The loss of a baby is one of the most devastating experiences any parent can face. It is traumatic, life changing and causes overwhelming grief. If this has been your experience, I’m incredibly sorry. There’s no manual for how to heal after losing your baby. You may be struggling to find hope and see your way through this experience.
October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month. Pregnancy loss continues to happen at an alarming rate year after year. Know that you are not alone and millions of women are walking alongside you on this journey of loss and healing.
Here are 10 guiding principles to support you on your lifelong journey of healing after a loss. Even if your loss happened a long time ago, you can start following these principles today. It’s not too late to start!
- TINY STEPS
Small steps are still steps forward. It’s not the size of the step that matters. Celebrate any progress you make, however small.
- TALK ABOUT YOUR BABY
You are not responsible for making others comfortable. You don’t have to hide your grief for the comfort of others. Your baby means a lot to you. Your baby existed and their life mattered.
- KNOW YOUR WORTH
Pregnancy loss does not make you unworthy. You are not broken. You are worthy. You are loved. If broken arms don’t make you unworthy, neither does pregnancy loss.
- KEEP IT JUDGMENT FREE
No matter how you choose to grieve the loss of your baby, it’s okay. It’s valid. It will always be valid. All feelings are allowed. You don’t have to accept judgment from others or even yourself. No matter what length of time you carried your baby for, your grief is valid. A loss is a loss and your suffering cannot (and should not) be compared.
Give yourself permission to say yes or no to what promotes and supports your healing without judgment. Feel free to decline invitations to baby showers and other events that feel hard to be present for right now. Saying no does not make you a bad person.
- RECOVERY DOESN’T MEAN FORGETTING
Recovery is making room in your life for your grief. You don’t try to get rid of it rather, you give it a home. It serves a purpose as it represents the love you have for your baby.
- GRIEF AND JOY ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE
You’re allowed to experience both. You can be sad about the loss of your baby AND have moments filled with joy and laughter.
- PREGNANCY LOSS IS NOT YOUR IDENTITY
You are more than what happened to you. It may feel like your entire life is defined by this experience but it’s not. You have an identity outside of this experience. Nurturing these other parts of you can promote healing. You are so much more than your loss.
- MAKE BOUNDARIES YOUR FRIEND
If someone is saying something hurtful or unhelpful, let them know. Be your own fierce advocate.
- YOU DON’T HAVE TO DO IT ALONE
Finding community can support your healing and recovery after the loss of your precious baby. It can decrease a sense of isolation and offer meaningful support.
Grab your free download of these principles today. Please share this post with someone you know that’s on the journey of healing after pregnancy loss. You can also sign up to receive a comprehensive guide on how to support someone after pregnancy loss.