End-of-life care (5)
- Terminal illness: Supporting a terminally ill loved one
- End of life: Caring for a dying loved one
- Hospice care: Comforting the terminally ill
- see all in End-of-life care
- Grief: Coping with reminders after a loss
- Suicide grief: Healing after a loved one's suicide
- Infant death: Grief and the path to remembrance
- see all in Grief
Infant death: Grief and the path to remembrance
When my baby died, so did my plans for the future. How can I go on?
You might find it difficult to invest renewed hope and excitement in any part of your life after your baby's death — but learning to continue living is part of the grieving process. For help making the adjustment, seek support from other parents who've been able to find solace in living. When you're ready, participating in family activities and special occasions can remind you that you're loved and supported.
My partner and I don't seem to be grieving in the same way. How can we find strength in each other?
Grieving can take a heavy toll on marriages and other intimate relationships. Accepting your partner's response to grief can be one of the most challenging aspects of grieving as a couple. It can be tough to accept your partner's coping mechanisms if they don't fit your concept of grieving.
For example, perhaps you feel closer to your baby by talking about him or her every day — but your partner copes by looking toward the future. If you don't recognize these differences, you might wonder whether your partner supports you or even cares about your baby's death. Still, the differences don't need to pull you apart. To strengthen your relationship, work toward compromises.
You might agree to limited discussion times, encouraging the more talkative partner to supplement the need for conversation with understanding friends or support groups. To respect the other partner's need to look ahead, schedule a social event once a week during which you agree to focus on the pleasurable aspects of your life together.
How does the grief of infant death ever reach resolution?
As time goes on, your grief will begin to fade. Eventually you'll find it easier to engage in other aspects of life. The first anniversary of your baby's death and other poignant reminders will be difficult, but they'll get easier with time.
If you feel stuck in your grief — especially if you're isolating yourself or having trouble handling your usual daily activities — seek the help of a support group, grief counselor or other mental health provider.
Sadness surrounding your baby's death might be permanent. With time, however, your heart-wrenching grief is likely to move toward a new normal of loving remembrance.Previous page
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- Armentrout D. Living with grief following removal of infant life support: Parents' perspectives. Critical Care Nursing Clinics of North America. 2009;21:253.
- Limbo R, et al. The tie that binds: Relationships in perinatal bereavement. The American Journal of Maternal Child Nursing. 2010;35:316.
- Schott J, et al. After a late miscarriage, stillbirth or neonatal death. Journal of Family Health Care. 2010;20:116.
- Lang A, et al. Perinatal loss and parental grief: The challenge of ambiguity and disenfranchised grief. Omega. 2011;63:183.