Grieving the Loss of a Baby

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Losing a child is the worst experience any parent can face. When your baby dies, the sadness can be overwhelming. Nothing or no one can change what happened and make everything better again. Regardless of the type of loss, whether you are grieving a miscarriage, a stillbirth or an infant, you must allow yourself to grieve.


Talk With Others

Dr. Shawna Ehlers, a psychologist at the Mayo Clinic, says that you may get help by sharing your feelings with other people who have had a similar loss. Your friends might not know what to say or how to talk about your loss and grief, but the right words aren’t as important as the emotional support they can offer from listening to you share your feelings. Ehlers encourages people who have lost a baby to find a support group, either in person or online. Also, consider professional counseling if you don’t see any improvement with your grief in six to 12 months.

Emotions

Having a myriad of emotions is normal. You might not want to go forward with your life. As time goes on, you may feel anger and guilt along with your sadness and pain. To help surf this emotional tidal wave, some parents create a shrine or memorial assemblage, with photos and personal items, such as the baby’s blanket or a toy. Maintain your health throughout your grieving by eating healthy foods, exercising and seeking out your support group and people you love.

Your Partner

No two people grieve in the same way. Recognize that your partner may deal with the loss differently than you. Don’t blame him or think that he doesn’t care if he moves on with his life before you do. If your partner doesn’t want to talk about the baby and you do, use your support group to do that. Spend some time with your partner, suggests Ehlers, by scheduling one day a week where you do something pleasurable together.

Stillbirth

Half of all stillbirths occur to women who had no problems during pregnancy, so the tragedy can come as an unexpected shock. If your baby has died before you have gone into labor, depending on your situation, you may be able to decide whether you want to give birth naturally or have your doctor induce labor. Some parents find comfort in bathing the baby and dressing him in a special outfit, taking pictures and clipping a lock of the baby’s hair, or having her baptized at the hospital.

Miscarriage

You bond with the baby when you are pregnant. Losing your baby to a miscarriage causes you the same kind of grief as parents who lost an older baby. First, you might deny the miscarriage. Then you may be angry that this happened to you, guilty that you may have done something wrong and depressed because of the loss. Next, you learn to accept what happened. It takes time to move through the stages, and expect regular emotional pitfalls from even everyday experiences such as fan invintation to a baby shower or a visit with your friends with their babies.

Losing One Baby

You are in a unique circumstance when you lose a baby in a multiple birth and have one or more newborns to care for at the same time. You must bond with your baby or babies while grieving their lost sibling. To help get you through this tragedy, call the baby who died by her name. This helps you to grieve her loss while you take care of your living baby or babies.

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