Coping with Stillbirth

Because a stillbirth usually occurs in a seemingly normal pregnancy where the 20-week mark for a miscarriage has been surpassed, expectant parents are normally completely unprepared for the loss. People often assume that coping with stillbirth is more difficult than coping with a miscarriage because of the additional time that parents had to connect with the baby but it is impossible to rank these types of losses and adds no benefit if we try to compare between the two types of pregnancy losses. Both involve the loss of a precious child with understandable emotions worthy of our humanity as well as of our empathy.

Unique Challenges

There are unique challenges associated with Stillbirth

There are unique challenges that come with late-term pregnancy loss. Most hospitals and maternity care facilities have an established support system for parents-to-be in coping with stillbirth. These support systems can include specially trained registered nurses, psychologists, social workers and religious supporters, all of whom are qualified to provide assistance to the parents and their families during the acute phase of the loss.

Since there is usually the baby’s body, parents usually have the option to see and say goodbye to their child. You can request for private time where you can hug, kiss and do other loving activities with your baby, which can be the start of acceptance.

It is natural to undergo the grieving process in a stillbirth as with any other loss, and many experts believe it is necessary since suppression can do more harm than good. The unique challenges of coping with stillbirth can complicate the grieving process for many parents.

In most instances our circle of family and friends knew that we were pregnant. Their questions about what happened can refresh the painful memories of losing your child but it can also help in emotional healing.

Being able to see our baby can be healing for some and cause distress for others – there is no right or wrong and often this added pressure of knowing what to do can add to the pain for some.

Unique Memorials

One way of coping with the stillbirth is to honor the memory of your baby. There are many ways of doing so depending on your faith, preference and need with the following as the most common:

• Write your thoughts regarding your pregnancy, your baby and your experiences in journal or a blog
• Create a memorial garden in your backyard where a plaque, a bench or a statue symbolizes your baby. You can even plant a tree in his/her honor.
• Hold a memorial service to allow your family to say goodbye, too
• Make a memory box or commission for memory jewelry

Indeed, coping with stillbirth means processing your emotions while also honoring your baby’s life, no matter how short it may have been. You also have another resource – the book Beyond Pregnancy Loss – where you can process the emotions that seem to overwhelm you and the people around you after the loss of your baby.

Until next time


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