This morning I learned a new word - Sankofa - a concept from the Akan people that means to "return to the past to move forward." I worried that Making Memories would be misunderstood because it looks to the past to the things we did and did not do, to the things we cannot change. "Retrieving the past is not taboo, thus say the ancestors" - this quote started my day and answered my purpose, why I do what I do (here is the article that introduced me to the meaning, www.africa.ufl.edu/asq/v9/v9i3a3.htm). Looking to the past to our daughter's stillbirth is not a weakness, it is where we find the strength to move forward to improve the experiences of other parents who are yet to walk in our shoes.
The Making Memories video is based on a letter I wrote to bereaved parents who received one of the memory boxes we donated to a local hospital for Amelia's second birthday. I didn't want to tell the parents what they must do, instead I wanted to tell them what we appreciated and what we regretted in hopes that they will be more informed in making their own decisions.
While making the video I also referred to research done by Dr. Joanne Cacciatore and many others in the field that reaffirm the need to support parents in making memories, in making a connection with their still born baby, being that it is natural to want to see and hold your newborn child and that death needs to be faced, acknowledged, and grieved. Memories made with their baby help parents grieve when there are very few tangible things left from their stillborn child. Caring for Families Experiencing Stillbirth | www.missfoundation.org
So, here it is. Please help us spread this far and wide in hopes that it will help others in facing stillbirth.