Your Health Tamar Raucher | 4 years ago

Coping with the Loss of a Little One

Losing a little one – whether it happens before or after the child is born – is never easy. Suffering a miscarriage or losing a baby shortly after birth can be an incredibly painful experience for mothers, fathers and families who go through it. And, for many, the feeling that they are suffering in silence can make it even harder to bear.

“It’s such a difficult thing for families to go through,” says Gail Harris, a neonatal nurse practitioner coordinator at Levine Children’s Hospital who has cared for families facing infant loss. “And it’s common for them to feel alone in their grief.” To honor and remember children lost through miscarriage, still birth or infant death, and to support the women and families who have experienced it, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is observed on October 15. Harris says this kind of remembrance and reflection, along with other steps, can help families heal from the pain of losing a child. “Honoring your child – through a memorial service, a memory box or with photographs – can give you lasting memories to treasure,” says Harris, who helps organize an annual butterfly release event at the hospital to help patients honor the memories of children they’ve lost. Another way to ease the pain? Meeting with others who have gone through the same thing. “Surrounding yourself with people who understand your loss can really help in the grieving process,” Harris says. You can reach out to support groups, or turn to a grief counseling or resource center such as KinderMourn. And how do you support a friend or family member who’s lost a child in this way? It’s normal to feel like you don’t know what to do – or say. But Harris shares that one of the best things you can do is to simply be there. “Everyone grieves in different ways,” says Harris. “Just let them know that you’re there to support them in whatever way they need.”