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35 Tips For Dealing With The Loss Of A Baby
By Nikolina Ilic | Oct 21, 2021
Did you know one in four pregnancies will end with the loss of a baby? Be it a stillbirth, miscarriage or even young death.
And yet, the subject still remains taboo.
So, as Baby Loss Awareness month comes around, WH entrusted the expertise of Nicola Gaskin, author of Life After Baby Loss. Here, she shares some gentle practical advice on how to deal with the raw emotion and initial shock of such a tragedy, along with coping strategies for living with everlasting grief and parenting after loss.
You may be wondering why Nicola’s advice holds any more weight than other authors, but tragically, she herself has experienced first hand what bringing a baby into the world only to lose them hours later feels like. Her first child, Winter, died the day after he was born, and Nicola has used her platform ever since to try and help others in the same scenario.
Keep reading for 35 empathetic and supportive tips for all parents who find themselves in need of a helping hand.
Whether you’re dealing with a still birth, miscarriage or have even given birth to your baby only for sudden illness to take them away from you, WH want to offer their utmost support.
Remember—your feelings are valid and you are not alone.
35 TIPS ADDRESSING HOW TO DEAL WITH THE LOSS OF A BABY
How to deal with the loss of a baby initially
1. Be kind to yourself. Allow time to grieve, acknowledge and accept that you will hurt. Do not inflict self-judgement on your emotions, simply feel.
2. Try to look back at your time with your baby with as few regrets as possible. Each moment you carried them was special, any time you had together was unique and cannot ever be replicated or replaced. Those moments are yours forever.
3. Ask friends and family to share your news if you feel it is too difficult. Keep your baby private if you wish to and hold them tightly in your heart.
4. If it is too painful to see them each day, arrange for any baby preparations to be stored lovingly away. Keep them out if they are a warm reminder of your baby’s life.
5. Remember that your baby’s existence was ignited by love, and that love is the very catalyst for all you are about to experience. Hold on to that love.
How to deal with the heartbreak of losing a baby
6. Seek out others who share your experience, in real life and online. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a wealth of links that will point you in the right direction.
7. Explain to those around you the pain you feel and why.
8. Allow yourself to grieve; miscarriage is a valid and painful loss.
9. Voice your concerns to healthcare professionals and seek answers.
How to function day to day after losing a baby
10. Expect that there will be times within your day when you will be confronted with your loss – allow yourself to grieve at these times.
11. Keep your support circle close. There is no need to forever dismiss those who don’t understand or ‘step up’ to comfort, but for now just focus on those who do.
12. If possible, only return to work when you feel you are ready. Talk to your employer beforehand and lean on friends within your workspace.
13. Find something that reminds you of your baby such as a colour, animal or flower, and share this reminder with loved ones, giving them opportunities to embrace your baby’s memory alongside you.
14. Remain confident in your knowledge that there is no right or wrong way to grieve.
15. Remove time limits and expectations on your grief.
16. Take this opportunity to gently educate those around you. When a friend misjudges your emotions and can’t understand your pain, you can explain it to them. If someone makes a comment that doesn’t sit well with your grief, you can tell them.
17. Remember that grief is love; grieving isn’t negative, it is necessary.
18. Jealousy is a natural feeling – there is no shame in that. It is not a permanent feeling, so remember you will not always feel this way.
19. Somebody else having a baby doesn’t steal your own chance of one day holding a living baby of your own.
20. Your baby taught you what an incredible honour it is to be pregnant, and how you wish for your baby to be forever celebrated. You can take this lesson they so kindly gifted you and pass it on to a fellow pregnant mother, in your baby’s memory.
How to ease your anger after losing a baby
21. Take time to be in the here and now. You do not have control over your baby’s death, but you do have control over your baby’s lasting presence in this world.
22. Remember your baby was, and forever is, perfect. Your body created that perfect life. Death is out of your hands, but your body gifted you a beautiful and precious baby regardless of how brief their life.
23. Recognise that motherhood is difficult in all its variations – we are all on our own journeys, we all have our own challenges.
24. Transform any failings in your care into a loving motivation to raise awareness, create positive change and spread life-saving messages, and dedicate that action to your baby.
25. Think about what emotions you want connected to your baby’s memory, and dismiss those you don’t want.
How not to get lost in the ‘Why me?’ conundrum after losing a baby
26. Try to recall any positive experiences you had with your baby and hold them close, whether the joy at the positive test, the lessons their brief life taught you or holding them in your arms.
27. Recognise how fortunate you are to be warm, fed, healthy, loved. No, this does not dismiss your grief, you are still allowed to hurt. It simply invites some gentle gratitude and a little light in the darkness.
28. Contemplate the suffering of all your fellow humans and realise we are all suffering in one way or another.
29. Take another lesson your baby’s life taught you with the recognition of others’ suffering – the increased capacity for compassion your baby gifted you with.
And how to move on with your life after losing a baby
30. Recognise the wibbly-wobbly journey ahead of you; know it may not be smooth and simple. Expect a tornado of emotions, brace yourself and, above all, know it will be worth it in the end.
31. Read up, educate yourself on your cycle and each monthly opportunity. Empower yourself with information.
32. Try not to let obsession engulf you. It’s likely to peak and trough, so just go with however you are feeling.
33. Continue to live! Don’t put everything else on hold.
34. Find your tribe. Join support groups and connect with others in a similar situation. Instagram has a huge community – search the #ttc (trying to conceive) hashtag. Reach out to friends, share your journey.
35. Where possible, talk to your loved ones in open conversation, tell them how difficult this path truly is.
Life after Baby Loss by Nicola Gaskin is published by Vermilion (£9.99).
Additional support resources:
– Your hospital should be able to provide details of available support services. For example, your hospital may offer bereavement support.
You can also get advice about support services from:
- your doctor or midwife
- other health professionals, such as grief counsellors or social workers
- your family and friends
– Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby on 1800 882 436, 7am to midnight (AET) to speak to a maternal child health nurse for advice and emotional support.
– Bears of Hope – 1300 11 HOPE –Provides grief support and care for families who experience the loss of their baby.
Nikolina is the web-obsessed Digital Editor at Men's and Women's Health, responsible for all things social media and .com. A lover of boxing, she spends most of the time in the gym or with her husband and daughter. She was previously a Digital Editor at GQ and Vogue magazine.
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