Infant Loss and Grief

The loss of a baby affects the entire family, and the grieving process may be different for each member. Your family may experience a range of emotions, including fear, sadness, anger and guilt.

Normal physical reactions to grief include:

  • Appetite loss
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Heart palpitations
  • Sleeplessness
  • Withdrawal from social activities

Mothers

Every mother grieves differently. You may wonder:

  • Are my feelings normal?
  • Do other women who have lost a baby feel this way?
  • Will I ever feel better?

It’s important to take time to heal physically and emotionally. Postpartum
depression is a real possibility. If you are concerned about your grief or the possibility of postpartum depression, seek help from a psychologist, nurse therapist, chaplain or social worker.

Fathers

The father may have a difficult time understanding the loss. He may experience intense emotions, including disbelief, anger, frustration, guilt, helplessness and fear. All of these feelings are normal. It’s important for him to mourn the baby’s death in his own way.

Other Children

The natural instinct is to protect your child from the reality of death. Yet, an honest approach may be best. It’s likely your child will sense something
has changed, even if you try to hide it. Younger children may be frightened or confused, but not know how to express their feelings. They may not say anything about the baby. It’s possible they will demand more attention, or
become more disobedient or disagreeable than usual.

Help your child adjust by:

  • Helping them understand the grieving process
  • Letting them know their feelings are normal
  • Keeping normal expectations for behavior in place
  • Observing any changes in behavior
  • Sticking to a normal routine
  • Talking with a child about their understanding of death

Grandparents

Regardless of your age, watching you experience the loss of a baby may be extremely difficult for your parents. It’s made even more difficult by the loss they feel for their grandbaby. It’s important they allow themselves to grieve.
It’s natural for grandparents to want to help as much as possible. Let them play a supportive role when it makes sense.

Help With Grief

  • Join a perinatal bereavement support group
  • Look at your baby’s keepsakes
  • Plan a funeral or memorial service
  • Read to gain insight
  • See a counselor
  • Seek support from your social or church community
  • Start making plans for another pregnancy, if that is your desire
  • Take part in events that honor babies who have died
  • Visit bereavement websites

Bereavement Services

  • Infant Loss and Grief