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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 experiences of loss
  • how your family has handled grief
  • cultural and religious beliefs and practices 
Feelings you had about losses that you've had before may come back. You might also find that you:
  • ask questions like “why me?”
  • feel guilty for not being able to protect your baby​
  • feel helpless for not being able to take away the pain and grief your partner is going through
Everyone experiences grief in their own unique way. Some people process their grief through their emotions (feeling style), others through their thoughts (thinking style), and actions (doing style). Many people have a blended style of feeling, thinking, and doing.
  • Feeling: Experiencing a variety of emotions such as intense sadness, crying, and wanting to talk about your baby.
  • Thinking: Searching for reasons for your loss or revisiting memories and events. Doing lots of reading, processing, and analytical thinking.
  • Doing: Keeping yourself busy so you don’t focus on feeling. For example, you busy yourself with projects, volunteering, or pouring yourself into your work.

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 2 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 that you may feel at first. 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 that you are alone. Talk about how you're feeling with your partner and your close friends. Counselling supports are also available. Call Health Link at 811 if you need help or to find support services near you.

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