Coping with a stillbirth

Losing a baby affects people in different ways and there is no right or wrong way to feel.

“21 years on & sometimes it’s as painful as the day Ellie was stillborn. Took me a very long time to accept how much her death had affected me. I make no excuses as to how I’m feeling & if I feel like crying I do! We talk about her & have her picture on show.” Maxine Richardson 

 “Our son was born sleeping on 25th September 2007. At 35 and a half weeks. It is the most difficult and heart wrenching things any parent can go through and it’s still hard 7 years on…like others have said, those times when your asked how many children have you got are especially hard! I wish subjects like stillbirth and SIDS weren’t such a taboo…I would like to see more awareness raised about it.” Rebecca Rainbow

“I suffered and still suffer with post traumatic stress after my son was stillborn in august 2013 at 36 weeks. In the early days I particularly suffered with nightmares and flash backs that used to stop me sleeping and used to wake me from sleep. These were very frightening and used to scare me. I still suffer with these but through therapy I have learnt to view my flashbacks as being just memories of my son and although it was traumatic I have learnt to view it differently” Kerry King 

Experts generally accept that there are four stages of bereavement:

  • accepting that your loss is real
  • experiencing the pain of grief
  • adjusting to life without the person who has died
  • putting less emotional energy into grieving and putting it into something new (in other words, moving on)

You’ll probably go through all these stages, but you won’t necessarily move smoothly from one to the next. Your grief might feel chaotic and out of control, but these feelings will eventually become less intense. Give yourself time, as they will pass. You might feel:

  • shock and numbness (this is usually the first reaction to the death, and people often speak of being in a daze)
  • overwhelming sadness, with lots of crying tiredness or exhaustion
  • anger
  • guilt

“These feelings are all perfectly normal,” says Sarah. “The negative feelings don’t make you a bad person. Lots of people feel guilty about their anger, but it’s OK to be angry and to question why.”.

Coping with grief

Talking to others

Creating memories