After losing a baby the reality is that nothing helps, not really, only time. Even then, time only allows you to get used to living alongside your grief, it doesn’t make it go away. It’s not just the grief that doesn’t go away, it’s the trauma of pregnancy itself.
You know what happened still haunts you because the minute someone you care about announces they are pregnant, which should be cause for congratulations and celebrations you get a knot in your stomach which doesn’t go until the baby has arrived safely.
Although nothing can take the pain away there are services and support groups you can access. Speaking to people in a similar situation can help you better understand your emotions and make navigating your grief more bearable.
No one really understands unless they have walked in the same shoes which is why the SANDS community can be a lifeline. If you want to immerse yourself in your grief, there are poems and songs on their website. When a sympathetic ear is needed there are plenty of, predominantly mums but also dads and grandparents on the SANDS forum to talk to and share stories with, you don’t feel so alone. There is also a lot of support for the next pregnancy from mothers who are going through it or have been through it already.
You may find talking to family and friends difficult but you are not alone.
Supporting your children with the loss of a sibling
Studies have shown that the most important ways to help children who have lost a sibling are to recognise and acknowledge their grief. This will look different depending on how old they are. You can include them in family rituals and traditions, like celebrating special dates and anniversaries or just talking about them, this all helps to keep the memory of your baby alive. Read our further advice for supporting children after the loss of a sibling.
The website Winston’s Wish is a wonderful site that offers support to children after losing someone important.
When it comes to talking about your baby to any children you go on to have in the future, you may find the book “Someone Came Before You” by Pat Schwiebert or something similar helpful. It is a lovely way to explain to young children that they have a sibling who has died. As children get older and learn more, they may start to ask more questions as they try to understand what has happened. Try to prepare yourself as the question can be random and come at the strangest of times.
Keeping the memory of your Baby alive
How you chose to remember your baby is up to you.
Anniversaries can be difficult, and you should deal with these in your own way. You may want to hide under the bed covers or hold a birthday party and invite everyone you know to celebrate your child. You may choose to do something in the middle. There is no right or wrong thing to do and it may be different every year, you should do what is right for you and your family.
Support from loved ones
It can be really nice when friends and family want to be involved in keeping the memory of your baby alive.
It is important however that they take into consideration the following:
- Whilst it may be difficult, talking about your baby and sharing photographs can really help.
- It is important to remember that your baby has a name and that your son/daughter will always be part of your family.
- There is no timeline for your grief.
- Any subsequent pregnancies may be terrifying and congratulations may not be welcomed.
- Having another baby does not make everything better and can be extremely difficult to deal with emotionally.
Everyone grieves differently and there is no right or wrong way. Some people may be happy to talk, while others might take comfort from quietly reading about other people’s experiences. The type of support you need will be individual to you and it can change over time. It can be helpful to explain to friends and family what you need and how they can best support you.