Every year baby loss week is a time for bereaved parents and their families and friends to unite and commemorate their babies’ lives. With tragedy affecting 1 in 4 pregnancies in the UK, we want to join in with raising awareness and supporting those affected by pregnancy and baby loss, to let them know they are not alone.
Losing a baby or child is without a doubt one of the most difficult experiences that a parent will endure. When expectation, dreams and futures are shifted so suddenly, it can be difficult to make any sense from an experience so tragic.
It is important as parents, family, friends and co-workers to be aware of the type of feelings and stages someone will inevitably go through after baby loss. These are by no means in any order or expected to last a set length of time, as we all work differently but by having this awareness, we can support someone through a particularly sad stage of their lives.
Grief – From the moment a pregnancy is confirmed, our future is starting to take shape in our minds. We anticipate, plan and dream of every detail. A bond has already been formed, whatever the feelings of a positive result could mean. When this is taken from us during pregnancy or post birth, grief will always be at the forefront of emotional response. Grief can show in many ways from denial, guilt and anger, and these are all normal mourning emotions.
Isolation – Many parents may feel extremely isolated at such a time. They may wish to talk or not talk about what has happened. How we deal with emotions is personal to everyone, so we must be aware not to push parents who have been through loss, but also to let them know we are there to support them if they need it.
Identity – When you become a parent, there are many shifts in identity and generally we find our way with this over time. If you lose a baby and are not able to partake in those first parenthood experiences, this can be very difficult to adjust to.
Relationships – Relationships with either a spouse, family or anyone in your life at a time of baby loss will be effected. It is not to say that this will be a negative impact, however with any experience of loss, sensitivity is important so parents may want to lean on those they feel support them best. Some outside assistance might also be helpful if relationships start to feel negative, and a therapist or counsellor may be able to help listen without any feeling of judgement for the parent.
These four points we hope will give an insight into the initial feelings of someone experiencing baby loss. There are many charities who give advice to anyone feeling lost, alone or looking for help - so please do visit any of the following websites for further help: