Listed below are a number of books and films for yourself or to read from to your other children. The loss of a brother or sister is very drastic for them too and these books can help to talk about it and give it a place. All books and films can be borrowed from us, even if ima did not arrange your child’s funeral. Feel free to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or contact us via www.facebook.com/imaafscheidszorg.
Title: Mama voor altijd
Author: Sophie Verhoeven
“After losing Job* after 23 weeks of pregnancy, my deepest desire was to hold on to my memories of him and my love for him. During that first chaotic and fitful period of mourning, I was looking for something to hold on to, to find a place for my thoughts and emotions. My search wasn’t very successful. ‘Mourning is different for everyone, do what feels right to you’, was an answer I often got. But what exactly feels right when you’re on a roller coaster of emotions? What’s right for me? I didn’t know and I was desperate for someone to guide me. Because I wanted to keep my experiences from the pregnancy and after losing Job* together, I kept writing in my nine-month pregnancy diary. In-between the cheerful pictures, I was writing about my sorrow. And that formed the basis for Mama voor Altijd, a fill-in book. It gives mums a bit of reference and guidance during the sad and raw period after losing their child. The book has twelve chapters, from pregnancy to how you remember your child. And from looking after yourself to going back to work.
Every chapter contains guiding questions, a bit about my own experience, exercises and, especially, empty pages, which you can fill with stories, drawings, anything you want. To document your loving feelings for your child. Forever.”
Title: Liefdevol herinneringsboek
Author: Renée Brouwer
Every star child deserves his or her own story. Including your children. Still, it can be quite difficult to write about it because where do you start? And how do you tell people that, despite the enormous sorrow and hurt, you’re also very proud of your deceased children? This fill-in book helps you to do it step by step.
Stick in all the ultrasound scans and photos you have and write about your children using the many open questions. Explain how much they mean to you and create your own valuable homage to your dear children.
Auteur: Nicole in ‘t Zand
Illustrator: Niels van den Berghe
Saar has been waiting for her little sister for quite some time now. So she’s really thrilled when Liv finally arrives. But she can’t see her yet because Liv has become very ill… Saar can tell everyone around her is very sad but she doesn’t understand why, because Liv’s here, right? When Liv dies, Saar can’t understand any of it. She has to say goodbye, but what is that, exactly?
Title: Mijn kleine grote zus en Mijn kleine grote broer
Author: Sanne Ovaere
Illustrator: Sofie Buydens
This is a beautiful hardcover book for the little ones. A gentle, down-to-earth and child-friendly account of how a big brother in the clouds plays a role in the life of a sister. My little big brother/sister is written in rhyme and contains imaginative, funny illustrations of how the little big brother/sister secretly helps every now and then or otherwise makes its presence know through small gestures. Thanks to its sturdy design and attractive pictures it is ideal for children aged 1 to 6.
Title: Ono, een bijzonder broertje
Author: Hannelore Waeles
Illustrator: Sara Gerard
“Ilo is very much looking forward to the birth of the baby in mum’s belly. He can’t wait to start playing with his little brother. However, Ono turns out to be a very special brother at birth. A little brother who never cries and who you can’t play with. Ono is dead. After a short, sad, but enjoyable time at home, there’s a party for Ono. Then suddenly he is gone. Where to? Ilo is going to look for him…”
Title: De vraag van eend
Author: Leen van den Berg
Illustrator: Ann Ingelbeen
Where do you go when you die? That’s what the duck wants to know. It’s an important question, because the duck recently lost its chick and her grief is great and endless. Everyone she meets has his or her own answer to her burning question.
Title: Bedje in de wolken
Author: Birgit Vandermeulen
Illustrator: Iris Boter
When Joep’s sister Maike is born prematurely in the spring, it appears she can only live for a short period of time. Daddy, Mummy and Joep have to say goodbye to her very quickly. They give Maike a thousand kisses and stroke her on her little head. ‘you’re my dear sister’, says Joep, ‘and I’ll never forget you’.
A richly illustrated picture book that helps dealing with a loss and the recovery from a sudden death of a brother or sister in a family.
Title: Om nooit te vergeten
Author: Linda Klein
Illustrator: Nynke Mare Talsma
‘Imme,’ mummy says, ‘Stippel has died.’ Imme is shocked. ‘Stipple wasn’t old yet!’ Mummy sighs. ‘Not everyone dies from old age.’ Imme is quiet for a moment. ‘Lotte wasn’t old either, grandpa was, though. I’ll never forget them.’
