How do I cope with these emotions?
Grieving is a process that takes time. These are some suggestions of things you can do, but it’s important to let yourself grieve in your own way. Try to take it easy on yourself, and deal with each moment and each day as it comes.
Take care of your physical health
Grief can affect your appetite, but it’s important to try at eat well and stay hydrated. Try to avoid using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relieve extreme stress. These can all have a negative effect on your mental health.
A bereavement like this can make you feel exhausted, but grief can make it difficult to sleep. NHS has information about things you can do to try and stay well and get a better night’s sleep.
Try to stay active and get some gentle exercise. Going outside can be hard. Some parents tell us that the world suddenly feels too loud and too bright when you’re grieving. However, many say that getting outdoors in the fresh air and stretching their legs – even just for 5 or 10 minutes – made a difference.
Grief can sometimes cause physical symptoms such as:
- nightmares or disturbed dreams
- heart palpitations (when it feels like your heart is racing)
- being hypersensitive to noise.
Grief can make us pace around, forgetful, unable to concentrate, and lose our confidence. All of these are normal. Because of these difficult feelings and symptoms, you will need to look after yourself more than you would normally.
If you’re worried about any physical symptoms of grief, speak to your GP and see if they can help.
Find ways for you and your partner to support each other
The overwhelming grief after the death of a baby can put even the strongest relationships under pressure. We all grieve differently, and this can be difficult for couples when their baby dies. The more you and your partner talk to each other, the more it can help you both.
Read more about supporting each other after the loss of your baby.
Express how you feel
It may be difficult to cope with the outside world and other people for a while. That is ok. There are still ways to try and process your thoughts. Some people find keeping a diary helpful as a way of expressing how they feel and taking time for themselves. Others draw, paint or blog.
Talk to people with similar experiences
Sometimes it can help to talk to people who have been through the same thing. Tommy's runs a private Facebook support group for anyone who has experienced baby loss.
Ask for support from family and friends
Having family and friends rally round you might be exactly what you need. Other parents find it exhausting and just want to be alone. Be honest with the people around you about what you need (or don’t need) from them.
Do not feel under pressure to have visitors, unless you want company.
You don’t have to talk to people about how you feel. Perhaps they can help by doing practical things, such as:
- making meals
- getting back to people who have sent cards or flowers
- food shopping
- watering the garden/mowing the grass
- taking care of other children you might have.
However, you might want to keep busy with the above. There’s no right or wrong approach.
Share this page with family and friends on how they can give support.
Ask for professional help
You or your partner may need specialist support. Depending on your symptoms, this may include counselling or medication, such as anti-depressants.
Some people have feelings of depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder after a baby dies.
It can be hard to know when to ask for help. Speak to your GP about how you feel. They will help you find they right support.
You can also talk to a Tommy’s midwife for free. You can call us from 9am–5pm, Monday to Friday on 0800 0147 800 or you can email at [email protected].
If you feel like you want to harm yourself or feel like you want to die, it’s important to tell someone. This could be a family member, a friend, your GP or your midwife. Help is available now if you need it. You can call the Samaritans at any time of day or night on 116 123.
Referring yourself for counselling
If you need more support and live in England, you can get free psychological therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) on the NHS. You can refer yourself directly to a psychological therapies service without a referral from a GP.
Cruse Bereavement Care also have a local bereavement services directory, with some regions providing grief counselling.
More support and information
- Child Bereavement UK provides specialised support, information and training for everyone affected when a baby or child dies, or when a child is bereaved. It also runs an online forum for bereaved parents.
- The Compassionate Friends is run by and for all bereaved parents.
- Cruse Bereavement Care provides support, information, advice, education and training to help anyone who's been bereaved to understand their grief and cope with their loss.
- The Lullaby Trust provides specialist support for anyone after the sudden death of an infant.
- Petals provides specialist counselling after baby loss.
- Sands is run by and for parents whose baby has died, either at birth or shortly afterwards.
- Winston’s Wish supports children and families after a parent, brother or sister has died.