As you try to cope with the emotional upheaval following the death of your baby, the following thoughts may be helpful.
Take your time
You may feel numb, or find it difficult to believe what's happened. You may feel sad, angry or guilty. You may also feel panicky about what needs to be done, or about what lies ahead.
It’s important, especially in the first few days, that you allow yourself:
- time to take in what has happened
- time to talk about the baby who has died
- time to feel the pain and the loneliness
- time for yourself
When a baby dies, often the first emotion parents feel is disbelief and the situation can feel quite unreal. Parents may find themselves experiencing a wide range of feelings and these can include anguish, sadness, guilt, fear, anger, numbness or emptiness.
Physical symptoms may also be experienced and you may have difficulty eating, sleeping or coping with everyday activities. All of these feelings are very normal and may vary in intensity. These feelings may last for a long time, leaving you feeling emotionally and physically drained.
When a baby dies, everyone close will feel the loss, although no two people will think or feel the same way and this includes the parents. Partners may be the greatest comfort to each other but, in some cases, they may not be able to grieve together.
It's impossible to generalise reactions to grief, men and women tend to grieve in different ways. Women tend to be more able to show their emotions, while men, although equally distressed, may hide their emotions or even put their emotions on hold.
Do it your way
We're all different, and we react to death in different ways. Bereavement and grief are painful experiences and learning to live with loss is hard. You may find you want to be alone or that you need someone to be with you all the time.
There's no right or wrong way to grieve, just try to do what feels right for you.
Finally, it's important not to expect too much of yourself and to know when to ask for help. The death of a baby is a major event in anybody’s life and there are no quick ways of adjusting.
It can be helpful to find someone you trust and who you can to talk to, for example a friend, your doctor, your midwife or a religious leader. If after a while you feel you're still not coping, you may want to speak with your doctor or midwife.