Title: De gouden bal
Author: Kristien Dieltiens
Illustrator: Seppe Van den Berghe
A child lives somewhere far away, yet close at the same time. It’s very happy, until it loses its golden ball. It leaves for Earth to look for the ball and is born in the form of a human child. The child grows up with its parents but one day, it finds its ball and returns to wherever it came from. The mother and the father can only feel sadness. But when they see that the sky has been given a different shine, their hearts slowly fill with new warmth.
Reissue with new illustrations of a special story about saying goodbye and experiencing a loss, yet at the same time, about the happiness of being human. Suitable for everyone aged 5 and up.
Title: Het hart in de fles
Author: Oliver Jeffers
Once upon a time, there was a very ordinary girl. One day, something happened that made her sad. So she put her heart in a bottle and hung it around her neck. But now, things seemed to be emptier than before. Would she know how and when she should get her heart back?
The English artist Oliver Jeffers wrote and illustrated a timeless story about love and loss and shows that there is always hope.
Title: Kikker en
Author: Max Velthuijs
There is a bird lying at the edge of the forest. ‘Look’, says the frog, ‘it’s broken. It stopped working.’ ‘It’s sleeping,’ says the little pig. But the hare says: ‘It’s dead.’ ‘Dead?’ asks the frog. ‘What’s that?’
The frog has found a little bird: he fetches the little pig and the duck and hare join them as well. The hare concludes that the bird is dead and philosophises: ‘Everybody dies’. The animals bury the bird and return to their everyday routines and play. This is a beautiful picture book with water colourings and text, ideal for reading from to young children.
Author: Richard van Lingen en Marjet van der Linde
Peter is happy. His mum is expecting a baby and 4-year-old Peter can help with the preparation of the baby room. But then his sister is born prematurely. Inge is in hospital tangled up in a web of tubes; she is very ill and after a few days, she dies. Everyone is very sad and Peter finds it difficult to make sense of it all. When can they come and collect Inge again? An attractive account of how to deal with grief in a family. Suitable for use at school and at home to discuss such a loss with young children. Saying goodbye at home and the funeral are also discussed, during which all adults are sad and quiet, but the children are allowed to sing and dance. With basic, sweet illustrations in gentle colours that complement the text. Useful edition. The author is a paediatrician-neonatologist. He wrote this story because, in his professional practice, he received many questions from parents and there appeared to be no book for this age group that deals with the subject from a non-religious perspective.
Title: Dag lief muisje
Woezel and Pip are running through the woods, looking for chestnuts. Woezel’s backpack is almost full now. “Oh, look at that, Pip,’ he calls and he points ahead. There’s something lying in the shadow of an old oak tree. It’s Muisje. And he’s very still. Even his whiskers aren’t moving. A sensitive and accessible picture book about losing a loved one and saying farewell within the safe and secure world of Tovertuin.
Title: Het egeltje onder de oude boom
Author: Christianne van Dooijewaard
Egeltje, a hedgehog, was born on a beautiful winter’s day. Mum and dad hedgehog were thrilled with their baby. Egeltje was growing fast and his spines were very strong. But after a couple of months, mum hedgehog started to worry. Egeltje wasn’t playing like the other hedgehogs and his spines seem to get weaker and weaker.
When doctor owl examined Egeltje, it soon became clear he was very ill and wouldn’t get better. And when the summer came to an end, mum and dad hedgehog said farewell and buried their child underneath the big old tree, in the spot where he’d been looking at the leaves so many times.
When she wrote Het egeltje onder de oude boom, Christianne van Dooijewaard was inspired by her own experiences. She manages to explain the progress of the illness and the sorrow in a way that’s emotionally convincing for young children.
The illustrations by Steffie Padmos underline the restrained atmosphere of the text. She shows Egeltje throughout the seasons, in a touching way.
Books for Adults
Title: Helpen bij verlies en verdriet (entirely new edition)
Author: Manu Keirse
‘Helpen bij verlies en verdriet’ has been the basic book on dealing with grief for many years. A completely new edition has been issued twenty years after publication of the first, with a focus on new themes such as hidden loss and online mourning and a comprehensive chapter on “Pregnancy and Loss” and a chapter on “Giving birth to a stillborn”. Manu Keirse uses identifiable examples to show how mourning is not the equivalent to saying goodbye, but to learning to hold on differently. Numerous specific tips for those grieving and their environment make ‘Helpen bij verlies en verdriet’ a very practical book. This is a must-have for everyone who is confronted with a loss.
