Treading water - enduring and surviving the aftermath whilst in the hospital soon after Stillbirth or Neonatal loss
Take some long deep breaths. I know how you feel. The bottom of the universe has just fallen from beneath you. Just breathe for now. You are going to get through this.
Shrink your world
- to include only necessities and your core people
- discard the rest
- give your phone and laptop to someone else to either manage or turn off
- Immediate family and friends
- perhaps your extended family or friends can disseminate the news, so you don’t have to.
- on your self and what you need in this moment
- on your immediate family/partner
- on ‘making memories’ for the memory box. Photos will feel like the last thing you want to think about but can offer solace in the years ahead.
- Keep anything and everything you can – these keepsakes are irreplaceable. E.g. blankets, beanie, hair lockets, socks
- your environment. Perhaps play gentle soft music. Keep warm and cosy.
- your nutrition. You are physically depleted and starting to physically heal, you need to eat.
- your sleep. This will help emotionally and physically.
Arm yourself with knowledge
- utilize the social worker and perinatal grief team
- take all the numbers and pamphlets to read through when you have the capacity to (it’s unlikely you are able to take very much in at the moment)
- discuss with the medical team as much as you need . This will ensure you understand everything that there is currently an answer for.
Ask your doctor if you are suitable for lactation suppression and if it’s required.
Stay on top of analgesia (pain relief medication) if required.
Optimize bowels – you may required aperients (stool softeners)
Monitor your loss. It should be no heavier then a heavy period.
Reach for support
- grief counselors
- GP/family doctor
- Charity organizations e.g. SANDS, Bears of hope, Red nose, Star Legacy
- Friends and family
- Sign up to the 3 week online Glimmer Program for pear support, meditation and evidence based tools and strategies to manage your grief (this program is ideal for when your partner returns to work or everything quiets down)
- hotlines for 24 hour support
- Social media pregnancy loss groups (but beware of images and stories that can be triggering. You are fragile at the moment. Be gentle on yourself and limit exposures to anything troublesome).
- Join the Glimmer Project facebook group - it is focused on positive resources that can help grieving parents and does not permit triggering content to be posted
- listen to season 1 of 'The Glimmer Podcast' on any of the usual podcast platforms. This podcast is specifically created to help manage the grief or pregnancy or newborn loss.