Grieving for a baby you’ve never met

Grieving for a baby you’ve never met

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When a baby dies, it is a very sad time for the family and can also affect anyone else who knew the baby. Baby Loss Awareness Week can often focus mainly on the parents of the baby, but as a child or young person close to the baby, their death is likely to affect you strongly too. It’s completely normal for you to grieve the loss of your baby brother, sister, niece, nephew, or any other baby close to you. Baby loss can impact the entire family and other people in their lives.

How might you feel?

Even if the baby only lived while the mother was pregnant, you can still love and miss the baby if they died before they were born. You may have been really excited about the baby that was coming and looking forward to all the things you would be able to do with them. It is therefore natural to feel a huge sense of loss if sadly that baby dies.

It’s okay to cry, and it’s okay not to cry. You might feel angry, or you might feel completely numb. Emotions in grief can be complicated. You might feel a variety of emotions in one day, or you might not feel anything for a period of time. However your feelings present themselves, it’s totally normal. If you’re struggling to process why you’re feeling a certain way, it’s important to know that getting help doesn’t mean you’re weak. Grief is part of what makes us human and it’s not something you ‘get over’.


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Ways to express your feelings

It might help you to remember the baby by expressing your feelings in a way that works for you. You might feel comfortable writing down your feelings about them, or you could write a letter to the baby and keep it for yourself as a memory. In time, you may feel it’s okay to ask the parents if there is anything you can keep as a memory of them, for example any items, clothing, or photos of the baby. If not, you could draw some things you think that baby may have liked.

Sometimes adults might use language that you can find confusing after the baby has died. Those adults could be trying to protect their own feelings or may not feel ready to use the word ‘died’. If you have any feelings of confusion, try to speak to another adult that isn’t the parent of the baby, you might be able to ask them some questions. If you don’t want to talk to a family member, perhaps you can speak to someone in your school, or you could reach out to our practitioners.

How to get help

If you’d like to talk to someone, seek advice or support, you can contact us via our Freephone Helpline, ask email service, or visit some other resources on our website.

We offer one-to-one and group support sessions. We also have lots of online resources and a Helpline and email service where you can talk to bereavement professionals. You can call us on 08088 020 021 (open 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday) or email ask@winstonswish.org and find out more on our Get Support page.

If you need urgent support in a crisis, you can contact the 24/7 Winston’s Wish Crisis Messenger by texting WW to 85258.