Grief and loss after losing a babyGGrief and loss after losing a babyGrief and loss after losing a babyEnglishNeonatologyNewborn (0-28 days)NANASupport, services and resourcesCaregivers Adult (19+)NA2009-10-28T04:00:00ZChristine Newman, MD, FRCPC8.0000000000000062.00000000000001557.00000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>This page describes the feelings of grief and loss that parents face when they lose a baby. Ways to cope with grief and remember their baby are discussed.</p><p>You will probably be overwhelmed with a range of emotions. Having a child die is one of the most difficult types of grief to deal with. No parents expect to outlive their child. You may feel sad one minute and angry the next. You may feel shock, denial, and depression. Sometimes you will feel these emotions altogether or one after the other. Often they may come without warning. You may also experience a tremendous emotional release if you've been holding your emotions in throughout the course of your child’s illness. </p><h2>Key points</h2> <ul><li>Allow yourself time to grieve and remember that everyone grieves in their own way, and there is no time limit on grief.</li> <li>If you find yourself sinking into a depression and unable to cope, seek out help from a counsellor or bereavement group.</li></ul>
Deuil et perte après la perte du bébéDDeuil et perte après la perte du bébéGrief and loss after losing a babyFrenchNeonatologyNewborn (0-28 days)NANASupport, services and resourcesAdult (19+)NA2009-10-28T04:00:00ZChristine Newman, MD, FRCPC8.0000000000000062.00000000000001557.00000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>La présente page décrit les émotions qui accompagnent le deuil et la perte auxquels font face les parents qui perdent un enfant. On y discute de moyens pour composer avec le deuil et de comment se souvenir du bébé.</p><p>Vous serez probablement submergé par toute une panoplie d'émotions. Le décès d'un enfant est l'un des deuils les plus difficiles pour un parent. Aucun parent ne veut survivre à ses enfants. Vous pourriez éprouver de la tristesse pendant un moment, puis de la colère la minute suivante. Vous pourriez être en choc, en déni ou déprimé. Parfois, vous ressentirez toutes ces émotions ensemble ou l'une après l'autre. Elles arrivent souvent sans avertissement. Vous pourriez également éprouver une profonde libération émotionnelle si vous avez gardé vos émotions à l'intérieur tout au long de la maladie de votre enfant.</p><h2>À retenir</h2> <ul><li>Donnez-vous du temps de faire votre deuil et n’oubliez pas que chacun fait son deuil à sa façon et qu’il n’y a pas de limite temporelle au deuil.</li> <li>Si vous plongez dans une dépression et ne parvenez pas à composer avec la situation, sollicitez le soutien d’un conseiller ou d’un groupe de consultation aux endeuillés </li></ul>

 

 

