Dealing with the unexpected

The death of a baby is one of the most painful things that can happen to a family. It's so unfair. Babies aren't supposed to die. They are the beginning of life, not the end.

Parents who have lost a baby may feel sad, angry, confused or alone. They may want to shout or scream or cry. They may want to blame someone. Or they may want to hide under the covers and never come out. At times, their feelings may seem more than they can handle.

You may have had a miscarriage or a stillbirth during pregnancy. Or your baby may have died at birth or after birth.

Regardless of how you lost your baby, you may be overwhelmed by feelings of loss and grief. Also, you and your partner may be grieving in different ways. You're trying to deal with the loss, but it's hard.

Learn how to deal with your grief, how to cope with family and friends as you grieve and what you can do to remember your baby.

Order bereavement materials

You can also order our resources for grieving families, including the booklet From Hurt to Healing.

See also: miscarriage, stillbirth, deal with your grief, cope with family and friends as you grieve, remember your baby

Most common questions

How do you know if you’re clinically depressed?

Some grieving parents may show signs of depression. This is a medical condition in which a person has strong feelings of sadness that last for a long time. If you’re depressed, you may need special treatment from a health care provider.

Some signs that you may be depressed include:

  • Having little interest in usual activities or hobbies
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thinking about suicide or death

If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Your provider can help treat your depression.

How long does grief last?

There’s no right amount of time to grieve. It takes as long as it takes. You may feel better in a few weeks or months. Or it may take longer. If you feel like your grief is lasting longer than it should, talk to your health care provider.

©2013 March of Dimes Foundation. The March of Dimes is a non-profit organization recognized as tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code section 501(c)(3).