Title: Vingerafdruk van verdriet
Author: Manu Keirse
‘Vingerafdruk van verdriet’ is a precious gift to someone else or to yourself. It is a booklet that you should give to anyone who loses a child, a brother or sister, a partner, a parent, a friend or a dream. It is written not only for those struggling themselves, but also for family members, friends and colleagues from whom they expect support on their difficult journey to a renewed life. This is not a book about death. It is a book about life, about the emotional life of someone who is confronted with the loss of a loved one. It is not meant to be read in one go or to be read to and forget about it, but to go back to time and again.
Author: Jan Bleyen
Jan Bleyen, historian, listened to the experiences of parents of stillborn babies. He spoke to people who lost a child fifty years ago as well as parents who experienced this only recently. This verbal history shows how much the handling of stillbirth has changed in half a century. The stories are an emotional account of how we have come to experience mourning very differently. ‘Doodgeboren’ is an empathic and innovative study into an emotional, yet common phenomenon.
Title: Stille baby’s
Author: Christine Geerinck-Vercammen
The loss of a child, even when it dies before or during the birth, will forever mark the lives of its parents. This book is aimed at providing aid when mourning such a loss. Christine Geerinck-Vercammen discusses the theoretical and medical aspects but above all, the psychosocial processing of the loss, the delivery and saying goodbye. The question of how the parents fare in the short and long term, also in connection with subsequent pregnancies, is also discussed. In January, the new edition will be issued under ISBN: 9789029520591
Title: Als je baby sterft
Author: M.C.J. Cuisinier
This book is about the loss of a baby during pregnancy or on or around its birth. It contains medical information, but also extensively discusses parents’ experiences. How do you deal with the death of a baby, whose arrival you had been looking forward to so much? What helps and what does not? How can you ever go back to everyday life again? Will you ever recover from this loss? What can you do if you feel that you become stuck in the loss? How do family and friends react? And what is the response of the care providers you are dealing with? What does a new pregnancy mean? And what about parents who lose one of their twins? The book provides answers to these and other questions. It is intended for parents, people in their environment and care providers.
Title: Altijd een kind te kort
Author: Jeannette Rietberg
Overige betrokkenen: Maria Pel
Women who are or want to become pregnant after the loss of their baby are confronted with the still fresh experience of death and the experience of new life. In their situation, it is difficult to identify with the group of pregnant women who do not have this experience. This handbook covers the different phases: getting pregnant, being pregnant, giving birth and parenthood afterwards. Proper information helps the mother to regain confidence in herself, in her body and in medical care in general. Care providers too are given an insight into the specific problems of these women as it offers reference points for better professional guidance.
Title: En zwijgen was het antwoord
Author: Anneke Avis
“After I gave birth, there was complete emptiness. No small coffin, no funeral, nothing that could remind me of him. Nowadays, people all have places, but I don’t.” Trui Verwers.
As part of her book ‘En zwijgen was het antwoord’, Anneke Avis interviewed mothers and fathers who lost a child on or around birth, in the period between 1945 and 1970. Against the background of the post-war years, parents talk about how they experienced the loss of their baby. Doctors, family and those around them thought the best thing to do was to continue as if nothing had happened. There was hardly any room for grief and sorrow. Hard to imagine now, but that was the norm back then. What was medical care like during that time? Doctors and midwives talk about the fate of these children and how psychosocial care made its appearance in obstetrics and neonatology, whereas previously, only medical-somatic expertise counted. The stories evidence how mothers and fathers carry this dramatic event with them all their lives, sometimes with far-reaching consequences.
Paediatrician-neonatologist Joke Kok wrote the foreword.
Title: Het regent in mijn toekomst
Author: Maria de Greef
When a grandchild dies, the grandparents suffer double: they mourn the loss of their grandchild and feel the pain of their own child. This is a book full of recognition for grandparents who had to experience this.
When a child dies or is stillborn, the grief is immense. This loss for the parents is unimaginable, but the grandparents too are deeply affected by it. In order to assist their own child, they often put their own mourning aside.
In her work as a mourning therapist, Maria de Greef often met grandparents who felt misunderstood and unheard in their grief which prompted her to write this book. She interviewed grandfathers and grandmothers who had lost a grandchild. It has become a book full of points of recognition. The stories provide an insight into the difficult process of being left empty-handed, but they also allow the reader to share in the warmth and comfort that can be found in families. Many grandfathers and grandmothers recognise themselves in the interviews. “So good to see that our sadness and loss have been given the attention it deserves” is a frequently-heard response.
Maria de Greef is a professional in mourning care. In addition to mourning therapy, she provides training and advice about dealing with a loss. Previously, she published articles in various funeral and health and safety journals.
