Parenting After Loss

Once you have had a pregnancy or infant loss, your perspective on the world and on life may change drastically. As discussed in other articles this event can be life transforming with the impact being far and wide.

But perhaps now you have had a subsequent successful pregnancy and positive outcome and you are beginning a chapter in life you might call, “Parenting After Loss.”

It is natural to feel enormous apprehension and anxiety at this stage. You have finally achieved your dream, but knowing what you know, experiencing what you experienced, you know that “anything can happen” and you may feel overwhelmed by your need and desire to protect your precious baby (and other children if you already have them).

The fear that something could go wrong may be difficult to shake.

Take it Step-by-Step

The best way to approach this stage is step-by-step: to put one foot in front of the other and begin taking care of your precious bundle. There will be myriad needs to attend to for the baby and most likely it will be up to you to fulfill those needs. A good way to do this is by responding in a real way to each need: feeding, bathing, dressing, sleep and doctors’ appointments in a methodical way so that they become routine.

At the same time, DO NOT FORGET YOURSELF! The above-mentioned needs are exactly the same ones that you need to remember to do for yourself. If you have some additional hands to help with household chores, use them – especially to help with food preparation and laundry.

You have permission to bond and enjoy this baby! You should not feel that you are desecrating the memory of the baby that you lost by connecting to your newborn. You will never forget that baby. You will honor him/her in your own special way – through rituals, memorial services, visits to the cemetery – or whatever works for you. It is natural to have post-partum “blues.” But, don’t forget to seek help and emotional support if you feel overwhelmed by your feelings.