"Those first moments...
Those "first moments" protect us and are normal. These moments are usually a mixture of intense reality and denial. Part of our soul hears what is real, the other part must deny it all.
Alicia, from Canada writes, "...I really couldn't let myself believe that there was something really wrong. But I was so, so scared. I went to the nursery, sat in the rocking chair and cried and cried. I'd never felt more empty and alone."
Kim, from Georgia writes, "...they immediately did an ultrasound and found no heartbeat. We were completely in shock. How could this have happened? I was only three weeks away from having him. This couldn't be real."
The denial is our protection from our nightmare..
..to help us "get through" what we must during the next minutes and hours as we move through the experience of losing our baby. Many remember this time as if they were in a bad dream.
Grief starts from the very first and we are confused
For most of us, Alicia's next thoughts paralell our thoughts as we try to "make sense of what is happening..."
"he performed an ultrasound. I'll never forget his words, "I hate to meet people with bad news, but I'm afraid I have bad news." My world fell apart. I wanted to get out of there. I actually thought that if I could just go home, then none of this would be true."
SA's Grief Menu...click on hearts
I remember thinking, "Put me to sleep and wake me up after you've done whatever you need to do." But, what happens IS our new reality, and what we will have to remember later.
That is why options during this time are important - if we have the opportunity to make them. Though numb, parents can be offered some alternatives that can greatly influence how we remember this tragedy.
If you are not sure if you should acknowledge your baby and your pain,
or the actual loss has already happened and little choice was given, know that choices you make today are yours and can help soften what is happening (or did happen) to you. Grief begins at the beginning...healing begins when we give ourselves "permission to grieve" and choose options.
Kathy of Georgia writes: "...I came to realize that I really never grieved for Scott, 27 years ago it was not 'THE THING TO DO.' We were told to go on with out lives and forget. We didn't have the chance to do the things that parents are allowed to do today..."
Kathy's letter encourages the newly bereaved parent to "take time to grieve," even when society seems to want the parent to move on down the path.
As we continue, it helps to know that, though our experience as it is happening is unique to us, others have walked a similar path and survived. There is no "right or wrong" way to travel this path.
Decisions are made at each turn and many can be altered at a later time.
Know that, while some decisions can't be changed or altered, others are open for change at any time during our walk. We can later choose to name a baby, plan a memorial service, write our story, etc. What seemed "right" yesterday, may not feel "right" today, and that is normal. It's never to late, Kathy can grieve and heal today.
"How quickly life is changed...How suddenly dreams can shatter..."
A pregnancy or newborn loss is tragic because pregnancy, birth and death should not happen at the same time.
No one expects this line of events, no one plans for this occurence. (Unless, perhaps, it has happened once before.)
The hopes and dreams of our future are dashed.
We want to "change" the events around so that they never occurred. We can't change things to work the way we want (as we so often can do in life) therefore, we have to reroute our steps...change happens, but not in the way we had hoped for.
Father may feel overwhelmed by conflicting feelings of grief over the loss of the baby and a need to protect the mother from more emotional pain.
These feelings are normal and may last for up to a year...or more.
Fathers grieve "differently" than mothers. This is normal. Trying to make each other grieve the same is not wise. Learning about the differences is a positive coping method and one that can save a marriage.
Fathers often express feelings of pain and sadness as friends and co-workers discuss their new babies.
Father's Grief Menu
Often they do not understand your need to recognize this child. Hopefully, you may open a window for them in the understanding of this kind of loss.
"Be Truthful in Grief" brochure (How friends and family can aid the grieving parent, and still take care of themselves.) These can be ordered for your group.Email Lynne
No manner how far along you were or the age of your baby when s/he died, honoring your baby's presence with a funeral, memorial or "remembering" service can be very healing.
Often, the mother has a greater need, than the father, for recognizing her child in a more open matter. She may wish or need to have the time to plan exactly what she wants to do in memory of her child after she has had some time to heal. Mothers have shared, "It is the one thing I can do for my baby that will have a lasting place in my heart."
A service can happen right away or years later. It depends on what you are comfortable with. Often, mom, due to post partum healing, needs to wait for a period of time. This can be a time frame of several weeks to several months. Some parents realize years after a loss, that they need to find closure and peace by remembering their baby with a service. This is fine as well.
If the baby was cremated, the ashes can be kept in a pretty box or urn that mom or dad made or bought. Some take the ashes and scatter them at a meaningful place later along their journey. Some keep the ashes and plan to have them placed with them when they die many years later. Again, this is a very personal choice.
Many hospitals now have a special place at a local cemetery where they place the ashes of babies from their hospital. They do not always share this important information with the parents. So, please ask your hospital if they have such a location. By asking, the caregivers will realize that this is an important part of your grief and healing process. If they don't have such a place, they may decide to at a later time.
SA's Funerals, Memorial Service, Remembering Menu-click on hearts
SHARE Atlanta believes that every person should be allowed to grieve and experience their loss as they wish.
Since most of us don't usually consider pregnancy or newborn loss, we must learn about our options as we are experiencing the intense pain.
We do this fully realizing that while each parent's loss is unique, there are some universal feelings and reactions that many will move through, and some possible choices that may facilitate the grieving process. SHARE Atlanta wants to provide support so that no parent must move through this experience all alone. Marcia McGinnis
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