Whether a miscarriage, stillborn death, or the loss of a baby after birth, the death of a child is devastating. If you have suffered the death of a child, please be assured that there are many people who are trained to help you cope with the grieving process.
Explore this page to learn more about coping with grief, support available to families, and tips for supporting a loved one who experienced a loss.
You are going through a very difficult time in your life and you have the right to feel sad. There’s no right or wrong way to grieve the death of a pregnancy or baby. It may seem impossible to ever get over a loss like this, but you can find ways to ease the pain. Over time you can find peace.
Some ways that you can begin healing include:
Remembering and honoring your baby, an important part of the healing process
Talking to people you love and trust
Taking care of your health, including eating well and moving your body
Staying hydrated by drinking water or juice (it’s better to stay away from alcohol and caffeine, because they can make sad feelings more intense)
Talking to your doctor if you experience intense sadness that keeps you from taking care of yourself or older children
Getting help immediately if you have thoughts of hurting yourself
Sometimes you might feel like you’re the only one out there who feels this pain. But there are many people you can connect with to help you find what you need to begin your healing journey. Some people find it helpful to talk with family and friends. For others, it can help to talk to someone trained to help deal with grief -- a social worker, counselor, health provider, or a religious leader.
It also can help to talk to others who know what you are going through. Through bereavement support groups, you can learn how to grieve and find ways to remember your baby.
The HOPE Project
The HOPE Project educates, empowers, and supports mothers who have had a pregnancy or infant loss. The program provides resources and comfort care and teaches how to plan for a healthy future. The HOPE Project provides a safe space to talk about your sadness and support you in finding ways to begin healing.
There are several HOPE programs to choose from:
You may not be ready to meet with others in person. There are many discussion forums and support groups online. A great example is the March of Dimes’ Share Your Story. There are also many private support groups on social media.
“It’s been life-changing. It’s been good to be with people who understand what I’m going through. I’ve made new friends for life through the HOPE program. I can actually say I came broken, but I’m leaving whole."
“When I lost my baby Princess Grace it was a very difficult time....There are parts of me that are still healing, but the support really helps."
Supporting Someone Who Has Experienced a Loss
If you have a loved one who has suffered the loss of a pregnancy or baby, you may have a hard time knowing how to support them or what to say. The most important thing you can do is acknowledge that, no matter how long the baby was with us, that baby was real and their life mattered. It can be tempting to try to help your loved one get over the loss, but the most important things to remember are to just listen, affirm their feelings, and love them.
When talking to your loved one, be mindful of the words you are using and what they may be communicating to your friend. It is difficult to see a friend in pain, but if you rush to try to fix the situation or give advice, you may accidentally minimize their experience.
“You’ll get over it.”
“I love you and am sorry you’re going through this pain.”
“You’re young. You can have another baby.”
“Take as long as you need—don’t feel like you need to hurry up your healing.”
“Everything happens for a reason.”
“This is not your fault.”
“At least you know you can get pregnant.”
“You are—and will always be—a mother/father/parent.”
“At least it happened early.”
“I know how much you loved this baby.” (Use the baby’s name if they had one)
Another great way to support your loved one is to enable them to care for themselves. You can bring them meals, take care of older children, or just be available to listen. There is no wrong way to be there for someone. Often times, people experiencing the loss of a child feel alone, so the most important thing is to let your friend know that you love them and that you are thinking about them.