This week I’ve finally braved jumping back onto my sewing machine. Why? Because I was making a doll.
After finding a dress to make Elva before she arrived the website I used based her patterns on a cloth doll pattern she had. This doll was gestationally correct in terms of weight and size. I thought nothing of it till after Elva arrived.
You have that ache for something to hold. You don’t have the ache from your belly or your back. You don’t have swollen ankles anymore so your arms know they are suppose to be doing something more.
I didn’t think much of it till I found someone who made them: Angel in My Arms on Facebook. Her list is huge and I feared postage would be quite high to UK considering I can sew. So I bought the pattern: Preemie Cloth Doll Pattern.
This doll weighs the same as Elva (600g) She was length of her gestation (27 weeks) but build wise she was 24 weeks so that’s the size I chose. Her extra length mostly came from her legs despite being told she had short legs. The face isn’t perfect and I need to do more work on it but it represent her. Her eyes were different sizes and the lines represent creases on a favourite photo of mine. The doll wear the same nappy Elva is currently wearing and will wear the same dress she is also wearing, It’s her doll and my memory.
During my pregnancy I came across an article about weighted hearts. I don’t recall what I was looking at or why these popped up, maybe a divine message. The hearts were started by a mum who lost her baby. She went on to make hearts for others who lost babies. The mums who were made them went on to make for other mums. Spreading the word I guess.
Like the doll the hearts weigh the same weight as baby and give the bereaved family something to hold. This is what helped me decide to make the doll knowing I wasn’t unusual wanting that. Here is their website: A Heart to Hold
There are other options in terms of a weighted memory item. Bears for example.
You could get a bear made from clothes you intended for your little one to wear, or if your child died after birth something they did end up wearing. Like other items they weight them to babies birth weight up to 10lb. I currently have no link but if you want to be added let us know on the facebook page
Another place is Molly Bears who do the same thing but with furry bears. They open a list for 2 hours the 30th of every month. However the waiting list is pretty long.
If you have a bit more money or prefer something more unique and personal you could get a sculpture. My Tangible Peace do polymer clay figures based on a picture or description of your child. These are also anatomically correct.
If you’re feeling creative My Tangible Peace also provide kits with instructions on how to practice your own piece of art.
You could also get a stuff-able bear to fill at home to the correct weight. This is probably a little harder to achieve for premature babies but it’s an option.
Weighted bears help bereaved families after a loss as they provide something to fill that void. I found my time with Elva I was at my calmest. I could hold her and be her mum with her close to me. I liked to feel her weight as I planned to make a weighted item then it was only later the idea of a doll came about.
Apparently weighted items can help reduce stress induced cardiomyopathy (broken heart syndrome). This manifests physically with achy arms and heaviness in the chest. A weighted item can help ease these symptoms and provide the parent or family with a calming relief.
If you’re creative maybe you could help provide a family you know with this comfort. Doesn’t need to be baby shaped just huggable, holdable and the right weight.