A Mothers Grief when Baby Dies

Whether a baby’s death has been due to miscarriage, stillbirth or post natal complications - grief is grief, loss is loss. But everyone grieves differently, and the grief a bereaved father feels is often different from that of the mother. And then there are differences among individual men and women too. This is the first of 4 articles about differences in grief, to help us understand each other: to understand what it’s like for the other person.


Before a baby dies, the mother has often experienced and felt her baby move and grow. The bond between mother and unborn baby is often strongest of all. So when a baby dies, the mother often feels she loses part of herself. Mothers often think they have somehow ‘failed’: i.e. in not producing a child who lived, and not achieving something which seems so easy for so many others to do.


The mother feels emptiness inside of her body after the baby leaves; she aches for her baby, and for a while her body may act as if the baby were still alive. After all, it takes a while for the other organs to recognize that the baby is gone. So a woman’s breasts may still be ready to nurse, and the hormone secretion increases the mother’s emotional pain.


A mother’s love commonly begins long before her baby is born or dies. Her hopes, dreams and fantasies for her baby were very real. So she has lost her baby, and she has also lost a future with this unique son or daughter.


Sometimes a mother might feel very alone in her grief. She finds that people do not always know what to say or how they can be of help. Even her partner may not understand the full impact this tragedy has had upon her. Often, the mother finds that she will need to talk about this, and often for a long time, as there will hardly be a day -- especially in the beginning -- when she does not think about her baby.


I encourage you, Mom, to be gentle with yourself. Find the support you need, whether in a grief counselor or a good friend. But please don’t blame yourself: you did nothing wrong, and you have done nothing to deserve this tragedy. It is simply a very sad fact of life. Blaming yourself will not help you get over the grief – it will only make it worse -- so I urge you to not do this.


For those who care about a bereaved mother, I hope this article has given you some insight into her grief. Please encourage her to talk about her loss -- she probably needs to. Please encourage her to not blame herself (more than likely she is doing this). I hope this has been helpful. Thank you for reading.

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