Organization helps parents cope with loss of their stillborn children

Warning: the images in this article may be disturbing to some readers.

It is probably the worst thing that can happen to a parent when a baby dies in the womb.

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Having felt the developing baby kick or turn around, one can imagine the joyful anticipation the mother must have felt. When a child dies in utero, having never seen the light of day, the anguish experienced can be unbearable.

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In the case of a stillborn, the mother still has to go through the traumatic experience of physically giving birth, at which point, if she so chooses, she will be able to see and hold her baby, but only to have to say goodbye.

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A German organization called "Dein Sternkind" ("Your Starchild") helps grieving parents to memorialize these children who never had a chance to live. The idea is that these "star children" somehow remain in their parents' lives... as spirits inhabiting the heavens. Or simply as memories.

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A similar organization in the States is called Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep; parents who have had stillborn babies have the opportunity to have a tasteful photo of the deceased child taken by a volunteer photographer. Sometimes the parents hold their babies in the photographs. The idea is to respectfully capture and preserve the memory of the lost child.

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Parents sometimes give the baby's siblings—also affected by the loss—the chance to participate as well and to say their goodbyes. 

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This idea perhaps isn't everyone's way of coping with loss, but some bereaved parents view it as a precious gift. Their grief and pain may later be softened by the comforting memories. And surely parents who have been through such an incredibly difficult time in their lives need all the strength and hope they can get.

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