Help Grieving the Loss of a Baby

The loss of a baby is one of life's most cruel blows.  It goes against everything that we feel should happen. Retired nurse,  mid-wife and health visitor, Elizabeth Postle, has helped many families cope with this loss.  

Here are some of her thoughts and advice, along with a story of how one family learned to live with their loss.  

When the unthinkable death of a baby happens, the shock and chaos of the first few days helps the time to pass. There are visits from doctors, specialists and police. There is lots of activity trying to establish why the precious baby died.

Sadly there is always a lot of guilt around for parents wondering if they’d done something wrong. Was baby too hot, too cold, fed properly. There are so many questions, but sadly a cause is not always found. 

It takes months for families to come to terms with what has happened. They never forget or totally get over something like this. But they learn to cope from day to day.

white roses

Although your baby has died, treasure the time you had with them

How long a lifespan anyone has is due to genetics, lifestyle and the environment into which we are born. None of us have total control. Sometimes a baby’s life is just not viable. 

If you ask any parent whose young baby or child has died:  “would you have missed the opportunity to have known the love of this child or your love for them?” the answer is always that they wouldn’t have missed it for the world, in spite of the loss. 

Their short lives are very precious and the pain and anguish is caused because you loved them. Parents would not want to have missed that. 

Parents today know that babies recognize their parent's voices from inside the womb. They can hear the music that parents have listened to during pregnancy. You have felt their movements. 

If a baby is destined to have only a few days or weeks of life, you have witnessed all these things and shared almost a year with them. You have been there to nurture, support and comfort them for all those months, for all their lifetime in fact. 

From the miracle of conception, the joy or panic in discovering that a new being is on the way, to the awe of seeing the first scan or the thrill of feeling baby’s first kicks, these are all exciting milestones. 

The experience of birth itself, the joy of tiny fingers gripping yours. Those eyes looking at you, adjusting to light and seeing this strange new world. The first suckling of a new born. All these are magical moments which some people never get to experience. Treasure them.  Your baby was loved and had a precious life which you will never forget.  

When working as a health visitor for 0 – 5 year olds for 10 years, I learned that:

  • Despite all the loving care and attention given to a baby, for some often unknown reason some will die.
  • Despite neglect, some babies will survive what the world throws at them.

Who can ever understand the slings and arrows of life’s misfortunes?  The lesson to be learned from this is that there is no-one to blame.  Life is precarious and unpredictable and there are no guarantees.  

Pink cherry blossom - a sign that life goes on after the loss of a baby

Loss of a Baby – a Story of SIDS

One mum who thought she’d be a career woman gave up work after her baby was born and loved being at home. It was her first baby, a girl. A first grandchild for the family and everyone was delighted and supportive. Feeding was going well and weight gain was good. All the medical and developmental checks were fine. She was a happy content baby from a loving comfortable home.

I visited the home one day, talked to mum and grandmother and did a hearing check. All was well. The child was at that lovely 3 months age, full of smiles. After bath time, a feed and being put to sleep that night as usual in her cot, the family experienced the horror of a sudden infant death. From my happy and relaxed visit the day before, I walked into this nightmare with the family next morning. I feel no shame in admitting that at times like these I shed a few tears with the family. There were lots of hugs and why, why, why? It goes to show that it can happen to anyone.

Two years later the couple had a baby boy. Yes, they were naturally over protective and made use of technology with baby alarms and such like. The little boy was not a replacement for their lost little girl, and never could be. But life went on.

Thirty years on, I still remember the smile of that wonderful 3 month old baby girl who was victim that night to sudden infant cot death.

How many smiles do you remember 30 years on?

That child’s life was very meaningful to all her family. There was pain and loss because they loved her, but lots of joy because they knew her, cuddled her even if for only a short time. They all loved and cherished their lovely daughter and grand-daughter.

She was very precious and the pleasure she gave to everyone in her few months meant that her short life was worthwhile. 

How to Cope with the Loss of a Baby

There will be pain and grief and tears.  There may be guilt. If you are wondering if you did something wrong, if you could have taken more care, or if you missed something, please accept that usually there is no fault anywhere. These precious babies were just not viable with life. Forgive yourself, remember the life they had with love and joy. It is quality not quantity that matters.

  • Try to think of all the precious moments you spent with the baby, treasure them. Quality of time far outweighs quantity. Those memories will be with you for the rest of your life.
  • You chose a name for the baby, you photographed this wonderful bundle and perhaps you gave the first bath.
  • Many, many people do not ever in a long lifetime experience these emotions.  You are special and lucky to have experienced these powerful feelings.
  • Do grieve, but do not wallow in self pity. Let your child’s life span, though short, be meaningful and respected.
  • However short a lifetime is, life is a precious gift. Be thankful for that.

Related Pages: 

Books on the Loss of a Baby, including: “Freddie: Diary of a Cot Death” 

Memorial Jewelry can be a comfort.  A way of wearing a memory of your baby close to your heart.  

Grief and the Holidays” for how to cope with birthdays, Christmas etc. 

Also read all the general pages on dealing with grief throughout this site. 

Where to get help: 

Have You Considered One-on-One Online Grief Counseling? 

Get Expert and Effective Help in the Comfort of Your Own Home

The following information about online counseling is sponsored by 'Betterhelp' but all the opinions are our own. To be upfront, we do receive a commission when you sign up with 'Betterhelp', but we have total faith in their expertise and would never recommend something we didn't completely approve.  

Do you feel alone and sad with no support and no idea how to move forward?  It can be tough when you are stuck in grief to find the motivation to get the most out of your precious life. 

Online counseling can help by giving you that support so you don't feel so alone. You can have someone to talk to anytime you like, a kind and understanding person who will help you to find meaning in life again, to treasure the memories of your loved one without being overwhelmed and to enjoy your activities, family and friends again.

  • Simply fill out the online questionnaire and you will be assigned the expert grief counselor most suitable for you.  It only takes a few minutes and you don't even have to use your name.  
  • Pay an affordable FLAT FEE FOR UNLIMITED SESSIONS.  
  • Contact your counselor whenever you like by chat, messaging, video or phone. 
  • You can change counselor at any time if you wish.
  • Click here to find out more and get started immediately.
  • Or read more about how online counseling works here.  
Woman Crying. Get Started with Online Counselling

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Hypnosis for Grief - 10 Ways It Can Help You

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.  

Read more about it here. 

For Remembrance: 

Sales from our pages result in a small commission to us which helps us to continue our work supporting the grieving.  

Heart Shaped Sterling Silver Pendant for Cremation Ashes, Engraved Forever Loved

Memorial Jewelry to Honour a Loved One

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. 

Click here to see our selection

Create an Online Memorial Website

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. 

Find out more here. 

Keep in touch with us: 

Sign up for our newsletter and receive:

"The 10 Most Important Things You Can Do
To Survive Your Grief And Get On With Life"

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! 

All you have to do to receive this free document is fill in your email address below. 

You will also receive our newsletter which we send out from time to time with our newest comforting and helpful information.   You can unsubscribe any time you like, and don't worry, your email address is totally safe with us. 

NEW BONUS - Also receive a copy of our short eBook - '99 Ways to Spot a Great Grief Counselor'.  Available for instant download as soon as you sign up. Never waste money on poor counseling again! 

Join us on Facebook for articles, support, discussion and more.  Click 'Like' below.

Share this page:
If you found this page helpful, please share it.

Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?

  1. Click on the HTML link code below.
  2. Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment, your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.