If you have suffered a stillbirth, you already know that coping is easier said than done. You may be facing feelings of self-blame (even though the loss was likely not your fault) or struggling to understand what happened. For moms, you might be struggling with issues like breast engorgement and postpartum depression on top of your normal grieving.
The most important thing you need to know is that it’s OK to grieve. Many parents feel a deep bond with their babies long before birth, and to have that bond suddenly broken through stillbirth is understandably traumatic. You do not have to justify your grief; well-meaning but ignorant friends and relatives may pepper you with comments like “You’re young; you’ll have another,” or “It just wasn’t meant to be.” It is OK to grieve.
In dealing with your grief, try to be sensitive of your spouse. For moms, understand that your partner is grieving also, even if he doesn’t express his feelings the same way. He may be trying to put on a strong front to support you. For dads, try to be patient with your partner and have a ready shoulder and listening ear. Talking about the loss may be therapeutic for her. Try to be on the lookout for signs of postpartum depression in your partner and suggest she see a doctor or talk to a counselor if you are concerned.
Everyone copes differently with stillbirth, but many women find that tactics such as keeping a journal or attending support groups can be therapeutic in coping with pregnancy loss.
Stay in touch with your doctor about when you can try for a new pregnancy. Your doctor will probably want to monitor your next pregnancy more closely in order to catch any early warning signs that could indicate increased risk of stillbirth.
American Pregnancy Association, “Stillbirth: Trying to understand.” Apr 2006. Accessed 14 Nov 2007.