Losing a baby before he or she is born, whether through a miscarriage or a still birth, is an understandably difficult thing. Each person handles it differently. There is no right or wrong way to grieve the loss of your unborn baby, as long as the grieving process doesn't hurt you or another person. How you react is often dependent on who you are and the experiences that surround you. The important thing to remember is it's okay to feel what you are feeling. No one is going to have all the answers for you; however, hopefully the suggestions below will help.
You are not alone. Many women who are experiencing the pain of losing their baby feel that they are all alone, but that isn't the case. You are not alone and many men and women understand your pain.
It's not your fault. There are a huge number of reasons that an unborn baby doesn't make it, but no matter what, it isn't your fault. For many women, it isn't that simple and this is something they will have to try and understand for several months. Take it one day at a time and tell yourself as often as you need to that it isn't your fault.
Let yourself feel your emotions. For most people, there are a lot of emotions that go with losing a baby. It is important that you let yourself feel them. Bottling them up inside may make you look and even feel stronger, but often leads to falling apart later. It is best to feel your emotions now.
- Give into the pain. After all, it is a terrible thing that has happened to you, your family, and your baby. It is okay to hurt because of it.
- Be angry. It isn't fair and it is normal to be angry.
- Cry. Cry if you need to cry. Cry if you feel it inside you. Sob if you need to. Let it out in any way that you need it to come out.
Forgive yourself. Work on forgiving yourself for what you think you may have possibly done wrong or that you didn't do. Often times it's not enough believing that it isn't our fault. Work each day to forgive yourself, even though you haven't done anything wrong.
Surround yourself with loved ones. Most people don't know what to say, and truth be told, they couldn't say anything to make it better. Let them know you don't expect them to say anything or to try and make you feel better, but that you need them to be there.
Give yourself time to adjust. There are some who may treat you like you should be over the loss of your unborn baby quickly because he or she hadn't been born yet. Forget them, and take all the time you need to adjust. Your loss is real even if your baby didn't have the chance to live outside of you.
Remember your baby. Often times it is helpful to remember your baby. This can be done in different ways depending on your needs and the needs of your family.
- Give your baby a name. This isn't something done legally, especially if your baby was miscarried, but it can be done for your family. Even if you don't know the gender of your baby, you can give your baby a name. This can help with the grief process as well as give you something beautiful to remember for all time.
- Have a ceremony. You can do this at home with your family or in a church if you desire. Set it up to be a beautiful memory.
- Make a memory box. Put any items you may have purchased in the box. Add pictures (ultrasound and/or photos taken after birth) that you have, and their name to the box. If it is painful now, then set it aside for later.
Your baby is important to you. It's okay to remember him or her and to create beautiful things or moments for him or her.
Talk about it. It may be hard to do, but as soon as you are ready, talk about it. You can talk to friends, family and most importantly your significant other. If you need to talk more then that, then seek out others who have shared a similar experience. This can be done through support groups and even through the Internet. There are a number of message boards where parents can share their grief, their experiences and aid each other in the process of living life after loosing a baby.
Keep a diary or journal. Keeping a diary or a journal can help because it gives you a safe place to express your emotions. You can write down how you feel, write letters to your baby or even to God to express your pain, anger and the hopes that you had for your baby.
Give yourself a break. Grieving is a lot of work, hard on the body and exhausting. It is okay if you need to take a break. It isn't a horrible thing and it doesn't mean that life is okay again. It just means that you are taking a break. Go out, stay in, do something you enjoy or spend time with your family. Slowly move back into life. You don't have to forget your baby or your pain. Most likely you will carry both with you forever, but it will get easier and that is okay.
Try to be understanding with others. Often times it is hard to be understanding with others when you feel so much pain. This can be your husband who may not be affected by the loss in a visible way or who may bottle up his emotions inside. Talk with him, but try to understand as well. The baby you carried inside you was a lot more real to you then it was to him. Usually the baby isn't real for him until he holds him or her in his arms, and even then it can take days, weeks or even months for him to grow attached to his new baby.
Others will say things that are inappropriate, rude or even mean and it will hurt and make you mad. Try to ignore them. They are really trying to make it better. These comments are often said with the best of intentions, but are thoughtless all together. Gently tell them how you feel.
Get help if you need help. There are several cases when you need to get help. You can talk to your doctor, a counselor or a support group to meet your needs.
- If you want to hurt yourself or anyone else you need to seek help. Your experience is bad, but these are signs that you can't handle it alone and there is someone out there that can help you.
- If you are having a hard time being a parent to your other children then you need to seek help. Grief is understandable, but your children need you as well.
- If you and your husband are having a hard time because of the loss then you may need to seek help, either together or separately.
Getting help isn't about making the horror go away, it is about having assistance. It isn't a sign of weakness, nor does it show you want to forget. It can make a huge difference in your life and your family's life.
Everyone reacts differently to the loss of an unborn baby. That is fine. Take it one day at a time. Life will go on, even though it feels like it shouldn't. Your pain, numbness, and anger are all acceptable. Your beautiful baby will always be in your heart. I hope these steps offer some help. I am sorry for your loss.