Saying Goodbye to a Stillborn Baby

23 September 2020
 Categories: , Blog


The death of a child is about the most traumatic thing a parent can experience. The tragedy of having a stillborn baby is a grief unlike any other. Although a funeral service for a stillborn baby is not mandatory, the act of a special occasion to say goodbye to their baby is something that can be beneficial to the parents and their family. It can be a crucial part of a grieving process, although arranging a funeral might be the last thing on the minds of the parents. If such a tragedy were to strike a family member or friend, how can you help out if they decide that they do want a funeral?

Legal Requirements

Although a funeral isn't mandatory (although it might be helpful), the stillbirth itself must be listed with the Births, Deaths, and Marriages registry in your state or territory. Some jurisdictions require a formal burial or cremation, while a funeral service remains optional. Parents who have lost their baby can be overwhelmed with grief, so you might want to contact the appropriate government department on their behalf to find out the applicable legal requirements for the stillbirth.

A Forum to Say Goodbye

Funerals are for the benefit of the living. A funeral creates a forum to say goodbye, giving the sad farewell a sense of ceremony. Even though nobody got the opportunity to get to know the little one, a proper goodbye is still essential. Although a stillbirth is a devastating shock, remember that funeral directors will have faced this situation before with other bereaved parents, so they can offer suggestions for the service.

The Funeral Service

The service itself can be traditional, either religious or secular, depending on the parents' personal beliefs. There are no specific funeral rites for a stillborn baby, so it's a matter of what is most important for the family. It's difficult to eulogise someone who never truly spent any time in the world, but there can be appropriate readings and music to give the service an appropriately solemn sense of occasion. 

The Burial or Cremation

The little one can be buried or cremated, just like anyone else. Cremated remains can be kept or scattered, and if the baby is to be buried, this can occur in a standard burial plot. Some parents might like the idea of their baby being buried alongside a deceased family member. Alternatively, some cemeteries have sections especially for babies and young children, and this can also be an option, as the parents might take comfort in the notion that their baby will not be alone, in a manner of speaking.

The grief of losing a baby can be difficult to imagine, but the mourning parents will be grateful for any assistance you can offer when it comes to giving their little one a proper farewell. Contact funeral directors in your area to learn more.