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10 Ways To Survive A Still Birth + 5 Support Groups For Parents

Pregnancy, a period where women transform into glowing mothers, by creating a new life. Pregnancy allows mothers to feel their babies kick, hiccup and turn over. With a sip of sugary juices, a mother-to-be will quickly notice how her baby reacts to a sugar rush. Every month, women excitedly book appointments with their OB/GYN to see how their baby is growing. Who can forget the eager feelings of planning a nursery?  Parents, especially mothers, will spend months planning, picking paint swatches and themes, decorating the room that their child will spend years living in, if not the rest of his life. It is one of the greatest moments of pregnancy.

For most women, pregnancy is a glorious time. However, for others, it is not as precious as they were expecting it to be. There are mothers who will go their whole term, being able to experience all the wonderful joys of being pregnant, only to deliver a baby that was unable survive outside their wombs. This unfortunate ending is called a stillbirth. A stillbirth is when a baby, who is 28 weeks along and will sadly perish. There are many different reasons and explanations as to why this can happen. Most of these reasonings are simply medical complications that the baby, or the mother, may develop such as, medical complications can range from preeclampsia to an abruption in the afterbirth.

Throughout this horrible tragedy, women need to make sure of one thing: you are not alone. There are all kinds of different support groups, and ways of coping, that are in place to help you, and other women like you, grieve. Don't be afraid to reach out them or find local grieving classes. Talking to others about the situation at hand can help you heal, and help you find ways of not being afraid to try again when the time is right.

15 Don’t Be Afraid To Talk To Your Loved Ones

The loss of a child is the worst scenario for parents and their families. Although, this impacts a mother deeper, as they are the ones who are connected by womb. Women carry their babies for months and feel them grow inside, only to feel the loneliness of an empty womb. It's understandable that women suffer harder and longer.

After the loss, avoiding human contact may feel like the best option for her. Just the thought of seeing another baby or child, or even talking about what happened, can feel like the event is happening all over again.

Grieving mothers need to feel supported and heard. While locking herself away, in a dark room with heavy blankets, may seem like it's the only way to cope, bottling up those feelings is the worst thing she can do. Although it might feel like the hardest thing to do, women should reach out to their husbands, or partners, and let out everything they are feeling. Chances are, the fathers will understand what a grieving mother is going through, since they, too, are grieving and may not know where to turn.

14 Seek Out Help If Needed

There are some people in this world that refuse to go to a therapist. They may feel as though telling someone about how they are feeling on current or past, events won't help them feel better. It could also be that they don't feel comfortable telling a complete stranger personal information, and specific details of what happened.

However, there are also patients who think therapy is the greatest thing in the world. It is crucial for grieving parents to find the right therapist that can help them overcome their grief and give them a better mental health after such a horrible situation. After the loss of a baby, this could be the best option to take, even if the parents don't believe in therapy. We encourage those parents to try one session with a trusted therapist.

Losing a baby can have a major impact on the parents' mental health. They may find themselves falling into a deep depression or develop extreme anxiety. If one, or both, parents begin to have suicidal thoughts, or feelings that they can no longer function, it is extremely important to seek help. Don't be afraid to speak up and ask for help.

No one will judge you for asking for help. It does not make you weak. Having someone to talk to can, actually, help you work through this and get you back on track with your life.

13 For Help: M.E.N.D

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M.E.N.D means Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death. They are a Christian non-profit organization that helps families who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth or early infant death. They have newsletters they release every other month, have many support groups throughout the nation that women can go to. Best of all, they even hold commemorative ceremonies. It is a good place for families who have suffered a loss to share their story, learn to live life after the loss and how to move on. They will also teach parents how to connect with others who have lost someone special to them. There are different sections on their website that parents can explore.

12 Give Your Child A Name

One of the best ways parents can heal is to give their baby a name. There are parents who find this process extremely difficult and choose not to do it, but we have found they come to regret this later on.

Finding the right name for an angel baby comes down to what the parents feel is best. They may go with religious names such as Grace, Faith, Gabriel or Raphael. However, many parents normally have a name picked out by the time they are this far along. Some parents may have already started calling their unborn baby by their specified name, or even by their given nickname. This is the best way for parents, and the families affected by this tragedy, to remember the baby, even if she never experienced life outside the womb.

11 Give The Baby A Hug That Will Last Forever

When a stillbirth occurs, doctors will encourage the parents to hold their angel baby. It may feel unrealistic to accept this offer, having just found out there was no longer a heartbeat for their most precious gift of all. Parents may fall apart after hearing this request from doctors. They may not want to meet their baby or see him in that condition. However, there are parents who find this to be the most therapeutic healing process out there.

