I was wondering if there are any other mommies here that have lost a baby. My daughter was born still on June 1st and I am slowly getting back into my normal routine. I was just wondering if anyone else has gone through something similar and how they handled the situation. I have a son who is almost 18 months and I am trying to make his life seem like nothing happened but it is proving to be more difficult. Any suggestions?
Dear Bereaved Mom:
First, let me say how very, very sorry I am for the death of your child. Losing a child is the most difficult death to grieve. Period. The expectation of a baby’s arrival brings such joy – and then to have your beloved baby die is heart-wrenching. That you daughter was stillborn you probably have many questions, and even less answers. I bet the number one word you utter is, “Why?” Remember, your hormones may still be fluctuating which certainly contributes to the emotional roller coaster ride your probably on. Here are some ideas:
1) Get grief support. You and your partner have many options. Several are: M.E.N.D. for Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death, Compassionate Friends for bereaved parents, and IRIS. I don’t know what area in which you live, so you will have to Google the above to see what your city offers. The hospital and churches are also a good resource for grief support. Try several, don’t quit!
2) Indulge in tears and your grief. Maybe when your toddler takes a nap, you can journal or look over sympathy notes, or make a collage, or talk to a supportive friend.
3) Allow yourself allotted time to grieve and process, then put your grief away for a little bit. A grief box is perfectly suited for this – select something pretty to place your thoughts, notes, etc. You can get it out when you need to grieve, then you can put it away.
4) Don’t expect your partner to lift and support you – they have their own work to do.
5) When/if your 18 month old sees you cry just say something like: “Mommy is sad because your sister died. I really miss her… but I have you and that makes mommy so happy.” Some therapist’s may disagree with my verbiage, because I use the word “die” – and while an 18 month old does not have the cognitive capacity to fully comprehend, I don’t think it’s wise to use words like “lost” that may add to the confusion.
6) Generally speaking, it takes about 24 months to emotionally stabilize. Be gentle with yourself, make time for self-care – whatever that looks like to you. Go to the gym, spa, walk, whatever feels healing. Hire a sitter or swap child care with other moms at least 2x/week.
7) You must walk through your grief to get through your grief. There are no shortcuts. You cannot outrun, “keep busy”, or numb yourself through drugs or alcohol. Why? Because grief ALWAYS comes out. Let it out now vs. later. Now is the appropriate time to do your work.
Thanks for sharing. Good Luck!