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A Guide for Parents Who Are Grieving a Stillborn Baby

Category: 

Bereavement Relief

Posted On: Feb 07, 2017

A Guide for Parents Who Are Grieving a Stillborn Baby

The loss of a child is always tragic. There's a mistaken belief that losing a child when s/he is young is somehow easier or not as painful, but that's a ridiculous and hurtful idea. Parents who lose a child due to miscarriage are just as bereaved as any other parents. When the mother delivers a stillborn child, the pain is intense, all-consuming, and devastating. In many cases, there's not always a warning that it's a possibility. The surprise of a tragedy during a moment that's celebratory is shocking, and that shock lingers. There's no “right way” for anyone to grieve this type of loss, but it's helpful to know what it's like to navigate the shellshocked, aching period following a stillbirth.

Moms Get Hit the Hardest

That might not sound like a fair assessment, and it's not meant to take away from the grief of the other parent—of course, s/he is also grieving. During the first several days following the loss of the baby, however, the mother will experience mood swings from quickly changing hormone levels, which wreak havoc on the mind and body. Her breasts may still fill up with milk for the baby, as well. Combined with the anguish of losing a baby, hormonal shifts and milk production can add to the mother's grief.  Please keep in mind that bleeding or spotting for several weeks is common and natural.

Family Health Becomes a Bigger Focus

It's not unheard of for both parents, but especially the birth mother, to suddenly develop an obsession with the health of everyone else in the family, including any other children and sometimes even the pets. The smallest symptoms seem like warning signs of impending illness, doom, or death. This will pass, but it may help to talk to someone.

Reach Out

In fact, it almost certainly helps to talk to someone. Often, parents who are dealing with a loss due to stillbirth find comfort in other people who experienced the same type of tragedy. There are support groups all over the place, both locally and online. This is especially important for the other parent, be it mother or father, because so much attention rightly goes to the birth mother.

Always allow yourselves to talk about your baby. S/he was a member of your family and impacted it forever. Your other children will always have a sibling. Your parents will always have a grandchild. You will always be parents.