The time comes when it's time for the parents to meet their forever sleeping baby. Parents will stretch out their arms and cradle this child, bundled in blankets that were newly washed, ready for the big delivery. Now is the time to hold him or her, memorize every feature they have. This baby might not have been able to live outside of the womb, but she will live in her parents' memory for the rest of their lives. Some family or visitors may enter the room, at the parents' request. The hospital staff will quietly leave the room, dim the lights, and let the parents hold their child until they are ready to say their goodbyes.

In my personal experience, having survived the passing of my daughter at 38 weeks, I did not want to meet my daughter at first. Once I gave birth to her, I changed my mind. I wanted to know what she looked like, what she smelled like, and how much hair she had. I wanted to feel her against my chest, in hopes my heartbeat would revive her heartbeat. My husband and I held her for 8 hours, our families came in to give her sweet kisses and say their goodbyes. Some visitors from our local church came in and sang to her, rocking her and walking around saying prayers. We even had a deacon come in for her last rights. Then, when we were ready, we wrapped her up and we said our goodbyes. We put her in the bassinet and the nurses wheeled her out of the room. It was the most powerful moment of my life.

10 For Help: The Haven Network

The Haven Network, which is located in Rockford Illinois, is an independent Christian ministry that was founded in 2004. They offer support and different programs for families who have suffered through the death of a baby. Their services come at no cost and their only goal is to help those families that have lost a child due to miscarriage, stillbirth, ectopic pregnancy, SIDS, early infant death. In addition, they offer support for families who are facing a terminal diagnosis of their pre-born or newborn baby. Some of the services the organization offers are immediate in-hospital care, which includes baby care, memory box making, and even professional photography if the parents choose to have pictures of their baby. They don't only offer short-term care, they also have long-term support if it is needed. This includes well-checks, in person and online support groups and individual or family grief counseling.

9 Avoid Social Media

Social media sites will probably the worst things to visit, after the loss of a child. There will be images of mom's pregnancy on her personal page, on the father's page, and their families' page. There will followers and friends asking if the mother gave birth, how she's recovering and asking for pictures of the baby. When the news finally circulates that the baby was unable to survive outside the womb, there will be comments that will upset the parents. These comments will range from, "better luck next time," to, "you can always try again," and of course, the infamous, "what happened?"

The best option, until a mother or father feels as though they have grieved, is to avoid social media altogether. Seeing pictures of other people's babies, pregnancy announcements, videos of babies doing adorable things can be extremely difficult and can be harmful if they are not ready.

It is best to allow some time to heal first and make sure the decision to get back on the internet is your own and no one else's.

8 Ask Your Doctor For Help

There are many scenarios that a grieving family will run into, after the loss of their child. Depression, anxiety, loss of appetite and insomnia may settle in. There are parents that may be able to heal more quickly than others, but some might become lost and unable to function in their daily lives. If any of these events happen, parents should not be afraid to seek help from their doctors, especially if the thought of self-harm, or harm to others, occurs.

A family's GP, or a woman's OB/GYN, can discuss the best medicine for them to help them through these feelings. Every doctor will also refer their grieving patients to a therapist, so they can work out their feelings. Prescribed treatments and talking to someone can help ease the pain. However, it's important to remember that it is not a cure.

Parents will want to remember their child. The feeling of loneliness parents have, and the love that remains after the baby is gone will never go away. A doctor will help treat those feelings and help get parents through the darkest times of their lives. However, the loss of a child will stay with them forever. The loss of a child will stay with you forever. A doctor will be there to help parents get through it, so they can function and live their best lives.

7 For Help: A.P.A

A.P.A, or the American Pregnancy Association, is a non-profit organization that is based in Texas with the sole belief that "Research is the foundation to significant discoveries." Their goal is to promote pregnancy awareness and healthy reproduction by offering many different services, such as educational support, advocacy, and community awareness.

They utilize many different methods to help others such as toll-free help lines, online support and making sure there are many different educational materials available to anyone who needs them. Their website offers a lot of different information about getting pregnant, adoption, and the loss of a child from many different reasons. They explain reasons why this can happen, what to do next and even some info on how to grieve, heal and move on.

6 Find A Creative Outlet

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For some parents, finding a creative outlet can be a big stress reliever. If mom or dad are creative people, then this will be a great outlet to help keep their minds busy and help them move forward. For example, some things that parents will find themselves doing are things such as painting, writing, scrapbooking, and even, knitting.

