No one expects to lose their baby, especially parents who did all they could to stay healthy and care for their unborn. However, there are many different reasons why sometimes babies do not make it back home. Here are some tips on how to survive losing your child in NICU:
Be truthful and accepting. It is normal to be bewildered about the death of a child. You may also lie or make up stories to children or pretend that the situation didn't happen. This doesn't help at all so it is better to face the facts. Tell your children that your child had died and explain it to them in terms that they understand. Young children ages 5 and below do not understand death, explain it to them simply like ‘the baby is sick and its body did not work properly.' Do not say vague sentences like ‘he went away' or ‘he's not here with us anymore.' They will take it literally and they might be confused. Acceptance is the first step towards recovery.
Focus on your child, not the loss. Remembering your child can help you come through the grief of loss. Hold your baby in your arms and wrap him or her in a comfortable blanket. Keep with you your child's hospital bracelet, hair, a picture, anything that reminds you of your little angel. Have friends and family commemorate your child during important dates. Do not think of what might have happened if you have done things differently because that will only cause you deeper pain than solve problems. What you could do is remind yourself that your child is and always will be valuable to you, and take the experience to value your children more.
Take care of yourself. Take care of your body. Eat nutritious food and plenty of water. Exercise and have adequate rest. Live a healthy lifestyle. This could help a lot in managing your emotions and keeping your head clear and your body ready for other activities.
Take your time. Getting over the loss of your child will come to you; just let time heal the wounds you may have. According to psychological studies, people often overestimate the length of time that their emotions would endure. That information could help you see hope that even though your pain is great as of the moment, it will soon pass and you could experience the joys of life once more.
Seek support and counseling. Seek the help of professionals if you are having difficulty recovering from your pain. The hospital staff could provide you with the help you need, from answering questions, counseling, offering prayers to just holding you as you grieve. Another idea is to attend meetings of people who had a similar experience as you. There are a lot of people in the world who lose their child every day and reaching out to them is as simple as chatting with them online. Recovery is much easier by sharing your emotions with others and planning steps on how to overcome your pain.
Loss of child in an NICU is painful and unplanned for. These are steps that you could take to help you on your way to recovery, and may you be better and stronger parents when you get there.