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After your stillbirth

Strategies for coping

There are many things you can do to help yourself after the loss of your baby. One of the best ways to cope with all that you’re going through and feeling is to take good care of yourself. Think about all aspects of your life when looking for ways to take care of yourself: emotional, physical, social, and spiritual. Doing this is important to the grief and healing process.


  • Recognize your loss regardless of how long you were pregnant. The loss is as deep as the care and love you had for your baby during your pregnancy.
  • Let yourself feel how you feel. You may experience a range of emotions including sadness, anger, guilt, and frustration. These feelings are all valid. You’ve experienced the loss of your baby and your hopes and dreams. Sometimes grieving may feel more complicated if the pregnancy was not planned. It’s important to recognize that grief is about the attachment you have formed to the baby and the hopes and dreams you had for the baby.
  • If you feel angry, recognize your anger for what it is and find constructive way to express it.
  • Listen to music, read, paint, or write in a journal.
  • Pull out special keepsakes or your memory box and plan some time to look at these.
  • Surround yourself with calm. Use soft lighting and comforting music to create a peaceful space.
  • Practice mindfulness or meditation.
  • Write a letter to your baby, a journal entry, or a blog.​


  • Take care of your physical needs. Drink plenty of fluids including water.
  • Make sure you are getting enough to eat. You may find that eating small amounts more often is easier for you.
  • If you drink alcohol, limit how much you drink. Alcohol may numb the pain temporarily but it can also affect your ability to cope.
  • When you can, go for a walk or do some form of physical activity. This will help you sleep better and it will give you the energy to get through the day.
  • Go for a massage. This can help with any stiffness or muscle soreness you have. Massage helps to release hormones that can decrease stress, relieve pain, improve concentration, improve sleep, and elevate mood.
  • Limit your time spent using the computer or internet.
  • Try to keep to your usual bedtime routine.


  • Let your loved ones know that it helps you feel more connected when they check on you. Reach out to your family and friends when you feel ready or if you need someone to talk to.
  • Allow friends and family to help. They may be able to help with meals, housework, or running errands. If you have older children, other family members may be willing to look after them to give you time to grieve.
  • You may feel jealous of parents who have babies or women who are pregnant. This is normal. It’s OK to choose not to go to baby showers or events while you’re grieving.
  • Do things that you enjoy and make you feel peaceful or happy.
  • Keep your schedule lighter. Don’t commit yourself to doing too much.


  • Participate in your spiritual or religious activities or community if it offers you comfort.
  • Find ways to remember your baby during the holidays such as an ornament in memory of your baby.
  • Make a plan and give yourself some scheduled time to remember your baby.
  • Attend an event such as a candle-lighting ceremony or a “walk to remember”. You may want to start one with your family or community if this will help.
  • Plant a tree or your favourite flowers to help you honour the memory of your baby.

Coping with milestones 

You may think about your loss at various times all through the year. Holidays, the anniversary of your loss, or your due date can often bring back the feelings of grief more strongly. Take note of how you're feeling about the upcoming day as it gets closer and plan to take some extra time to take care of yourself.

It can help to make a plan before a particular date or milestone. Know that this can be a difficult time and plan to recognize the day with a special memory or activity. Allow yourself, your partner, and family to do what is most helpful to each of you.​​​

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