Grief is hard work and takes energy. Everyone experiences loss differently. There’s no set time limit to feel sadness or the pain of loss. The best thing you can do is to allow yourself and your partner the time to heal and find meaningful ways to remember. Let yourself, your partner, and family do what’s most helpful for each of you.
Besides the physical recovery, emotional and spiritual healing is important. Emotional healing usually takes much longer than the physical healing. Open communication will help. Since everyone feels loss differently, try not to judge each other’s reactions. Even though both you have lost the same baby, how you respond to your grief may be very different.
It might not seem possible right now, but you’ll find your new normal. Many parents say that over time, a dull ache replaces the strong feelings of grief and loss.
The impact of grief
Grief may affect your body, how you think, your feelings, your relationships, and your spiritual beliefs. Grief is different for everyone. Some ways you feel grief are listed below.
- feeling tired or lack of energy
- chest pain and tightness
- aching arms
- changes in sleep or appetite
- stomach aches, nausea, or muscle aches
- more colds or infections (weaker immune system)
- shock, denial, confusion
- problems concentrating or memory loss
- lack of motivation
- having little or no interest in things you normally enjoy
- having trouble understanding and solving problems
- intense sadness
- guilt or shame
- anger or resentment
- fear, anxiety, panic attacks, agitation
- helpless or overwhelmed
- less confidence or being unsure of yourself
- isolated or alone
- feeling out of touch with others
- changes in relationships
- unable to manage work or daily activities
- losing contact with friends and family
- feeling upset when around children or pregnant women
- feel like your life has changed forever
- questions about meaning and purpose
- test of beliefs or faith – “Why me?” “Where is my God?”
- spend more or less time with your faith community
- lose your sense of purpose – “Why go on?”
There may be other ways you are affected by the loss of your baby. Sometimes these are hard to recognize at first. For example, the loss of a role, a change in a relationship, support system or a connection with your community. These are called secondary losses.
You may grieve the loss of your role as a parent. If you have other children, you may be sad about the loss of a sibling for them. You may find it hard to be with friends who have new babies. Or you may find that you’re not comfortable going to baby showers or birthday parties for children. These are all secondary losses you may feel as a result of the loss of your baby. Often it can help to talk to your friends and family about how you feel.