Help and Support
Everyone's experience of their baby's loss is different; we all cope in different ways. However, here are some ideas and resources which may help on your journey through this grief. These are not professional recommendations, but they have helped some of us on our own personal journeys. Not all of them will suit everybody, but we hope that the some of them will help you.
- Take pictures of your baby following birth. Take pictures of you, your partner and other family members holding your baby. Take pictures of your baby’s hand in your hand. Take pictures of their feet. You may not think you want pictures immediately following your baby's death, but if you have them at least you have the choice to look at them in the future. They may become a precious reminder to you and your family.
- Take a cast or ink print of your baby's hands and feet, a lock of hair, measurements and weight. These can help you create some wonderful memories later on if you so wish (please see Useful Links) section of our site for websites which specialise in angel baby mementos)
- Have your baby baptised (or something appropriate to your beliefs).
- Think carefully about getting a post-mortem. Most parents want to know as much as possible about why their baby died and also whether there are implications for any future pregnancies. However, it is not always possible to obtain any answers from a post-mortem. The medical staff will be able to discuss this with you.
- Some people have found it helpful to buy two identical soft toys, leave one with your baby and keep one as a memento.
- Hold your baby.
- Bath and dress your baby.
- Offer family members the chance to see your baby. Create a memory box to collate all mementos of your baby.
- If you have arranged for, or are attending a meeting with the hospital consultant following your baby's death consider the questions that you are going to ask. It might be helpful to write them down in advance and perhaps ask someone to come along and make notes of what is said. If you have further questions after the meeting then you can ask for a follow up meeting.
- Give yourself time. In the early days set yourself small goals such as getting up at a set time, go for a walk etc
- Enlist as much family help as is available to you. For example, get a family member or a friend to do your shopping.
- You are entitled to the same level of maternity/paternity rights as you would have been if your baby had survived, providing your baby has been born after 24 weeks gestation. Contact Working Families or your HR Department for help and information (see Useful Links section of our site).
- Light candles, release balloons or sky lanterns or start a little tradition (such as always going to a place) on special days and anniversaries.
- Create a memorial website using a website such as http://www.gonetoosoon.org or a blog in memory of your baby.
- Name a star.
- Attend a memorial service. In Hull we hold one on Father’s Day and one near Christmas.
- Bake a birthday cake for your baby.
- Sponsor something in memory of your baby.
- Light a virtual candle on the website http://www.gratefulness.org.
- Organise or take part in a fundraiser in memory of your baby.
- Devote part of your garden or plant a tree or plant to your baby’s memory.
- Take special items to your baby’s grave.
How to support living children when a baby dies
- Click here for a workbook written by one of the bereaved mums in Liverpool Sands. It is called Dealing with Loss. It is available from Amazon.
- Click here for the Sands leaflet supporting children when a baby has died.
- A charity called Child Bereavement UK support children too. Here is the link to their website and a link to their support contact details. There is nothing geographically close to Hull and East Yorkshire but they do offer telephone and email support. It is a free phone number and they provide guidance and can also direct you to other organisations.
- The Alder centre at Alder hey hospital also offer a telephone service in the first place with a free phone number. Your child may be referred if so assessed. Hull and East Yorkshire Sands has had wonderful feedback from people who have used the centre.
- You can also consider letting your child(ren) create their own memories of what they want for baby, i.e. buy a box and let them put in what they think their sibling would like. It might be a stone, a stick, a doll, anything that they want to pick that is personal to them for their baby brother or sister.
- Click this link for support with a video from Dr Ranj from Cbeebies talking specifically about when a sibling dies.
- You could ask your child's nursery/school (if applicable) for an educational psychologist.
- This is another website that offers support: http://www.winstonswish.org.uk
- Other books available from Amazon which may offer support to a child are (please click on title for link): Waterbugs and Dragonflies - Explaining Death to young children by D Stickney; Always and Forever by A Durant; The Lonely Tree by N Halliday, We Were Going To Have a Baby But We Had An Angel Instead by P Schwiebert and When Someone Very Special Dies by M E Heegaard.