Support for partners
The advice on this page is written for all parents, but it is important to remember that partners can often be forgotten after a baby dies. Most of the time, everyone is busy trying to take care of the mother and it’s easy to overlook their partner.
Read more about supporting each other after the loss of your baby.
Support from family and friends
Having family and friends rally round you might be exactly what you need, whereas others can find it exhausting and just want to be alone. Be honest with them about what you need (or don’t need) from them.
Do not feel under pressure to have visitors unless they will be a source of comfort. If you have a trusted friend or family member, ask them to manage your visitors for you.
Deal with each moment and each day at a time and do what feels right for you. This is a time to look after yourself and your partner, not the outside world.
Doing practical things can be a big help, especially in the early days. A select few trusted few people could help with:
- making meals
- getting back to people who have sent cards or flowers
- food shopping
- watering the garden/mowing the grass
- taking care of any other children you might have.
However, you might find that you want to keep busy with the above. There’s no right or wrong approach.
There is a page here that you could share with family and friends on how they can give support.
Sharing your feelings
Often, expressing your feelings instead of keeping them internal,can help. There are lots of ways to express yourself:
- writing - for yourself through a diary, sharing with others through a blog or on social media
- talking about it to your partner, friend or family member
- talking about it to your doctor
- being part of a forum of other people who have gone through the same experience (Tommy's hosts a closed and safe Facebook forum for people who have been through baby loss)
- sharing your story - we host a space where parents can share stories of loss, it can be done anonymously or not.
You might find it helpful to talk to other parents who have lost a baby for reassurance that what you’re feeling is normal, and help you to feel less alone.
If your instinct is to talk, you may find yourself sharing your story over and over. This is OK. Every time you say your baby’s name or share their story, it will help you come to terms with what has happened.
This isn’t for everyone. Some parents find it hard to describe how they’re feeling or talk about their baby. In this case, try writing down what happened and fill in a diary of how you feel each day. You can keep this private or share it with your partner or anyone else who you want to understand what you’re going through.
Seeking professional help
There is all sorts of support available but it will depend on where you live. It might take a little while to find what works for you.
A bereavement support officer or bereavement midwife may be able to help you with paperwork and funeral planning.
You might also be able to access bereavement counselling through your GP.
Grief or postnatal depression
Some mums suffer with postnatal depression (PND) after their baby dies. You might also show signs of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after everything you’ve been through. If you're worried that what you’re feeling is more than grief, talk to your GP.
Many PND symptoms are like the symptoms of grief, so can be hard to tell them apart. If you have had a previous mental health issue though you are more likely to suffer from PND, so you and someone who knows you well should be looking out for:
- a persistent feeling of sadness and low mood
- loss of interest in life, no longer enjoying things that used to give pleasure
- lack of energy and feeling tired all the time.
- trouble sleeping during the night and then being exhausted during the day
- difficulty concentrating and decision-making
- low self-confidence
- no appetite or an increase in appetite (‘comfort eating’)
- feeling very agitated or, alternatively, very apathetic (you can’t be bothered)
- feelings of guilt and self-blame
- thinking about suicide or self-harming.
If, after about 6 months, you are still finding every day life difficult, look for professional help. Start by talking to your GP.
Talk to someone
If you want someone to listen, call Tommy’s expert health professionals for free on 0800 0147 800, Monday to Friday 9am-5pm. The team have been training to offer bereavement care and will be happy to talk to you about your baby and how you’re feeling.
Join the Tommy’s support group on Facebook to speak to other parents who have lost a baby.
Saying Goodbye have a befriending service. You can also attend Saying Goodbye ceremonies across the country to remember your baby.
The Child Bereavement Trust has support groups, offers counselling and lots of online resources. They can help siblings through a bereavement.
Twins Trust is the Twins and Multiple Births Association for support with losing a multiple birth baby.