A frequently asked question is what to do with Baby Shower gifts and/or Nursery when the babies have died.
The following suggestions are offered in order to provide some ideas as to how to handle this situation. Be sure to choose something that works for the both of you.
- If you don’t want to keep the gifts for your next pregnancy, then return them assuming the persons giving you the gifts want them back. It may be that some want them back and some do not.
- If the person giving you the gift does not want their gift back and you do not want to keep it because things have changed dramatically and you don’t wish the painful memories, consider donating each to a worthy cause, e.g. a women’s shelter, hospital, immigrants’ shelter. Some communities have homes for unwed mothers and they are very grateful for baby gifts. You could write each gift giver a short note indicating that their “very special baby gifts” have gone to such-and-such a cause in honour of your own special babies.
- Consider keeping one, two or more (one for each baby) of your gifts, e.g. stuffed animals, for your babies’ Memory Boxes.
- It may be that you have received special, expensive gifts which you don’t feel comfortable keeping. For example: Royal Doulton baby dish sets or snowsuits. Call the people who gave you the gifts and ask if they would like them returned. Take the opportunity to let them know of your idea to donate the gifts and let them know which place you have in mind. They may agree to having their gift donated as well. A phone call asking specifically for feedback when you are not sure what to do, will help decide on a mutually acceptable course of action.
- A gift is a gift, regardless. The generous spirit of giving shouldn’t change if the babies die. When a gift is given, ownership of that gift is transferred. If you don’t feel you want to return the gifts or even some of the gifts, it wouldn’t be incorrect but you may still feel conflicted. If you are in doubt ease your mind by calling the giver.
- Take your time when deciding what to do with the gifts. Initially, you may be taken up with mourning and funerals. Don’t be pushed by well-meaning relatives or friends to decide too quickly what to do with the gifts. If you are pushed to make a decision, it could add additional stress. Give yourself a few months to complete the task. You may disperse the gifts with your partner or you may ask a close family member or friend to help you.
- The same with taking apart a Nursery. Many families set up a babies’ room ahead of time. There are no hard and fast rules on how to handle it. You might ask family or friends to take it down and store it before you come home from the hospital or you may wish to do it yourselves. If the latter, close the door and enter the room only when you feel ready to do so. You could move the cribs, equipment and toys to the basement or put them in storage so they will be out of your sight and you won’t fear tripping over them and triggering painful memories. It isn’t terribly expensive to do the latter. You may also choose to leave the Nursery for your next pregnancy. WHATEVER YOU CHOOSE TO DO IS RIGHT. Don’t be talked into anything that you feel might not work for you.
If you have any suggestions that you would like to see added to this list, please write to me and let me know.