Elizabeth Postle, midwife and health visitor, helps you to cope with the huge sadness of a stillbirth.
The unthinkable has happened, and your baby has died. You'll be in shock, you'll have many many questions and you'll wonder how you will survive this.
This page should help you to work your way through this grief and learn how to cope.
Why did my baby die? What went wrong? Did I do something wrong?
These are questions you will be bound to be asking yourself.
The first thing to remember is that it is never your fault.
Only your doctor can answer the question why, so don't be afraid to ask. Sometimes it is a genetic illness or a placenta problem. Often this wonderful baby was just not viable with life. Make sure that you have all the answers to your questions, or go back and see the doctor later when you have had a chance to process what has happened.
It is important that you spend time with the baby, give him or her a name. Photographs of the precious bundle in the favourite outfit you bought for them will be a comfort in the future, although this is not something you can envisage at first.
Have a look at this website by a photographer of stillbirth infant pictures. He has created some very sensitive and beautiful images which would help families to remember the life that they spent 9 months nurturing. It may help you to understand why these photographs might be a comfort to you in the future.
Another way of keeping the memory of your child alive is to wear a piece of memorial jewelry perhaps with a lock of hair, or a pinch or ashes.
The comfort is that you shared all of this child’s short life.
Babies in the womb can identify parents voices and can listen to music. You shared the joy of knowing that you were pregnant and seeing the development on scans. You had the joy of feeling them kicking.
This child cannot be replaced but with luck you will be able to go on to have other children in time.
My mother had a boy stillbirth. She often wondered how he would have grown up, what career path he would have taken. Sadly for her he was given no name, no photographs were taken. It was when these precious bundles were whisked away from families.
Supporting each other is essential when coping with a stillbirth
Support each other as a couple. Have close friends or a counsellor to help you through the early dark days. Get through a day at a time and you will find acceptance. Get more advice in "Help Grieving the Loss of a Child".
Children also need help coping with a stillbirth in the family
Explain the death of your baby to your other children.
If the baby was to be part of the family with older children, then it is important that you explain to them clearly what has happened. Tell them the name you chose. Answer any questions they may have honestly.
Don’t just say they have gone to heaven, as young children may think it is a place from which they will be coming back. Explain that the baby won’t be coming home.
Read “Children and Grief” for more on helping children cope with grief.
Let your children’s school or nursery know, so that staff can answer any queries they may have and be aware of any problems.
Get grandparents and other relatives to help and do ask for help when you need it. Friends want to help but often don’t know how.
Many parents are naturally very concerned about even trying for another child, in case this tragedy happens again.
This is when it is a good idea to have a meeting with your consultant to discuss all the issues. The consultant can also say whether you are physically and emotionally ready for another pregnancy. This varies from person to person.
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Check out our lovely range of memorial jewelry for any lost loved one. Pendants, necklaces, rings or bracelets, we have them all in all kinds of styles. Choose for yourself or buy as a sympathy gift.
Try a gentle hypnotherapy track to relax the mind. Learn how self-hypnosis can help you cope with grief at any time of the day or night.
Honour your loved one with their own memorial website. Share photos, videos, memories and more with your family and friends in a permanent online website. Free for basic plan with no ads.
Our free downloadable and printable document "The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life" will help you to be positive day to day.
The 10 points are laid out like a poem on two pretty pages which you can pin on your fridge door to help you every day!
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