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Your Rights/Options

Sister Jane Marie Lamb, the founder of SHARE, a support network for bereaved parents and families, wrote a thoughtful document that lays out the Rights of Parents after a baby dies (including miscarrige). It also addresses the rights of the baby (to be named, to be held, to be remembered…). This document can be obtained from  Knowing your rights are important so you can feel empowered to ask for such things as extensive time with your baby in the hospital, time alone, etc.   If it is not too late, print it and bring it to the hospital so you and the staff can be reminded.

Some of the rights include such things as:

  • The right to be with each other during any tests,
  • To be cared for by empathic staff,
  • To be offered as many mementos as possible, 
  • To be given the facility's policy for how you will handle your baby's body once you leave the hospital (often called a 'disposition' policy) and offered choices about whether you will take your aby with you or authorize a funeral director to do pick up the body,
  • To be given time alone with your baby,
  •  To request an autopsy/evaluation of your baby's body,
  •  To have your other children with you to meet their sibling

This may very well help you have conversations with your family and the hospital to make sure you get the support and rights you need and deserve. 

If you feel you did not receive these rights, make a copy of this document and put it in a letter to your hospital (President, Manager of Maternity, Social Services, etc).  They need to know how you felt about your care (the good and not so good parts) and hear your suggestions for improvement.  Many, many parents have had great success with helping institutions change after such open and helpful communications.  Maybe the next people who come through will have a better experience.

We will soon be including a pdf of this document.  The children's section has been added by us.