Note: This post is in honor of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
Whenever and however it occurs, a baby’s death is a traumatic bereavement. Even if a pregnancy is unplanned or unexpected or is very short, a special bond materializes as the parents think about their baby and the reality of becoming a mother or a father to this child. Even if they’d only just found out they were pregnant, the parents are primed to invest, nurture, and protect. With a positive pregnancy test, parents start imagining all kinds of special experiences they will share with their child. In such heartfelt and intimate ways, they forge a deep bond with their baby, even long before the birth.
If you’ve experienced the death of a baby, you can see how your profound bond gives rise to a profound grief. And even though you never got the chance to know your baby in the ways we normally think of knowing someone, your hopes and dreams for this child are held dear. You have not only experienced the death of a child, you have lost the chance to see this baby grow, become a vital part of the family, and realize his or her potential. Death thwarts your best intentions and breaks your heart.
Indeed, after your baby dies, you may have moments when you doubt that you can survive this ordeal. Your longing, anger, sadness, and despair can run so deep that you may wonder if you will ever emerge from the abyss.
Here are some helpful ideas for grieving, coping, and adjusting to the death of your baby. As always, take in what fits for you; set aside the others to consider down the road.
7. Have faith that eventually you will feel better. Like the many parents who’ve come before you, you too can survive the death of your baby.
8. Know that even as you grieve, you are healing. Take one day at a time and trust the process.
9. Remember that your grief is normal and you are not alone.