Coping with Stillbirth: Deal with the Pain of Losing an Unborn Baby

Losing an unborn baby through stillbirth can be devastating for parents waiting eagerly for their bundle of joy to arrive. Imagine painting the nursery and buying baby clothes one day, and coping with the grief of stillbirth the next. The pain can be heartbreaking, leaving you numb, lost, and overwhelmed. You are not alone because 1.9 million stillbirths despite the improvements in medical care. The number translates into 1 stillbirth every 16 seconds.

The stillbirth rate in the US is unacceptably high, at 4.7 per 1,000 births for white women and 10.3 per 1,000 births for black women as per 2022 data. Whether you lose your baby due to an avoidable mishap or an unavoidable medical complication, the agony is profound. It goes beyond the physical pain for the mother and becomes a traumatic emotional event for both parents.

While there is no right or wrong way to grieve, healthy coping mechanisms are essential to navigate through this unimaginable pain. In this article, we will share some strategies to cope with the loss of your unborn baby.

Acknowledge Your Grief

According to the World Health Organization, stigma, shame, and guilt are common among women losing their babies from stillbirths around the world. The worst part is that they are expected to stay silent about their grief. The probable reasons are the commonality of miscarriage and stillbirth and the perception that they are unavoidable.

Suppressing your grief is the worst way to deal with the loss of your unborn little one. Instead, allow yourself to feel the emotions and talk about the sadness, anger, guilt, and despair coming with the loss. Avoiding them will only prolong the grieving process. Seek support from your partner, family members, or friends who are willing to lend an ear. Consider seeing a therapist as they can help you acknowledge the feelings and overcome them effectively.

Prioritize Self-Care

Stillbirth is a medically traumatic and emotionally draining event. As a parent, you must invest in self-care after the initial medical aid to overcome the impact it has on your body and mind. Start with a nutritious diet and regular mealtimes. On some days, you may want to skip meals, but be sure to fuel your body on time.

Engage in mild physical activity according to your provider’s advice. Remember to get plenty of rest and sleep to help your body recuperate from the loss. Also, adopt an activity that brings you comfort and relaxation. Try meditation, yoga, walking, reading, or journaling to get your body and mind on the right track again.

Create Memories and Rituals

Research shows that creating memories of the stillborn baby can strengthen personification even when parents have a short time with their little one. For example, you can take photos, footprints, and handprints to preserve them for a lifetime. Consider honoring the baby’s existence through rituals and ceremonies like a formal funeral.

Engraving personalized information on headstones is a good way to remember the day when the baby was born. You can even plant a garden in remembrance of the little one and install a headstone as a memoir.

Legacy Headstones recommends adding unique messages on custom headstones and grave markers to create lifelong memories. This way, the baby who never smiled and played with you will be a part of your family forever. Moreover, it is a meaningful way to cope with the loss.

Live One Day at a Time

Statistics show that 60-70% of grieving mothers experience grief-related depression symptoms one year after stillbirth. Half of these mothers reported that the symptoms lasted for four years after the event. According to estimates, 4.2 million women worldwide live with depression secondary to stillbirth. While these numbers are disconcerting, they underscore the significance of living one day at a time.

Coping with the loss of a stillborn baby is a long journey requiring time and patience. Take each day as it comes with small steps forward instead of trying to push too hard. Normalize your routine at home, spend quality time with your kids (if you have them), plan outings, and focus on work. You will gradually feel the pain receding and happy memories of your little one becoming a part of your existence.

In conclusion, there is no timeline for recovering from grief after stillbirth. Some parents may carry the pain forever, while others overcome it in a few years. Either way, the memories of your unborn child stay for a lifetime. However, you can do your bit to ensure they do not haunt you but become a sweet remembrance of your little angel who lives in your heart.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *