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  • Writer's pictureInterval Health

How to Deal with Grief After Infant Loss




Everyone experiences grief at some point in life. It’s never easy, but we expect to eventually lose those who are older than us, like parents and grandparents.


What no one can ever prepare you for, though, is losing a child — especially an infant. Unfortunately, miscarriages and stillbirths are more common than most people realize, with tens of thousands occurring each year.


Whether you never got to look into your little one’s eyes or you were only able to hold them for a few precious moments, that kind of loss can feel completely overwhelming.


But there is hope for a future of peace if you give yourself the grace and patience to grieve after losing a little one.

Take Care of Yourself

As simple as this might sound, self-care is rarely a priority after losing an infant. Your thoughts are likely going to be consumed with overwhelming sadness and a sense of hopelessness.


But self-care is incredibly important, especially when you’re grieving. That doesn’t mean you need to do anything elaborate or extreme. Things like getting enough sleep, maintaining a healthy diet, and getting some physical activity can make a difference.


Self-care also includes staying away from coping methods that could end up harming your physical and mental health, like alcohol or other drugs. They might numb the pain for a while, but they will likely lead to a variety of serious issues.

Tell Family and Friends What You Need

No one knows exactly what you’re feeling. But those closest to you are grieving, too. Your parents, aunts and uncles, and even close friends are also experiencing a loss. They’ll be working through their own grief while wanting to support you.


So, tell them exactly what you need. Maybe you don’t want visitors for a while, but their connection is very important to you. You can also decide whether or not you want to talk about your baby. Some people are more comfortable with it than others, but that’s something that needs to be on your timeline, not anyone else’s.

Lean Into Support

While you might not be up for daily visitors, don’t push your loved ones away completely. It’s important to lean on your support system while you’re grieving. While you might be tempted to be alone, that can allow your negative thoughts to take over, contributing to lasting feelings of anxiety and depression.


If you’re married or have a partner, let them be your first source of comfort. They might be going through different emotions, but you’re both grieving, and you can lean on each other for support.


Then, lean into your friends and family. Even if you don’t want them to “do” anything and you know there aren’t any perfect words, being around people who love you can make a difference in how you feel.

Get Professional Help

Sometimes, despite the support from family and friends, you might find yourself unable to move forward through the grieving process. That’s understandable, and there’s no ideal timeline you should be following.


But, if you’re having a hard time even taking that first step forward, don’t feel like you have to do it alone. Consider reaching out to a mental health professional for help. A therapist can help you dig into the root of your grief, as uncomfortable as that might be. It’s the first step toward true healing.


A therapist can also work with you through the stages of grief, ensuring you continue to move forward at your own pace.


No one should have to go through the grief of infant loss alone. If you’re struggling and not sure where to turn, feel free to contact me to set up an appointment and start your healing journey.



 

Jennifer Perera is a mom of two boys, a spouse and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She is also Certified as a Perinatal Mental Health Professional by Postpartum Support International. She has a private practice in Springfield, New Jersey and also sees clients throughout New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Florida, and Illinois via telehealth. Her passion is helping new moms and dads find their joy again in parenthood through individual and couples counseling. She also runs workshops for new parents, teaching them techniques and strategies to help them have a stronger relationship - built to thrive during the parenthood years. Jennifer specializes in working with parents during the prenatal and postpartum periods and those coping with grief or loss issues surrounding pregnancy.

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