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Holding you. Holding your child. Gentle funeral care by Natural Grace Holistic Funeral Directors

This book has been designed to briefly explain your responsibilities and the options and choices available to you. Please call us if you have any questions at all. We are here for you 24 hours a day. Telephone 1300 008 037

Japanese Cherry Blossom These delicate flowers bloom primarily in the spring and fall only a short time after that. Traditionally, the cherry blossom represents the cycle of life and how fleeting life can be, but primarily they represent hope. For a parent who is grieving the loss of a baby, the hope and beauty symbolised by the tiny flowers that bloom from cherry blossom trees are the perfect way to represent the brief moment that they got to hold their child, be it in the womb or in their arms. Common Symbolism in Perinatal Grief, February 11, 2015 by Tessa Marlatt.

we are sorry... We are so sorry your much-wanted and deeply-loved baby has died.

You have been offered this book to assist you in understanding what happens next when arranging the funeral care of a baby. This book is a gift from Natural Grace. We would be honoured to care for you and your baby, however you are welcome to use this book no matter your choice of funeral care provider. Natural Grace is an independent, holistic and environmentally conscious funeral company. Natural Grace is owned and operated by a community of compassionate and experienced Australian families. At Natural Grace we promise to support you to make informed decisions, to empower you to stay in control. Our commitment to you is to stand alongside you and guide you, as best as we possibly can. We encourage you to take this time as slowly and as gently as you can.

Please take plenty of time. Do not be rushed. If needed, have a family member advocate for you to be allowed the time and space you need to make informed decisions.

Memory making

Saying hello and goodbye – in one precious moment. Capture some memories – for now and for your future.

Some ideas: Take lots of photos. You can also access a wonderful organisation called Heartfelt who will send professional photographers to take some photos for you. 1800 583 768 • Collect some footprints or handprints. Cut a lock of hair. Take some video. Write in a journal.

he came into the world and changed us all

Spend time with your baby: • Singing • Washing • Walking • Holding • Exploring • Dressing

Clothes You can dress your baby or swaddle them in a special blanket.

Caring for your baby’s body You can be supported to naturally care for your baby’s body.

Autopsy If you have given permission for an autopsy, you can have time with your baby before and after the procedure. Following the autopsy, you can: Hold your baby again. Say goodbye. Hold a funeral. Take your baby home.


natural oils, soaps and frangrant cand

Dress your baby in the clothes you’ve bought.

Taking your baby home You can take your baby home.

Here you can create a quiet and private space for ritual or ceremonies and allow for connection with siblings, grandparents and community.

Transporting your baby You can drive your baby home – or we can do this for you. You will need a special basket or crib called a CuddleCot™ which we can provide for you.

Funeral Ceremonies

Ceremonies can be held almost anywhere. The choice is yours.

church ceremony

a beautiful park

at the beach

Choosing a coffin There are gentle, modern and natural coffin choices available. You can even have a shroud.

Cremation or Burial? You can choose to have a cremation or a burial. This can be done naturally too.

Some ideas: You can build a coffin yourself. Families have hand-made their loved one’s coffin and found it a lovely, cathartic experience. Choosing cremation? Consider the urn you would like. All kinds of coffins are available. From natural wicker and wood – to more elaborate and decorative coffins. You can draw or paint on plain pine coffins. Other children in the family can feel part of the process by writing messages and drawing pictures. Burials take place in traditional cemeteries. Some also offer natural burial in beautiful bush settings.

Other ideas

Here’s a list of other ideas to help at this time. Play music. Live or recorded. Announce your baby’s birth and funeral in the newspaper. Fill the room with flowers. Share a meal or other rituals with your family or friends. Take some footage and make a DVD. Choose a family member, friend or professional as your celebrant. Include siblings, grandparents and community.

Your ideas

Bunches of beautiful, fragrant flowers

List some of your other ideas here to help you remember

Resources Natural Grace Holistic Funeral Directors Phone: 1300 008 037

Paperwork and helpful resources

Your baby’s death is recorded on the same form as their birth registration. If your baby is over 20 weeks gestation you can order a Birth Certificate. If your baby is under 20 weeks gestation we will supply a Recognition of Life certificate. We are happy to help support you with any paperwork.

Bears of Hope Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support Enquiries: 1300 11 BEAR Grief Support: 1300 11 HOPE SANDS Miscarriage, stillbirth and newborn death support Phone: (03) 8652 5020 RedNose Grief and loss support Phone: 1300 308 307 Australian Doula College Support at end of life Phone: 02 8036 5580 Heart Felt Volunteer professional photography Phone: 1800 583 768


The choices are yours and yours alone. We are here to support you in those choices. Disclaimer – Funeral care of infants is tailored family by family. This book is offered as an indication only. Not all options are suitable for all families. Natural Grace takes no responsibility for the use of information provided in this book by unknown parties. Assumptions – This book assumes the following: • The baby has died in Victoria, Australia and the mother is a patient in a hospital or birthing centre. • The death of a baby born at home is reportable to the Coroners Court of Victoria. • That the birth and death of babies with a gestation of greater than 20 weeks is registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages by the parents on the Birth Registration Form provided to them at the time of delivery. • That the birth and death of babies with a gestation of less than 20 weeks is not required to be registered with Births, Deaths and Marriages. • That the parents have been informed that they are not obligated to use a funeral director and can assume responsibility for the funeral arrangements for their child. • That the parents of a baby with a gestation of greater than 20 weeks have been informed that their only legal obligations are (1) to register the birth and death of the baby and (2) to arrange for a burial or cremation to take place in a public cemetery. ‘Holding you. Holding your child’ booklet — Copyright © Natural Grace 2017

Phone: 1300 008 037 Email: Web: The Sanctuary: 65 Urquhart Street Woodend, Victoria 3442

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