Grief is the emotional and physical process you go through after the death of someone you love. If you know your newborn has a serious problem, you may start to grieve even before your baby dies.
The grief of losing a baby can feel overwhelming. It is more than the loss of a unique person. It is also the loss of your plans and dreams for your baby and your family.
Grieving is a painful process, and it does not happen in any set order. It may cause a wide range of emotions, and the emotions may change quickly. For example, you may go from shocked to sad or from angry to numb in a short period of time. You may have trouble thinking clearly or remembering things. Grief can also cause problems like trouble sleeping, headaches, and loss of appetite.
Like healing from a severe wound, grieving may take a long time. There will be bad days and better days. Try to be patient and kind to yourself as you go through this process.
Many people want to spend time with their baby after death. This gives them a chance to feel close to their baby and make memories they can recall later. For other parents, this is too painful.
Only you can know what is right for you and your family. But if you want to, you will be able to:
When a baby dies, the loss is felt by everyone involved in the baby's care. The hospital staff will do everything they can to help you during this difficult time.
The hospital staff can:
The staff can also help you decide if you want an autopsy. Sometimes an autopsy can reveal important information about a baby's death that was not known before. Some parents find it comforting to know as much as they can.
You may feel very alone and cut off from the world right now. When you're ready, it may help to:
People deal with grief in their own ways and at their own pace. For example, some people cry a great deal. Others don't cry at all. Differences like this can put a lot of strain on a family. Talking to a counsellor may help you work through the stress of your loss.
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Current as of: May 12, 2017
Thomas Emmett Francoeur, MD, CSPQ, FRCPC - Pediatrics
& Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Jennifer Merchant, MD - Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
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