When I was pregnant I took up Project Life. It's a fun scrapbooking system with beautiful folders and themed note cards designed to allow you to document life creatively and beautifully. I spent many hours putting together a project of our wedding complete with proposal, engagement and hen/stag party photos. I spent hours immersed in the magic of our first steps into marriage whilst our lovely little boy kicked up a storm in my tummy. Those memories are so precious to me.
I bought a beautiful green and yellow folder and baby boy notecards with the intention of documenting my pregnancy and then our journey into parenthood with Aneurin but when he passed away I couldn't bring myself to do it. It's a big project and I knew I would never have enough memories to fill it. Instead, I started looking for a smaller but equally as precious photo album or baby book to document his short but beautiful life.
Most baby books are structured with milestones, favourites and things we will sadly never know or be able to fill in. Finding a baby book or photo album suitable for a stillbirth or neonatal death is really difficult and I very nearly gave up hope of finding one. Fortunately though my
stubbornness determination is strong and over the last couple of months I've found some truly beautiful books, some of which can be personalised.
Winnie the Pooh Baby Book £18 Winnie the Pooh quotes have always been quite poignant to me but the one that adorns this cute album is completely perfect; "My favouite part of the day is the part I spent with you". This holds 80 6x4" photographs.
Anker Baby Elephant Photo Album £20 - This album holds 200 6x4" photos so perfect if you have lots of photos of your precious angel. Although it's a slip-in album there is space next to photos to write a few lines if you wish. The colourful front is lovely with a little elephant, duck and buttons.
My Beautiful Baby Photo Album £52.99 - Made with genuine leather, this cream album is printed with 'My Beautiful Baby' and a sweet little bear face in silver foil. There are 50 thick card pages in here for getting creative with your photos and memories. You can opt to have a brass plate added to the front engraved with a message or your baby's name.
Our Little Angel Photo Album £32.99 - This sweet album is decorated with a pink leather border and can have a brass name plate added engraved with your baby's name, birth date and message. There are 50 plain card pages that fit 2 6x4" photos on. This is only available in pink at the minute.
Personalised Map Duck Baby Book £28 - On the front of this A5 sized book is a wooden duck printed with a vintage map, the location of which you can choose. Perfect for your baby's birth or resting place. You can also have two lines of text printed below. There are 35 blank pages for sticking photos and keepsakes in.
Anker Little Star Baby Photo Album £20-£24 - There are two other different sizes in this range here and here, all with a little star on the front and other sweet embellishments. The pages are self adhesive so you have a little more freedom with how you can organise your keepsakes.
Personalised Twinkle Twinkle Album £25 - Sometimes nursery rhymes or phrases can be upsetting to hear when you've lost a baby but some can hold great meaning. "Twinkle twinkle little star, do you know how loved you are" is definitely one that holds meaning. As this is a personalised book you can add your loved little star's name and birth date on the front. It also comes in blue.
Personalised Baby 'Brag' Book £26-£80 - This simple and understated book comes in lilac, baby pink or baby blue. It comes in two sizes and holds either 20 or 40 6x4" photographs. You can also have up to 50 characters over two lines so you can have your baby's name and birth date printed on it to make it extra special. There are two larger versions here and here with different colour options.
Bambino Twinkle Twinkle Photo Album £16 - The same meaningful phrase as one above but in a very different style. This star themed album has a silver pram embellished on the front and secures with a pretty ribbon. It holds 80 6x4" photos.
John Lewis Baby Photo Album £16 - This sweet suede album is adorned with pram, teddy and rocking horse motifs on the front and closes with a pale blue ribbon. It holds 100 6x4" photos. It also comes in pink.
Deva Washing Line Baby Album £29 - I have this one and love it. The cover is a pretty pearlescent cream colour with a little motif of a babygrow, bib and booties on a washing line. It holds 120 6x4" photos. The pages are plain which means you can write little notes and stick in other treasures like scan photos. It comes in pink and blue.
John Lewis Bear & Rabbit 'Boasting Book' £6.95 - This is perfect if you don't have many treasures or photos of your baby as it only has space for 24 6x4" photos. Again, the pages are plain so perfect for notes and keepsakes.
Another way of displaying and documenting your angel baby's life is by creating your own photobook. You can make little pocket sized books to take with you wherever you go or larger coffee table style books. There are lots of companies that offer this service but personally, I use Photobox for all my prints and am in the process of putting together one of their little photobooks for Aneurin's Grandma and Nanna.
Having a photo album filled with Aneurin's life, from the photo of the positive pregnancy test, my growing bump, his arrival, right through to the beautiful posy of sweet peas we put on his coffin, has given me so much comfort. Putting it together was a very healing process. It was difficult to look at for a while but now it only brings me joy. I felt sad at having empty pages at the back but I've decided to fill those up with the things we do in his honour. For example I took a beautiful photo of the candles we lit in honour of loved ones at the All Saints/Souls Day service we went to which I'll put in there and every time we write his name in the sand or find something meaningful we'll document it and add it to his album. I'm starting to realise that that is how we keep him alive, by carrying him with us wherever we go and whatever we do.
I want to do more like this with resources of all sorts for bereaved parents so I hope this has been helpful. If you've seen a photo album or baby book suitable for baby who passed away before, during or after birth, leave a link below in the comments.
Mrs D x