pre natal diagnosis
47 hours with a prince
memorial service ideas
Resources for Parents
The loss of a baby at any stage of pregnancy or after birth is devastating. Dealing with loss at any of these stages carries with it unique challenges, questions and experiences. Grief is an extremely personal process and each person will deal with grief in his or her own way.
If you have suffered the loss of your child, below are some things you may find helpful as you go through your journey.
Ask for space if you need it
Sometimes people may be so eager to help you and let you know they care that they are darkening your doorstep at all hours with all sorts of gifts and offers of help, or wanting to come into your home to see how you are doing. Whilst it is truly a blessing to have people like this in your lives, it is also okay for you to let people know that it can be overwhelming and that you need some space. A good way to do this is to ask a family member or friend to get in contact with the rest of your family/friends (email is a great way to do this) and to pass on your thanks for their love and concern, but also requesting that people only contact you via email for a time as constant calls and visitors on the doorstep can be quite overwhelming.
Be aware that men and women grieve differently
This can be a particular bone of contention between spouses as husbands may be inclined to think that their wives are overreacting whilst wives may be inclined to think that their husbands don’t care enough. Understand that men and women grieve differently, in their own way and in their own time. It may be a number of years before the full impact of grief hits home for either one.
Consider your other children
If you have other children, it can be difficult to understand and help them grieve whilst you are grieving. Remember that they will be grieving the loss of their brother/sister also. For a list of practical ideas to help your children process their grief click here.
Plan a memorial service
Think about planning a memorial service for your child, regardless of their age. For premature babies and full term or living infants, a rite of burial or cremation is required by law. Consider using this as an opportunity to honour your precious child and holding a special service. You will not have the opportunity to throw birthday parties, graduation parties or help your child plan their wedding, so this can be a lovely opportunity as a parent to do something for your child of that nature. For some ideas about planning a service, click here.
Planning a service for an early miscarried pregnancy is something of a taboo subject in our culture. However, oraganising a time with close family and friends to hold a short memorial (it could be as simple as the planting of a tree and a few words spoken) can be a way to help you process your grief as well as helping those around you to feel the reality of your loss. For some ideas about planning a memorial service for an early pregnancy loss, click here.
Monitor your expectations
Try not to have expectations about how others will grieve or act, especially those within your families. Whilst it is difficult and devastating when people do not express support in the way we would like to be supported, each person is dealing with their own version of grief as it relates to your situation and it will be shown in different ways.
Point your family and friends in the right direction
If you feel like your family and friends are not supporting you in the way you need to be supported, or are failing to understand something of what it is like for you to go through the loss of your child, consider forwarding them some of the resources under our “Resources for family and friends” section. Although it is unfair to expect that others will be able to understand exactly what it is you are going through, it is a way of gently helping them to understand what may or may not be helpful for you.
Try to find some things that you can do or touch that help you process your loss. This will be a little different for each person depending on their personality as well as the stage at which your child was at before they passed away. For some ideas, click here.
Join a support group
There are some fantastic organisations around to help provide support. Groups can be of a face-to-face nature or as an online forum. For a list of recommended support groups click here.
Don't be shy to tell your doctor you are feeling depressed or anxious
Depression and anxiety are two of the most misunderstood illnesses. I can tell you from personal experience that depression is truly more than just being lazy, tired, upset and worried; it is not just something you can make your mind up to "get over." There are some fantastic organisations and treatments available to help with depression and anxiety. If you feel as though you are not making any progress through your grief, talk to your GP; they are more than happy to help. Here is a link to some information about Depression and Anxiety and also some Australian support groups. Get in touch with someone today!
Learn about the experience of others
Sometimes hearing about everyone elses' stories of grief and loss can be very unhelpful. But there may come a point in your journey where you want to hear about the experiences of others and how they have "got through it." There is an endelss supply of books, blogs, articles and stories on the internet of people who will share similar experiences to yours. Be selective in what you read. If you are unsure about what to read, ask around. You could also ask a trusted friend or family member to screen particular books or articles for you so you are not reading things that will be harmful to your recovery. For a free copy of 47 Hours with a Prince click here.