Day 8: Something I Made For You

August 8, 2017

By Sanda Rathamone

30 Day Writing Challenge: Day 8

"The littlest feet make the biggest footprints on our hearts."

After Elijah was born, a social worker sent someone to talk to us, who would need some information for a death certificate. This is the part that gets confusing after having a stillbirth; what about a birth certificate? Why does my baby not get a birth certificate?

I never understood the process of how the hospital handles the birth or death certificate process for stillborns. I have only heard that many do not get one. And we actually didn't get a birth or death certificate from the hospital either. Although, I do know that there was one made at the mortuary that we went to, but that if we needed or wanted a copy, we would have to pay for it. We simply made a pass and didn't think more of it. We had to pay a few hundred dollars to cremate our stillborn son, wasn't that enough?!

But then, one day, I came across an article about birth certificates for stillborns. Grieving parents of stillborns were trying to petition for equal opportunities for stillborns in receiving a birth certificate. I didn't look more into the petition, but it inspired me to use my own creativity. I wasn't going to wait for the government to do something about this.

I made Elijah an "unofficial" birth certificate.

Yes, a birth certificate may just be a piece of paper, stating something we have already known to be true, but as a stillbirth parent, a birth certificate is a tangible memory. Something that shows that our baby was born, too. 

It's kind of like if your baby gets one, what about ours? What makes our baby undeserving of a birth certificate? Is it because of death?

So, I went on the web and searched for examples of birth certificates for reference. After going through many, I began to incorporate everything I thought would be perfect. It took me about a couple hours to make because I had wanted everything to fit. I picked some beautiful fonts and a border, wrote a unique description, added some clip art, and pasted Elijah's hand and footprints on each side. After finishing the soft copy, I printed it and went searching for a photo frame.

For something so simple, it makes a bold, yet, gentle statement, especially in our bedroom. I might make a change and purchase a certificate template for better texture and detail, but it actually looks worth honoring. I love it!

There are some who do run a little business in making birth certificates for stillborns, which is awesome. But, I find that creating it myself is something that has made me feel proud and that it embodies the love I have for my son.

It was made with love, a mother's love.

Elijah's birth certificate is now hung on our bedroom wall under a pair of white wings. It is displayed just above the light switch and next to our door, where it will always be remembered.

To read more about my 30 Day Writing Challenge For Stillbirth Mothers, click here.
Please let me know if you would like to join and I will include you in my final thoughts about this writing challenge in a blog post on Aug 31, 2017

Don't forget to hashtag: #30DayWritingChallengeForStillbirthMothers

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