Reviewed April 2014, next review April 2017
When a baby dies
At Tommy’s we know that the loss of a baby at any time is one of the most devastating experiences that any person can go through.
Everybody reacts and grieves in different ways. You may be searching for answers to help you understand why this has happened or want to know more about what is being done to stop this from happening in the future. Equally you may want help coming to terms with your loss or to create a page in memory of your little one.
Whatever you are looking for, we hope that these pages will help you, even if it’s only in a very small way. We want you to know that we care, are here for you and through our research we are trying to do something to stop what you have been through from happening again.
When a baby is lost, the families affected can be devastated and often have a desperate need to know why. This is precisely the reason Tommy’s was founded, to help answer this question through funding medical research into the causes, treatments and solutions for pregnancy problems.
Today we lead the way in maternal and fetal research in the UK and have made significant progress since we were founded in 1992. We focus our research on problems in pregnancy, such as miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth and pre-eclampsia, and have made huge steps in understanding how and why these heart-breaking complications occur.
Find out more about our research, and how we are working to minimise the risks for all pregnant women.
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Remembering my baby
There can be so little to remember a baby by and this can be one of the most difficult things for a parent to cope with. It may help you to do something positive in your baby's memory by setting up a Tommy’s In Memory tribute page.
Through these pages you are able to talk about your experience, allow people to write their messages and invite people to donate to your page. It may help you feel more positive knowing that the money given to Tommy’s through your page will fund further research to help prevent what you have experienced from happening again in the future.
Find out more about setting up an in memory tribute page and other ideas to help create memories
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Grieving for my baby
Grieving for your baby is a raw and natural process and you may find that it comes in different stages. In the early days, the grief that you feel may be completely overwhelming. You will have to cope with immense grief and a mixture of emotions, as well as the physical aspects of losing a baby. Mood swings and tears are completely normal as is the feeling of not knowing how to go on. Grief is a very personal emotion and it affects people in many different ways.
To find out more about how losing a baby can affect family members and suggestions for helping to cope, please click here
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Lisa's poem to her angel baby
Lisa Raveendran in her own words:
“My baby boy Leo Michael Raveendran was born sleeping at 25+1 weeks on 30 October 2012. I hope that Tommy's work into pre-eclampsia will impact on the future diagnosis and management of this cruel disease, especially of the early-onset form, and hence protect more mums and their unborn babies from further tragedy.”
Who can help me?
It is natural to feel overwhelmed and to have a sense of hopelessness after experiencing a bereavement. This can be part of the natural grieving process. Everyone handles the situations that arise from the loss of a baby differently, but no one can handle them alone. There are many organisations that are willing to help you in the way that you want to be helped. A lot of people choose not to seek help as they fear they are going to be told what to do and feel when the reality is completely different. It can take more than a few phone calls to get the help you want but please do seek help and do not go through this alone.
SANDS are an excellent organisation for referring you to the right person. You could also attend a Saying Goodbye Service. These services are commemorations for people who have suffered a loss at any stage of pregnancy, birth or in infancy. The services will provide a time and a place to acknowledge the loss and together enable mums, dads, their friends and family to collectively say goodbye to their babies. Look for a service taking place near you.
Tommy’s will always be here for you. Our information line is staffed by qualified midwives who specialise in bereavement counselling. We will always be here to listen and can provide you with factual advice. We can offer you real expertise in terms of why pregnancy problems happen through the research conducted at our 3 centres. We may also be able to help get you referred to one of our centres for treatment. We can also offer you an outlet for your grief and a new focus for your attention. Many of our supporters who have experienced the loss of a baby have said that if it wasn’t for the fundraising that they were doing for us, they don’t know how they would’ve got through the first few months. They really appreciated having something positive to channel their energies into.
Also, you could order one of our free publications, which include: When a baby dies (a booklet about stillbirth), Miscarriage, Toxoplasmosis and pregnancy, and Pre-eclampsia.
Talking can also help to take the isolation out of grief. You may find it helpful to speak to other parents who have been through a similar loss. This is something that we would recommend everyone considers. Many parents find it a very positive experience and often lifelong friendships are made. SANDS are an excellent organisation for giving you contact names.
Please visit our Useful Contacts page for more information about finding the right help for you.
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You are not alone
It’s a sad and shocking statistic but 1 in 4 families will lose a baby through miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth. So many of our supporters turn to us in their time of grief as they feel a need to channel their energies into something positive and do something to prevent this from happening in the future. This can take many forms. It may be through holding a fundraising activity, running a marathon or simply creating an in memory tribute page.
To read more about some of our supporters experiences please click here.
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Macdonald S, Magill-Cuerden J, Mayes’ midwifery, fourteenth edition, Edinburgh Balliere Tindall, 2012: 955
Royal College of Psychiatrists, Bereavement, London RCP, 2014. Also available at: http://www.rcpsych.ac.uk/expertadvice/problems/bereavement/bereavement.aspx (accessed 28 April 2014)
Office for National Statistics, Characteristics of Birth 1, England and Wales, London ONS, 2013
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