Title: Lieve Juul
Author: Nathalie van Stijn
Pregnancy is not always a pink cloud. My pregnancy, for example, was far from ideal. Our daughter ultimately lost the fight against a placenta praevia totalis (blocking the entire neck of the uterus). She died as a consequence of this complication. I have tried to describe the world in which we were and still are. What started as a diary (out of boredom and because a lot of what happened I did not want to forget), has resulted in a book. It is a book that provides points of recognition and, hopefully, support for those who find themselves in a similar situation. Unfortunately, people are still affected by this…far too many of them.
Title: Kusje in de wind
Author: Irene van Wesel
Pregnant women live in another world. They travel through their bodies to the depths of her inner-beings. The contact of a mother with her unborn child is pure love. Even before pregnancy is a fact, there is an unbridled desire for a child that is so welcome.
Whoever loses a child is torn away from what is so dearly loved. They experience a torn heart that only goes looking for healing when having reached absolute rock bottom. Days of disbelief, numbness and bewilderment make way for the painful reality. The fact that nothing will ever be as it was, that no plan can go ahead as imagined and that there will always be a child that no one can see, but that really is. Every dream of the future evaporates in the wind, whereas the dream of your child is, in fact, the only thing you are left with as parents. You are literally left empty-handed and that hurts incredibly.
Yet in our family the sun did rise again, the day that we could laugh together and start living again. Reminiscing, full of love and a tear, while looking forward with the valuable insights that our heavenly child brought with her.
Irene also compiled several volumes of poetry: “Kindje in mijn hart” (for mother’s day and father’s day) and “Lichtjes vol liefde” (for Worldwide Candle Lighting Day). “Liever bij mij”, a compilation of stories, tells the story of 33 parents and couples who have lost one or more children during or after the pregnancy.
Title: Ik had
Author: Casper van Koppenhagen
My pager goes off. It is an outside line: Lau. ‘Yes, it’s me: I’m going to the hospital now, just a quick check-up.’ ‘Why a check-up?’ ‘Well, I can feel it a little less today which is when they are extremely accurate.”
“Ik had je gedacht mijn kind” is the story of a young father called Casper who loses his sons Lennard and Simon within a year. In both cases, shortly after their births. After a period of deep mourning, Casper and his wife Laura try to conceive again. Without success. A long survival journey follows and eventually, they decide to continue together. Hands-on and without consideration for himself, Casper van Koppenhagen describes what he was experiencing. His story is supplemented with excerpts from the diary of his wife Laura Soudijn. This brutally honest and moving book is about desperation and vulnerability, as well as about love and vitality. With his story, Van Koppenhagen hopes to offer some support to parents who have lost a child and people who have otherwise become childless against their will. At the same time, it confirms the privilege of having healthy children. Casper van Koppenhagen is a rehabilitation specialist and editor-in-chief of Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Revalidatiegeneeskunde. In 2006, he wrote the football thriller “Bram Breedveld, spits van Oranje”. Laura Soudijn is an independent trainer and coach in team building, personal guidance and organisational advice.
Author: Mathijs Lourens
‘Myla’ is a moving story about an uncertain period in an intensive care unit for children and thereafter. Daddy takes you by the hand and into an emotional roller-coaster. He tells how he experienced that time. How he was thrown into the deep end but that nobody told him how deep it was. All he could do was to keep swimming, for himself, for Myla, for his family.
For care providers with a high regard for Family Centred Care, ‘Myla’ is an excellent opportunity to witness, from up close, how a father experiences such a period. He tells it like it is and talks about his deepest feelings.
In addition, the book is for everyone who wants to support my mission. All proceeds will be donated to Stichting ACD. This foundation performs research into ACD. Nobody deserves to be confronted with the uncertainty and powerlessness that this disease brings.
To order click here.
Title: Misschien was je vandaag wel geboren
Author: Yvonne Gebbe en David Rozemeyer
‘Misschien was je vandaag wel geboren’ tells the moving story of a young couple who, at the 20-week ultrasound check-up, are told that their child has a serious abnormality. They decide to terminate the pregnancy. They each experience this in their own way. Yvonne by keeping diaries and David, as a photographer, visually. A beautiful document about the grieving and recovery process of one of the last taboos: the choice to have the pregnancy terminated in the event of an abnormal test result. It is about sadness, insecurity, determination, guilt, fear, anger and frustration, but above all love. Love for the stillborn child that will never be forgotten.
Title: Sara en Liv
Author: Suzan Hilhorst
Sara en Liv is the poignant story of the brief lives of two sisters and how their deaths affected the family. Written in a wonderful, quiet style and from the special, changing perspective of both mother and child, Suzan Hilhorst tells her autobiographic story. Sara en Liv is more than an impressive début about loss, mourning, hope and happiness and, above all, about an ode to life.
Title: Rouwen na het verlies van je baby
Author: Kathy Beckers Mansell
In our society, the death of a baby is seen as shocking but only with brief sorrow as a result, because parents supposedly didn’t know or hardly knew their child. But as a parent, you also lose part of yourself and the future of your baby. There is a permanent desire for what would have been. The loss is a life sentence and it has a major impact on the lives of the parents and any siblings. The treatment by professionals and those around the parents is of vital importance in how to deal with a loss. The mission of this book is to contribute to acknowledging the meaningful loss of a baby. Parents, professionals and others will find comfort in reading Rouwen na het verlies van je baby.
Author: P.F. Thomese
‘A woman who buries her husband is called a widow, a man who survives his wife is a widower. A child without its parents is an orphan. But what do we call the father and mother whose child has died?
After the death of his daughter Isa, P.F. Thomése found himself in eerily quiet rooms, among un-experienced words he still had to learn to write.
Schaduwkind is the breathtaking account of trying to find those words. An entire life has been turned upside-down, every meaning has to be reinvented. ‘If she’s still out there, it’s in language.’
Title: Het leven zonder, het eerste jaar
Author: Juliette Zwaan- Zwagemakers
The first year without Félice has passed. It was a tough year. We went through all the celebrations and seasons without her for the first time. We’ve had awkward moments, I think, and even though I don’t know what the future will bring, I do know that I want to close the first year. For a year, I shared stories about my life without Félice. I shared many of those stories online. To close the first year, I decided to bundle all my stories in a book.
As time goes by, life without Félice starts to become ‘normal’, even though I thought that wouldn’t be possible, ever. While during the first few months, I thought I could never be happy again, I can now say I am happy again. My first year without Félice was tough. Very tough. It was a year during which I wrote a lot. It had a healing effect on me. One story offers hope, another is a hard confrontation with the truth, that death is irreversible. There is room for positivity, for joy, for a new life but also for tears and laughter.
Collections of poems
Title: Jij wordt gekend
Author: Floortje Agema
Floortje Agema (1974) is an experienced ritual coach. She coaches mourning children, youngsters and families, she works in a mortuary and gives training about loss and mourning. She has a talent for naming the unmentionable. Jij wordt gekend contains stories and poems which Floortje wrote from the heart, for children and adults who’ve had to say farewell, during events that touched her or that simply flowed from her heart. The comforting poems and stories offer support when you’re looking for acknowledgement and recognition about what goes on in your heart. The stories and poems are accompanied by wonderful illustrations by Sassafras de Bruyn.
Title: Bundeltje gemis
Author: Ellen Ruperti-Ribbers
Bundeltje gemis is a wonderful collection of poems for star parents who lost their child. The poems are full of comforting words, recognition and acknowledgement. Bundeltje Gemis came about after Ellen’s nephew Josha died when he was one day old. “I decided to write about my sorrow but mostly also about his parents’ sorrow. Ultimately, that resulted in a collection of 34 poems about the sorrow, loss, powerlessness, the hurt and the anger but above all, the love you feel when you lose your child.”
After her son Hugo died, Hiske Kuilman couldn’t at all identify with all the mum and baby magazines. The stories about breastfeeding, cramps or swaddling meant nothing to her. She decided to set up her own magazine with stories that are recognisable. A magazine that doesn’t only deal with the enormous sorrow but also the love and pride you feel. A magazine full of recognition, comfort and practical tips to survive your loss. You can order Hugo Magazine here.
NEL Never Ending Love
A website & glossy full of experiences, advice, inspiration and information by and for the parents of a deceased child – and everyone around them. Because there is so much more than sorrow alone and love never fades.
NEL by Maartje Lute can be ordered here.
Romeo is the story of Anne and Mathijs who are looking forward to the birth of their first child. During the seventh month of pregnancy, the child does not appear to be viable. They try to process the incomprehensible, each in their own way. Anne tries to give her dead child a place in her life, whereas Mathijs tries to erase it from his memory. They become so isolated in their grief, a gap starts to open up between them.
Film: Return to zero
Return to Zero is based on a true story. Aaron (Paul Adelstein) and Maggie (Minnie Driver) are a successful couple expecting their first child.
Their lives are destroyed when it appears that their son has died in the womb near the end of term. At his funeral, some beautiful, comforting words are spoken: “He was never hungry, he was never cold, he experienced nothing but love.”