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After Your Stillbirth

How You Feel Grief

When you experience the loss of a baby, no matter what the reason, you also lose the hopes and dreams of that baby’s future. Feeling sadness and loss for those lost hopes is a natural part of grieving. You may find that previous losses resurface whether they are similar or different. Learning to live with grief is an important part of moving forward.

Things that can affect how you respond to grief may include:

  • your personality
  • gender
  • previous experience of loss
  • experience with how your family handled grief
  • cultural and religious beliefs and practices

Everyone experiences grief in their own unique way. Some people process their grief through their emotions (feeling style), others through their thoughts (thinking style). Many people have a blended style of feeling and thinking.

  • Thinking and Doing: Thinking you need to keep yourself busy so you don’t focus on feeling. For example, you busy yourself with projects, volunteering, or pouring yourself into your work.
  • Feeling: Experiencing a variety of emotions such as intense sadness, crying, and wanting to talk about your baby.

Often, parents will experience and express grief differently. You’ve each had different experiences during the pregnancy and feelings of attachment to the baby. You and your partner may find different ways to cope. At times, it may be hard to understand one another. At these times it’s important to keep talking to each other and be open about how you feel.

Although no two healing journeys are the same, the experience of many parents is that over time a dull ache replaces the strong feelings of grief and loss you feel now. Grief will stop dominating your life and eventually you will develop a “new” normal for how you feel.

Sometimes your friends and family may be uncomfortable with your experience of grief. They still care about you but it’s not easy to talk about. They may not know what to say or do to be helpful. Sometimes they may make comments that feel insensitive without meaning to upset you. You may feel like others don’t recognize your loss and you are alone. Again, talk about how you’re feeling with your partner and your close friends.

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