“Healing Your Grieving Heart After Stillbirth” by Wolfelt and Maloney

healing-your-grieving-heart-after-stillbirth

I couldn’t concentrate for weeks, so this book was perfect in the immediate month after Tinsley died.  It would be my #1 recommendation for anyone that has just lost a baby.

This book offers “100 practical ideas for parents and families” with “compassionate and simple activities to help you through your grief.”

These are the ideas and thoughts I found helpful:

Grief is the constellation of internal thoughts and feelings you have when you lose someone you have come to love and value. Mourning is the outward expression of your grief. Mourning is releasing your grief.

Know that numbness is natural.  Give yourself permission to take a time-out from making decisions right now.

You will first acknowledge the reality of the loss with your head, and then, over time, you will begin to acknowledge the emotional reality with your heart and soul.

You are and always will be your child’s parent. Re-anchor yourself so your feet are on solid ground as you embark on this journey to reconstruct your self-identity.  This involves exploring and redefining what it means to be a parent and a family now that one precious member is not physically present in your everyday life.

Remember that having faith or spirituality does not eliminate your need to mourn.

For some parents the only answer is this: My baby dying before birth does not make sense and it never will.

One third of your friends will be supportive of your need to mourn, one third will make you feel worse, and one third will neither help nor hinder.

Grief is experienced in doses over years, not quickly or efficiently.

Try to keep the judgments about how or what you are doing to a minimum.

You are the only expert of your grief.

The more time you spend consciously inviting mourning, the less time there is for your sorrow to surface without warning.

After a traumatic experience, it’s natural to feel vulnerable, restless, and anxious.  Your nervous system is telling your brain that the world is not the safe, loving place that you thought it was and that you long for it to be right now.

You will spend a lifetime continuing to integrate their loss into your being and someday, instead of carrying the heavy, compressing, painful grief you may feel right now, you will carry your integrated grief.

Know there are no bad days, only ‘necessary’ days.

Your grief cannot be cured; it will always live inside of you.

As a parent you may find comfort in physical objects that belonged to or are associated with your baby….you’re not crazy; you’re simply holding on to what you have left of your precious infant.

Talk to your baby.  Talking is a way of connecting.  Even if the person we are trying to connect to isn’t responding, a connection can still occur.

For many expectant parents, the birthing process is exhausting, but that exhaustion subsides because your body and mind know they need to kick into full gear to care for a newborn.  Your body and mind have been through the same process only to find that there is no place to direct those natural instincts to nourish and nurture.  You may not know what to do with your nurturing instincts.

Close your eyes and envision your concept of heaven.  See your child seeing you.  See her welcoming you, reaching out to you.  Retreat to this hope-filled image when you are feeling disconnected, filled with sorrow, or discouraged.

If your mind returns to the moment of the death often, this is natural.  This is your mind’s effort to fathom that which is unfathomable.

Even long after the death (a year or two or more), something as simple as a sound, a smell, or phrase can bring on a griefburst).

Most bereaved parents do not fear death.  Some have shared that they have feelings of looking forward to dying because they are hopeful they will be reunited with their precious child. If you feel this way, it doesn’t mean you are suicidal.  It means that you long to be in the presence of your child.

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