There are organizations at the local hospital, where volunteers will knit blankets and hats for other stillborn babies or, even, preemies. Helping other babies may give a sense of fulfillment for grieving parents. There are some babies, in the hospital, who were born too early and, due to their size, normal preemie or newborn sized baby clothes will not fit them. Hats are especially important for the NICU department, as preemies must keep their heads warm at all times. It also helps the preemies recover faster. But, in regard to stillborns, it may mean the entire world for their parents, knowing that someone took the time to think of their child. It's also helpful to know that their sleeping angel will be warm and loved, even if the baby won't feel it.

5 Don’t Be Afraid To Say No

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There will be parents who never have to go through this trauma, and because of this, they will have no idea how a grieving parent feels, or how they are managing to survive. Their idea of helping will be to get a grieving parent to leave the house for special events, some shopping or to go to a restaurant. Don't be afraid to tell these caring, but unhelpful, individuals no in these situations.

Weddings, baby showers, cookouts, none of these are as important at a time like this. These parents will need time to heal, psychologically, physically, and most importantly, emotionally. However, the invitees may not understand the constant "no" parents may offer and become frustrated. This is what we have to say about this situation: TOO BAD. Let them get frustrated. They will get over it.

4 For Help: Journey Of Hearts

Journey of Hearts is a wonderful website to look at if you are experiencing a loss of a child. They use their website as a virtual shoulder to cry on and are available 24/7 to people who need support. Their website offers a variety of different grief aides that can help you in your time of need. Some things they help you with are if you are in need of medical help or are in need of therapy. However, they also offer services that will help you directly into the proper support group that tends to your passion. If you love poetry and you feel poetry is a great way to help you heal, they will find you a support group that tends to poetry. They also offer many techniques for coping with loss, resources and even links to other websites that can be of help to you in this tragedy.

3 Prepare Yourself To Hear Unwanted Comments

One thing grieving parents need to prepare themselves for are people's ridiculous comments or even suggestions. Though these comments will frustrate a parent going through a loss, it's important to remember that their friends don't understand the impact the loss has had on the parents. In addition, they may not know what to say, and their attempt at a helpful and thoughtful comment may come off as nasty or rude. And, because of this, they can say things that will set a parent off.

Parents must remember that their friends, and families, have good intentions and are trying to help, but it may not be coming out the right way. Then, there are the people who will ask things like, "well what did you do wrong?" If they ask this question, chances are, they will never understand what the parents are going through. The best thing to do is to avoid these types of people until each parent feels comfortable that they are ready.

Grieving parents, we're talking to you: take time for yourself to heal as individuals, and as a couple.

2 It Takes A Long Time To Heal

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The lost of a child is a tragedy regardless how it happened, why it happened or to whom it happened to. No one should have to bury their child, especially one that didn't even have a chance to live outside the womb. It is heartbreaking and extremely devastating. Some parents may take months to heal, while others may take years, and there are those that might go the rest of their lives with the pain of losing their child. Above all, there are parents that will want to try again right away, they may wait a few months or years, and there are those that may not want to try for another baby again. Whatever the case is, take the time that you need and give yourself time to heal.

It's important to remember that work will wait. If the time comes when you're scheduled to return to work but you do not feel ready to go back since you can't even pass the nursery without breaking down, a doctor may give you extended time off. If you need help, or your partner needs help, reach out and don't feel embarrassed or ashamed. Don't let anyone rush you and don't push yourself into trying again until you are ready.

1 For Help: Heavenly Angels

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One of the ways that were mentioned, to survive a stillbirth, was to find a new creative outlook. If you are skilled in knitting or sewing, you could make clothes or hats for the premature babies in the hospital. If you're crafty in decorating boxes, you could make memorial boxes for those who have also lost a child.

Heavenly Angels was founded back in April 2003, by Brian and Mary Glynn, after the loss of their child and the premature births of their sons. They wanted to create something that could help other grieving couples. They offer support for those who are need but also use this organization to help in other ways. They make knitted hats, preemie clothes, memorial boxes, comfort bags for children of trauma, and even special outfits for the babies who will be buried. If you are looking for a positive creative outlook, then this organization is a good one to reach out to and help.

References: www.heavenlyangelsinneed.com, www.mend.org, www.journeyofhearts.org, www.americanpregnancy.org, www.thehavennetwork.org, www.losinglucyandfindinghope.com 

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