Grief and loss after losing a baby475.000000000000Grief and loss after losing a babyGrief and loss after losing a babyGEnglishNeonatologyNewborn (0-28 days)NANASupport, services and resourcesCaregivers Adult (19+)NA2009-10-28T04:00:00ZChristine Newman, MD, FRCPC8.0000000000000062.00000000000001557.00000000000Flat ContentHealth A-Z<p>This page describes the feelings of grief and loss that parents face when they lose a baby. Ways to cope with grief and remember their baby are discussed.</p><p>You will probably be overwhelmed with a range of emotions. Having a child die is one of the most difficult types of grief to deal with. No parents expect to outlive their child. You may feel sad one minute and angry the next. You may feel shock, denial, and depression. Sometimes you will feel these emotions altogether or one after the other. Often they may come without warning. You may also experience a tremendous emotional release if you've been holding your emotions in throughout the course of your child’s illness. </p><h2>Key points</h2> <ul><li>Allow yourself time to grieve and remember that everyone grieves in their own way, and there is no time limit on grief.</li> <li>If you find yourself sinking into a depression and unable to cope, seek out help from a counsellor or bereavement group.</li></ul><h2>What feelings will you experience if your baby dies?</h2> <p>Grieving tends to follow a certain process, though every individual grieves differently. Well-known grief counsellor William Worden identified four phases of grief which might be expressed for the loss of a child as follows: </p> <ul> <li>acceptance of the reality of the loss of your child </li> <li>experience of the pain of grief </li> <li>adjustment to an environment from which your child is missing </li> <li>finding ways to maintain a relationship with the child who has died</li></ul> <p>Individuals may go through these phases in steps or move back and forth between phases.</p> <h2>What are normal grief reactions?</h2> <ul> <li>crying unexpectedly </li> <li>forgetfulness </li> <li>tightening of the throat and chest </li> <li>sighing </li> <li>confusion, inability to perform simple tasks </li> <li>fatigue, restlessness </li> <li>change in sleeping habits </li> <li>apathy </li> <li>loss of appetite or overeating </li> <li>feeling of emptiness </li> <li>sense of the presence of your child </li> <li>frequent dreams about your child </li></ul> <h2>How do you cope with your feelings?</h2> <p>Give yourself time to adjust. These are immensely uncomfortable feelings to have. Initially you may just want to withdraw. Be gentle with yourself but in time try to see the good things in life and reconnect with loved ones. During this difficult time, avoid making any major life decisions, and also don't let others make decisions for you, since only you know what you need. Don't be afraid to let people know you need help; be specific when telling them how they can help by doing things such as spending time with you, doing some shopping, or helping out with child care. </p> <p>Talk about your feelings with someone close to you, someone who can listen patiently and without judging. Consider, though, that your partner will be struggling with emotional overload too, and neither of you may be in a position to effectively comfort each other. The same may hold true for other family members and friends. </p> <p>Catch up on relationships with friends when you're ready. It might be helpful to try to make some new relationships. Reading books and poetry can provide some comfort, as can writing, perhaps in a journal, or in letters to your baby. </p> <p>Consider joining a bereavement support group or speaking to a grief counsellor. The palliative care coordinator at your hospital will also be following up with you periodically after the event, and they are someone who can provide support and suggest resources. </p> <p>If you are a spiritual person, your faith may provide some comfort, in the form of religious services and prayer. If you find yourself angry at God, know that this is a common reaction. Rituals like a funeral can also provide an opportunity to honour your baby. </p> <p>Don't think you need to be stoic and emotionless. It's healthy to express your feelings and show your other children that it’s acceptable. Say something like: "Today I'm feeling sad. How about you?" </p> <p>Grieving is a truly personal experience. Everyone grieves in their own way. There is no set time for getting over something. Know that it will be a struggle and very painful in the beginning. The intensity of your grief will change; however, it doesn't necessarily get easier in time. You won't "get over it," but you will find a way to reconcile yourself to what has happened. Denying your baby's death and your pain may prevent you from moving on and learning to live without your baby. You will never forget your baby, but you will simply find a new way of living that enables you to embrace new experiences. </p> <p>Sometimes the death of someone close prompts people to take up new causes to help others, to engage in new activities, or to meet new people. It can also prompt a bigger embracing of life and how precious it is. The bottom line is that over time, those who are grieving the loss of someone close come to accept what's happened and learn to grow again. </p> <h2>Advice for parents coping with grief</h2> <ul> <li>Take care of yourselves physically. </li> <li>Deal with your feelings of guilt and blame. </li> <li>Allow surviving children their own method of grieving. </li> <li>Get help for surviving children, if they need it. </li> <li>Find healthy ways to remember your baby. </li> <li>Find ways to spend time with your surviving children. </li> <li>Give your surviving children space. </li> <li>Don't compare your deceased baby to surviving children. </li> <li>Don't attempt to replace your deceased baby with another child. </li></ul> <h2>What if your grief is overwhelming you?</h2> <p>If you find yourself sinking into a depression or unable to cope — particularly if you withdraw from your family and can't parent your surviving children — seek out the help of a counsellor or bereavement group. Major red flags include concerns about your own well-being, concerns expressed by others about your well-being, and thoughts of self-harm. </p> <h2>How can you remember your baby?</h2> <ul> <li>Have a memorial for your baby. </li> <li>Have frequent and open discussions about your baby. </li> <li>Share happy memories. </li> <li>Celebrate their birthday every year. Honour them on special occasions. </li> <li>Display their pictures. </li> <li>Keep a lock of their hair as a keepsake. </li> <li>Keep one of their blankets. </li> <li>Make a hand or footprint in clay as a keepsake. </li></ul> <h2>Is it normal to have an ongoing relationship with a baby who has died?</h2> <p>Yes. It is very normal to continue to be attached to your baby after death and continue to have a relationship. For parents, celebrating their baby's birthday or having imaginary conversations with their baby is completely normal and is in fact a very healthy way to grieve. </p> <h2>Advice to those grieving the loss of a baby</h2> <h3>Feel the pain</h3> <p>Give into it — even give it precedence over other emotions and activities, because grief is a pain that will get in the way later if it is ignored. Realize that grief has no timetable; it is cyclical, so expect the emotions to come and go for weeks, months, or even years. While a show of strength is admirable, it does not serve the need to express sadness, even when it comes out at unexpected times and places. </p> <h3>Talk about your sorrow</h3> <p>Take the time to seek comfort from friends who will listen. Let them know you need to talk about your loss. People will understand, although they may not know how to respond. If they change the subject, explain that you need to share your memories and express your sorrow. </p> <h3>Forgive yourself</h3> <p>Forgive yourself for all the things you believe you should have said or done. Also forgive yourself for the anger, guilt, and embarrassment you may have felt while grieving. </p> <h3>Eat well and exercise</h3> <p>Grief is exhausting. To sustain your energy, be sure to maintain a balanced diet. Exercise is also important in sustaining energy. Find a routine that suits you, perhaps walks or bike rides with friends, or in solitude. Clear your mind and refresh your body. </p> <h3>Indulge yourself</h3> <p>Take naps, read a good book, listen to your favourite music, get a manicure, go to a ball game, rent a movie. Do something that is frivolous, distracting, and that you personally find comforting. </p> <h3>Prepare for holidays and anniversaries</h3> <p>Many people feel especially blue during these periods, and the anniversary date of a baby’s death can be especially painful. Even if you think you’ve progressed, these dates may bring back some of your painful emotions. Make arrangements to be with friends and family members with whom you are comfortable. Plan activities that give you an opportunity to mark the anniversary of your baby’s death. </p> <h3>Get help</h3> <p>Bereavement groups can help you recognize your feelings and put them in perspective. They can also help alleviate the feeling that you are alone. The experience of sharing with others who are in a similar situation can be comforting and reassuring. Sometimes new friendships grow through these groups, even a whole new social network that you did not have before. </p> <p>Some groups cater to parents who have lost a baby. There are also groups that do not specialize. Check with your local hospice or other bereavement support groups for more information. </p> <p>If you find that you are in great distress or in long-term depression, individual or group therapy from a counsellor who specializes in grief may be advisable. You can ask your doctor for a referral. </p> <h3>Take active steps to create a new life for yourself</h3> <p>Give yourself as much time to grieve as you need. Once you find new energy, begin to look for interesting things to do. Take courses, donate time to a cause you support, meet new people, or even find a new job. </p> <p>It is often tempting to try to replace a baby who has died. This form of reconciliation often does not work. Many people discover that there is hope after death. Death takes away, but grief can give back. It is possible to recover from grief with new strength and a new direction. By acting on our grief, we may eventually find peace and purpose. </p>Grief and loss after losing a baby

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