One of the most difficult and devastating experiences a parent will ever face is the death of their child. Each year there are individuals and couples who experience a miscarriage, still birth, or the death of an infant son or daughter. If this is you, we want you to know there is hope, and we are happy to help you and support you through the grief process. Here are some suggestions that may help you as you work through this challenging experience.

Know that grief is a process. There is no set timetable for your grief. Each of us must go on our own journey to work through our grief. Some days will be one step forward and two steps back but know that the pain will lessen over time.

People grieve differently. Many times one spouse grieves differently than their partner. It is essential to realize that each of us has our own way of individually grieving. Some people need to express their feelings about the loss, while other people tend to isolate more or spend more time focusing on work and other tasks. Each of you must communicate to the other what your needs are.

Consider doing something special in remembrance of your child. It can be very healing to do something in memory of your child. Some ideas are lighting a candle on special days, planting a bush or tree, or making a special photo album of pictures of your child.

Reach out to others for support. When you are having a difficult day, be proactive and reach out to a friend or family member. There are also books written on infant loss and support groups that can be helpful. People who have experienced a similar loss can better understand your feelings and can often give you useful suggestions of what helped them get through this difficult time.

Try to let go of unhelpful comments. There will be people who mean well but say unhelpful things. When someone says something you find hurtful, remind yourself that the individual was most likely trying to be comforting and helpful but just didn’t know the best way to do so.

Provide good self-care for yourself. Eat a variety of nutritious foods, get adequate sleep, exercise, and do something fun each day to take good care of yourself.

Plan ahead for difficult days. Holidays and anniversary dates of the death of your child will usually be more difficult days. Knowing this, you can reach out in advance to others for support for that day.

We want to express our sincere sympathy to you on your loss. Please don’t hesitate to contact us at Water’s Edge Counseling & Healing Center if your grief symptoms worsen and you need professional help.

– Pam Brown, APRN, PMHNP-BC, MPA, Family Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner