logo-20149

Tips for coping with grief

Below is a list of tips compiled from various grief literature, personal experience and from other bereaved parents which we have re-written here.

Your emotions

  • Try not to blame yourself or search for a reason for this happening
  • Although its natural to blame yourself, often things are out of your control and it will not bring your baby back - and you cannot control all the events that happen in life
  • Take it one day at a time, hour by hour, even minute by minute. This is all you may be able to manage in the early days
  • Don't try and do too much - grief can make you feel very numb and it can take a lot longer than it used to, to do even the simplest things
  • If you want to cry, then cry. Crying is very therapeutic. There are days where you might cry all day and that is okay. There will also be days where you might not cry at all, and even have a "break" from your grief. You are not forgetting or relapsing - this is normal
  • Expect your emotions to be up and down for quite a while, particularly around important dates like anniversaries and Christmas
  • Acknowledge your feelings and express them - whether it is anger, fear, anxiety, pain. Go with your feelings regardless of what others think
  • Be kind to yourself and take the time to grieve properly - your mental health is very important and you have been through a major trauma. It will take time
  • Try and keep healthy by eating well, getting some exercise and relaxation. Try some relaxing activities like meditation or music
  • As hard as it is to believe, you WILL get through the tough early days

Things you can do

  • Be kind to yourself and treat yourself to things like nature, a walk or a swim. Gentle exercise will make you feel better and less anxious
  • Write about your experience, through journalling, poetry, a song, a book or online forums/blogs
  • There are times where you may want to be alone and that is okay. Try not to isolate yourself too much though as you can feel very alone if this goes on for too long
  • Take your time before returning to work if you can. It can take a while to feel ready to "re-join" the world
  • It may sound selfish but put yourself first - now is the time to take care of yourself and perhaps try something you have always wanted to do
  • In time you will see some positives in your life. Easier said than done, but try and focus on the positives in your life, however small
  • Create memories of your baby - this can be very therapeutic process. These memories will comfort you as the years go by
  • Contribute something as a legacy to your baby - perhaps you are drawn to a particular cause or charity that helps babies/parents in a similar situation
  • Be open to exploring the spiritual or religious side of life - some people find comfort in their beliefs which can give them a special strength
  • Read about other people's experiences with maternal grief in books or online - you will feel less alone
  • Connect with others through support groups/online support groups and by reading or writing a blog of your journey. You can find many baby loss blogs through google
  • Talk about your baby when you feel like it. Friends might not bring it up because they don't want to upset you, not because they have forgotten
  • Think about awkward questions you might encounter such as "so you've had the baby?" and "how many children do you have?" and think of a response so you are not put on the spot - but also be prepared for some follow on questions/explanations. You will probably have a certain level of detail you would disclose depending on the person asking, the timing and the social situation you are in at the time. This can change too - you may want to reveal it one day but the next not want to discuss it. Try not to feel guilty if you do not include you baby in the answer - it is perfectly normal to not want to share it with everyone
  • Talk about your baby (as much as you need to) and find a sympathetic friend who is willing to just listen, and not judge or offer advice. If you do not have anyone to talk to, call a grief support service (see Grief support links for some suggestions)
  • Seek grief counselling or talk to a psychologist - it is helpful to talk to someone who is an outsider and can give you a different perspective than talking to friends/family
  • See your GP once in a while to "check in" - your doctor can see how you are coping mentally and offer suggestions or referrals if you find you are not coping well
  • Your partner may be going through the same emotions but dealing with them in a different way. Try and understand each other's feelings and that you may not be grieving in the same way
  • Ask for help if you need it and don't be afraid to accept help when it is offered
  • Often people "mean well" but may say things that don't help at all. They either don't know what to say and feel they need to say something. Or they just don't know how to help. You can try and walk away from very insensitive comments, say it like it is, or give them a copy of the Bereaved Parents Wishlist
  • If there are other children in the family talk to them about the loss and allow them to express themselves - through talking, drawing, poetry or painting. They may want to do something for their little brother or sister
  • Unfortunately these can surround us when we least expect it. Seeing pregnant women, other babies and hearing about friends' pregnancies can cause reminders - it is natural to feel envious and jealous. How to cope with these is very individual - you may want to avoid people or situations for a while or face them head on and block them out
  • There will be particular dates and anniversaries, when things can get particularly difficult (eg mothers/fathers day, due dates, anniversaries). If you can, try and prepare yourself for these difficult dates. Perhaps recognising that day and doing something special in honour of your baby can help
  • Expect that there may always be insensitive comments - often people don't know what to say so they feel they have to say something or project their opinion on you. Try not to take offense at this and seek out people who you find positive and who can support you instead
  • Distance yourself from people who are negative or not supportive of your grief, even if they are family members. Surround yourself with positive people who are willing to listen and support you
  • Don't let others tell you how to grieve or that you should "be over it" by a specific time. Baby loss is something a parent never "gets over"
  • Don't let anyone rush you with your grief. Grief is a very unique experience and there is no time limit
  • All you can do is deal with each day as it comes, and each emotion as it arises
  • Don't put pressure on yourself - you are allowed to hurt and cry as much as you want to

 

Next

Tell us about yourself

I'm a mother who has experienced loss of a baby - 68.8%
I'm a father who has experienced loss of a baby - 6.3%
I'm a family member of the parent - 12.5%
I'm a friend of the parent - 12.5%

Total votes: 32