The death of a baby is a tragedy and one of the most traumatic things that can happen to any parent. It usually comes as a total shock. It is hard for the parents, the siblings, and the wider family and friends, both in the immediate aftermath and for many years to come.
Grief and loss
There are several widely recognised stages of grief and loss, including:
- Denial and isolation – particularly in the early days after your baby has died, including shock and numbness.
- Anger – as the shock starts to wear off, parents will often feel angry that their baby has died and angry with others (strangers, health professionals, partners, inanimate objects).
- Bargaining – the ‘if onlys’. If only we’d known that…. If only we’d done… If only…
- Depression – often accompanied by feelings of despair and deep sadness. Parents can be withdrawn and exhausted, realising that nothing can be done to change the situation.
- Acceptance – that the world is different, and moving into a new ‘normal’. Grief never ends, but the searing pain recedes and becomes more manageable. Slowly parents and families start to live again.
Presenting these stages in a list is misleading though. Although you’ll probably experience all of these feelings, it’s unlikely to be a smooth path from one to another – it’s more likely to be a rollercoaster that turns, over time, into more gently undulating hills.
For many, understanding the reason for a loved one’s death helps them begin to come to terms with their loss.
We are not bereavement specialists. We do have experience of understanding the impact a sudden loss of a baby from group B Strep infection can have. We will support you in any way we can, for as long as you need us.
Losing Archie is a pain I’ll always carry with me. Every time his twin sister Evalene reaches a new milestone – learning to walk, starting school – I’ll think Archie should be here beside her.
We will do everything we can to listen and understand and to answer any questions you may have.
Many bereaved parents find creating memories of their baby helpful – not only at the time but also in the years to come. Some parents find it helpful to have photos of their baby around their home. Others like to create a memory box, including photos, and also perhaps hand/footprints, a lock of hair, the baby’s hospital tag, a scan photo, baby clothes, or notes of your and others’ thoughts about the baby or the pregnancy. All this can help you and your family to remember your baby and, over time, help you come to terms with your loss.
Some parents find it helpful to fundraise for a cause, as a way of doing something positive and channelling their energy into helping others. This can help deal with a part of their grief, and it can be comforting to know that money raised in your baby’s memory will help others.
If you would like to fundraise in memory of a loved one, click here for more information.
Talking about your loss
Talking and sharing your feelings with others really can help. Some people find that relying on the support of family and friends is the best way for them, others find speaking with someone outside immediate family and friends is more helpful.
You might find it helpful to talk with another mum or dad, another family who have experienced something similar to you. It can help to know that you are not alone and they may understand in a way that others can’t. You may also want to ask practical questions of others who are or who have been in a comparable situation.
Group B Strep Support can put you in touch with other families happy to share their experiences with you. Please get in touch with us on 0330 120 0795 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to reach out to other families in this way.
Do consider bereavement counselling – it can be very helpful for mums, dads and siblings. Hospitals have specialist bereavement and information services that offer support, as well as information and the ability to refer to appropriate community support agencies. They will be able to help you with practical issues and the next steps. The midwife, health visitor and GP will also be able to help with support and signposting.
Please do ask for support if you need it.
Where can I go for support?
For organisations that can offer dedicated bereavement support for parents where a baby has died, click the link below:
Take a look at other organisations which can support you and your family. Here are links to other websites which we hope you may be useful. Counselling, advice & support:…
If you have any questions about Group B Strep, please call our helpline
0330 120 0796
Or email us at email@example.com