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For many families who are pregnant with or have recently delivered a very loved and wanted baby, hopes and dreams are torn apart with the news that the baby has died. For the rest of the world around them, not much seems changed. Unfortunately, something very sad and life altering has happened that needs to be acknowledged. A baby has died.
Download our Ways to Support a Parent brochure for some suggestions on how to support a parent whose baby has died.
Types of Loss and Questions About Grief
Early Pregnancy Loss
Medically, an early pregnancy loss is defined as any loss before 20 weeks gestation, with most of these losses occurring before the thirteenth week. The death of a baby before the thirteenth week is
called a first trimester loss and most commonly occurs because of a problem with the development of the baby or placenta. Many people consider losses early in the second trimester stillbirths since
often labor needs to be induced so the baby can be delivered.
A stillbirth is the delivery of a baby who has died, and is greater than 20 weeks gestation. In about half of all stillbirths, a cause for the baby’s death can be discovered after evaluating the baby. It is possible for the baby to have birth defects, or problems with the placenta or umbilical cord. Another cause can be found in maternal circumstances such as an illness or recreational drug use. Unfortunately, for many stillbirths, the cause for the baby’s death can remain undetermined. Stillbirth cannot be predicted, nor can we predict whom it will affect.
A neonatal loss is the death of a baby who was born alive and died shortly after birth. The baby may have lived for a few days, a few hours or only minutes. The baby may have died for a variety of
reasons, including prematurity, infection, defects of major organs, or chromosomal abnormalities. The baby’s life-threatening condition may or may not have been detectable before birth. The grief
process may be impacted by the gestation of the pregnancy and when problems were detected.
Whether you are parents who learned before or after birth that your baby may die, the initial feelings you experience are very similar. You now have to go from the highs of awaiting a precious baby, to the lows of deep grief. Your emotions and feelings may be constantly changing with the circumstances of your loss.
Angel of Hope
Family and friends are often looking for ways to show they care. Share provides wonderful memorial resources including memorial bricks that surround our Angel of Hope. Two dedication services are held each year in addition to the annual December 6th service. Learn more.
Tribute and memorial gifts are another wonderful way to recognize a loved one. Make a donation in your loved one’s name.