Benjamin Boxes are comfort boxes that are given to families who have just been told the devastating news that their babies are not going to live. These boxes are filled with items that will provide some comfort in a time when everything seems to be falling apart. When these families are in the most painful place possible they will know that other people are thinking about them and offering love and compassion.

The following is a list of the contents of the boxes.

– A letter about the reason behind Benjamin Boxes (for a copy of the letter look under the ‘reason for the boxes’ tab above).

– A card from a mother who has gone through this. Included in the card is the mother’s contact information so that each newly bereaved family has someone they can contact for support as soon as they feel ready.

– An organic cotton gown to dress the baby in. These simple, yet beautiful, white gowns are sized to fit most 3rd trimester babies.

– Ink kit and a small card for prints of baby’s hands or feet. The hospital does hand and foot prints for the families but in some cases these are not done until later that day or the next day. The quality of these prints is not always the best.

– Notepad and pen for journaling or art. Many mothers will want to be able to record their thoughts and feelings to help them through this time

– Stationary. When Benjamin was born I wanted to write a letter that would go with his body. I didn’t have any paper with me and had to ask the nurses for some plain computer paper. I don’t want another mother to have to do this so I have included some nice paper in the boxes.

– A small knit blanket. This blanket can either be kept with the baby and then the mother will be able to keep it afterwards. Or the mother can keep the blanket and then send it with the baby’s body when it is time to say goodbye.

– A small zip-close bag for hair clippings, hospital bracelets or any other small items so they don’t get misplaced.

– A small package of tissues. The hospital has tissues but they are small thin squares that are just not adequate for the situation.

– Information on ‘Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep’, a not-for-profit company that sends a volunteer professional photographer to the hospital to take beautiful photos of your baby. There is no charge to you for this generous service.

– List of websites dealing with grief and pregnancy and infant loss

– Various other relevant pamphlets and reading materials

– Information on ‘Empty Arms’, a local support group for bereaved parents that I founded with another bereaved mother (specifically for stillbirth and infant loss)

(photos of a sample Benjamin Box and the contents are coming soon)

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9 Responses to “About the Boxes”

  1. Joan Hahn said

    Awesome Rachel. One thing I would change is to include a full size box of good quality tissues. It’s so true about the stupid kleenex. I even complained to hospital social worker as I was working on my second box – what’s the deal with these lousy tissues?
    This is so wonderful really. Such a significant way to make Benjamin’s short life meaningful.
    Also – you might want to post this info under the stillborn board at ivillage as well. I only lurk on the pregnant board because I like to keep up with people.

    • rae2007 said

      Thank you for your comments. I have donated many full size boxes to that particular room at the hospital. Last time I checked they still had a couple boxes but I will see if they have any left and if not I will drop some more off next week. That was one of the first things I donated! Those hospital tissues are really useless!

  2. Tori said

    Brought tears to my eyes. Wish I’d had this box 17 years ago when I lost my 4-day-old daughter. I will be donating. Thank you for doing this.

  3. Samantha said

    This is incredible. I love to see people taking their experiences and putting them to use helping other people!

    I remember when you lost yours and how sad all the sugarmommas were for you.. we all carry the lost sugarbabies in our hearts, and probably will forever.. what a way to carry on the memory of your son! I’m so proud of you!

    douglass7269 from the ivillage sugarbaby08 playgroup

  4. lisa said

    What do they look like? How are you going to get letters from mom’s who went through the same thing? I thought hospitals provided some of this stuff…like gowns, tissues and blankets. I know if my baby died some of these things would not be on my to do list…like writing letters, and foot prints.

    • rae2007 said

      The boxes are bentwood boxes ranging in size from 7 1/2″ to 9 1/2″ either round or oval. They are decoratively painted with varying themes. Photos of a box and the contents are coming.

      Currently the letters are being provided by mothers from a support group I started. I have had many other mothers contact me across Canada and the US who would like to include letters as well. Eventually I will take them up on their offers, but for now I want all the initial contacts to be local mothers.

      Hospitals do give out gowns, tissues and blankets. However, the gowns and blankets are not for the patient to keep and are laundered at the hospital and thus very stiff and standard. The gowns we provide are 100% organic from Under the Nile. They are a very soft natural cotton. These gowns are provided to the families so that they can leave them with the baby or take them home when they leave the hospital; they are gowns that are specifically for their baby. The blankets that are provided in the boxes are small knit or crocheted blankets. Again, they are provided to the families so that they can either leave them with the baby or take them home. They are donated by an organization that has knit them specifically for families who have lost babies. The tissues that the hospital provides are small squares that are rough and very thin. Anyone that has lost a baby knows that these tissues are entirely inadequate. When you are crying for hours on end; with no stopping in sight, the last thing you should worry about is how horrible the tissues are.

      I am assuming by your comment “if my baby died” that you have never lost a baby. Before Benjamin was born I did not think that writing him a letter would be on my to do list either. But I wanted to write him a letter while I was still in the hospital so that all my feelings and memories of him were true. I didn’t want to wait until I got home and then try to remember small details. I wanted to write him something that would go with his body; something that would always be with him that told him how loved and cherished he was. The hand/foot print kits are provided for many reasons. When your baby dies you never get to see his feet or hands again. You might forget how small they were; how perfect they were. By making hand and foot prints you are able to always have that true size representation of your baby. And everytime you see or touch that card you will know that your baby actually touched it too. When you can no longer touch, see, smell or hold your baby you cling to anything that physically touched them too. The hospital does hand and foot prints of the babies who have died. In my case they came and did them the next day. I do not have nice hand and foot prints of Benjamin. I have decent foot prints, but the hand prints are something I do not want to ever look at; his fingers had already curled by that point. I really wish I had one of those hand and foot print kits so I am providing them to mothers, so they can avoid what I have.

      Everything that is included in the boxes are included in case the families need/want it. Just because something is in the box does not mean that the family must use it. I’d rather include more items than leave out something that would have made their time a little easier. Before I started these boxes I discussed the contents with many people I know who have lost babies (in person and online). Some items were added and some were modified, but in the end we were all happy with the contents.

      Thank you for your comments, they allowed me to expand on some of the items so others can understand it a bit better.

  5. Savannah said

    Rachel, your such a kind person. To think of other people when you hurt so much is really such a wonderful example. Thank you.

    Savannah (Sugar Mama)

  6. mailyne said

    My sister lost her son almost 2 years ago. It meant a lot to her and her husband as well as the rest of our family to know that our little boy mattered, that his life was significant, that he would not be forgotten even though we only had him very briefly. I would like to contribute to the boxes for the other grieving families as a tribute to my nephew and to let these families know their little babies too mattered in the world. Can you please contact me at my email address? Thank you.

  7. Megan said

    It really blows me away that you have found such a compassionate, positive way to honour your son and turn your sorrow into positive action in you life. Thank-you.

    We lost our son at 20 weeks almost 2 weeks ago, and I still feel lost, but it is encouraging that others have been here and have come our the other side.

    I would suggest including some nice chamomile tea, because I have been depending on it lately. We had to travel down to VGH and stay in a hotel, and I missed my home tea cupboard…good chamomile is hard to find and really helps rehydrate and relax. The stationary would also have been excellent, and I’m glad we were able to get footprints though we didn’t get to see our baby.

    The social worker at VGH gave us the Empty Arms pamphlet and we’ll be in touch eventually, since there’s not a group up here. Thanks again for being so open.

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