No one expects an infant to die. Though you know this tragedy has occurred, you may have a difficult time accepting it.

Often, it is hard for parents to understand why their baby has died. You might find yourself wondering if you could have prevented your child’s death. You may believe that you caused the death or that your baby’s death is punishment for your past actions. These are normal reactions for parents. Grief is a physical, emotional and spiritual journey.

Fathers and Mothers Grieve Differently

A mother’s grief might be more intense and last longer than that of other relatives. Realize that grandparents’ grief is often overlooked. As your parents, they grieve for you as well as for the loss of their grandchild.

As you grieve, understand that mourning has no prescribed length. Expect your grief to resurface on certain days, especially on birthdays, holidays or the anniversary of the death. You may feel a sense of loss and sadness, which will accompany you for the rest of your life. Here are some steps you can take to cope with these emotions.

How to Cope With the Grief of Losing an Infant

  • If necessary, speak with your doctor and ask questions so that you can understand the cause of your baby’s death.
  • Create a support system. Many hospitals have support groups for parents whose infants have died. Organizations such as The Compassionate Friends, M.E.N.D, and Share may be active in your community.
  • Take good care of yourself. Try to eat properly and get plenty of rest and exercise. Help your spouse to do the same.
  • Give yourself time to grieve for your baby before having or adopting another child. When the time is right for another child, he or she will be a special person, not a replacement.
  • If you have other children, maintain open and honest communication with them. They may not fully understand how death can happen to an infant. They may also find it difficult to unders
  • tand your need to grieve. Find other friends or family members who can pay special attention to your children.

There Is No Wrong or Right Way to Grieve the Loss of an Infant

Parents are often left with many unanswered questions when their babies pass away. It is important to remember that grief can be a long, difficult process. You may find yourself struggling for an understanding of why your child has died or what you could have done differently.

These thoughts are normal reactions to the death of a baby and should not make you feel guilty. Remember that it’s ok if you’re having difficulty coping with this loss–it’s only natural! If these feelings persist, please know there are resources out there to help you through your grieving process.

— Adapted from an article by Nancy E. Crump, M.S., Certified Grief Counselor

The Neptune Society of Northern California has provided a simple and affordable option for more than 125,000 Californians who prefer cremation as the dignified and ecologically responsible alternative to traditional final arrangements. Contact us online or browse our locations to contact a representative.

Category: Grief Support.