Important tips on caring for yourself as you cope with your loss.

There are number of normal reactions to loss and they appear in ways you might not expect. These can be common reactions to a crisis. You may experience one, a few, many or none of these reactions.

Changes in your sleep

  • Sleeping too much
  • Disturbed sleep
  • Not sleeping at all

Changes in appetite

  • Not feeling hungry
  • Eating for no reason

Changes in your emotions

  • Being lonely or depressed
  • Being crabby/irritable
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Feeling panicked over little things
  • Being angry for being left alone
  • Being angry with the health care system for not doing enough
  • Being angry with yourself for not taking more heroic steps
  • Becoming emotional from triggers/reminders of the loss

Changes in your behaviour

  • Finding it difficult to make decisions or hard to trust the decisions you do make
  • Buying things you did not need
  • Considering selling everything and moving
  • Going to the store every day

Changes in your thinking

  • Feeling like you are losing control
  • Finding yourself unable to concentrate on written material
  • Being unable to remember what you just read
  • Finding yourself obsessed with thoughts of your baby
  • Being forgetful, confused, unusually absent- minded
  • Forgetting why you went somewhere
  • Feeling guilty about things you have, or have not, done

Changes in your feelings towards others

  • Feeling no one understands what you are going through
  • Calling friends and talking for a long time or wanting to hang up after only a brief conversation
  • Feeling people should call more often or not call you at all
  • Feeling people should involve you in activities more often or leave you alone
  • Avoiding social functions you usually enjoyed

Changes in your body

  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Feeling weak and exhausted
  • Feeling more aches and pains

Give yourself permission, time and space to grieve

  • Acknowledge your broken heart.
  • Allow yourself to cry if you are able. It may provide some comfort and relief of built up emotions.
  • Reflect on your imagined guilt and “if onlys.”
  • Feel free to protest the "why" of death.
  • Try not to escape into loneliness.
  • Laughter does not mean you are being disrespectful to your loved one’s memory.
  • Try not to use substances to help cope. The painful experience of grief can be difficult to deal with. Drinking alcohol or taking medications as a way to cope actually only delays the grieving process.

Listen to yourself

  • Use your own awareness of your level of grief and healing.
  • Do not measure yourself by how others grieve and heal. It is different for everyone.
  • Understand and accept your limitations.
  • Respect the way your partner and/or your family grieves. Respect the time it takes for them to heal.

Talk to others

  • Tell those around you what you need from them: practical help, emotional support, sharing of time.
  • It might be helpful to talk about your experience and your child to people who you think will understand.
  • Talking with others can be a way to keep your child’s memory alive.
  • Accept the people around you who provide support, with all their imperfections and occasional unwanted advice. Most people mean well and are not intending to hurt you. They just don’t know what to say or they might not be comfortable with the subject themselves.
  • Recognize that seeking professional counselling and/or attending a pregnancy loss support group does not mean you are weak or inadequate.
  • Attend a support group. It may help to share your feelings with people who have had a similar experience. There can be an instant bond among people who have lost a child.

Take part of meaningful activities

  • Try activities that give you some measure of comfort.
  • Suggestions: religion, philosophy, poetry, music, art, gardening, exercise, walks, spirituality, meditation, reading, volunteer work.
  • One or more of these might help relieve your grief and help you make meaning of your experience.