A Family's Bill of Rights

For a Baby Stillborn or Experiencing Impending Death

  1. My mom and dad have the right to all information regarding my situation no matter what the caregivers opinion/experience may be.
  2. My mom and dad have the right to make all decisions regarding labor and my birth and how it is to be handled. It is their right to be given all information regarding my birth, so they can make decisions best for all of us (i.e., monitoring vs. not monitoring labor, cesarean vs. vaginal birth, life support for the baby at birth, medication for mom).
  3. (The doctor should have a statement in my mom's chart as to how labor is to be handled, in case, for any reason, he can not be present, or my mom can not speak for herself)
  4. My Mom and Dad have the right to know all resources available to them, and who they should be meeting with; genetics, neonatologists, social workers, support groups, specialists, etc.
  5. When I am born, either stillborn or with impending death, as a family we have the following rights: please give us the privacy we deserve without abandoning us. Please encourage us to do whatever feels right. Let my parents keep me with them for as long as they'd like. Help them to bathe me, dress me, and take lots of pictures. Help them baptize me, if this is their wish. Please give them as many momentos as you can (a lock of my hair, my footprints, my hat, my measuring tape, etc.)
  6. My Mom and Dad have the right to their privacy regarding the decisions they made for me and for them. Please do not ask them personal questions. If you wish to tell them something and express your feelings, please tell them you are sorry. No matter how many times they hear those words - they really do help.
  7. My Mom and Dad have the right to their own religious beliefs. Do not tell them your beliefs, especially that this was Cod's way or it was better that I died now, than later. My parents have their own personal beliefs and although you may think you are helping you may really be hurting or confusing them.
  8. My Family has the right to information on planning my funeral or memorial or whatever their wishes are for me, now that I am gone. They did not plan on having to bury me, please offer your help, they are not sure what to do.
  9. My brothers and sisters, if I have any, have the right to information on why I died, no matter how small they are, so they can grieve and get on with their lives as best as they can. Allow them to spend time with me, no matter how young they are. Do not shut them out, even if you think you are helping them. They need to be included in the celebration and sadness of my birth/death.