WellMama Resource Guide: Grief, Miscarriage, and Baby Loss
The loss of a pregnancy or child of any age is devastating. Our culture generally does a poor job of providing support, space for bereavement, or honoring of the impact such loss has on a family system.
WellMama can refer you to therapists who specialize in working with individuals and couples dealing with miscarriage or baby loss. Simply call us at 1-800-896-0410. The list below of baby loss resources can also provide support and information.
This section of the WellMama Resource Guide will focus on dealing with emotions surrounding miscarriage and baby loss. If you would like to contribute to the WellMama Resource Guide, please email resource guide volunteer Mandy Lindgren.
Miscarriage is the most common form of baby loss, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and miscarriages typically occur during the first 13 weeks of pregnancy. Studies show that anywhere from 10-25% of all clinically recognized pregnancies will end in miscarriage (American Pregnancy Association 2011). When a child – born or unborn – dies, parents begin the long process of grieving. There are seven recognized stages of grief (Grief Loss Recovery 2011).
In 2008, my baby in utero was diagnosed with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). Caleb had an open-heart surgery at four days old, spent two weeks in the hospital recovering, lived for five weeks at home, and then had an undetermined traumatic event the Sunday before he turned eight weeks old and passed away in my arms.
The first time I became pregnant, I had been married for just over a year. I was so excited to finally be a mother, something I had looked forward to for several years. I had started babysitting at the age of eleven and always wanted lots of babies of my own. I of course told all of my family and friends of my pregnancy and all was going well. I went in for my three-month checkup, and the heartbeat of my baby could not be found.
The night before you were born, there was so much lightning. It wasn’t raining though, just hot – the hottest night of the year. Sitting on the big blue birth ball, rocking from side to side, I’d rest my head on the hospital bed during the in-between. When a contraction came, I’d sit up, open my eyes and watch the jagged stabs of light through the window as they punctuated the clear, distinct pain in my body.
BabyLoss Eugene is a support organization for parents and others who have been affected by the loss of a child. They offer a safe, nurturing place for those who have experienced pregnancy loss or the loss of an infant or toddler.
Mothers and Others in Sympathy and Support is volunteer-based organization that provides crisis support and long-term aid to families after the death of a child from any cause. They have a wonderful online forum where bereaved parents can connect.
Born in Silence is a YouTube video that shares messages of encouragement and understanding for those who have experienced a stillborn birth.
BabyLoss Blog Directory is an amazing list of personal blogs by bereaved parents, categorized by type of loss.
Compassionate Friends is a national self-help support organization that assists families in the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age. Eugene has a local support group.
Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a network of almost 7,000 volunteer photographers in 25 countries. At a family’s request, a NILMDTS-affiliated photographer comes to the hospital or hospice location and conducts a no-cost, sensitive, and private portrait session, offering bereaved families precious images of themselves with their child.
Courageous Kids is a grief support program for youth ages 6-17 and their caregivers, offering weekly support groups as well as a yearly 4-day camp.