical reminders of those babies who will never be held.