Stillbirth will bring to light a wide range of emotions for both the mother and the family of the baby. These emotions will fluctuate over time, and sometimes emerge at confusing or unexpected times. It is important for those impacted by stillbirth to pay attention to how they feel. Pushing emotions to the side and not dealing with them can lead to bigger problems down the road.
Occasionally, people impacted by stillbirth will report feelings of guilt. While there was likely nothing they could do to prevent this devastating situation, many people can’t accept that fact. Instead, they spend time and energy wondering why the stillbirth occurred and what they possibly could have done to prevent it. The truth is, there often is nothing that can be done in these situations. Still, the feelings of guilt are often associated with stillbirths.
Another common emotional impact is jealousy of healthy families. It can be hard for families dealing with a stillbirth to encounter healthy families for some time. The parents of a stillborn are often left with a myriad of unanswered questions, notably they wonder why it happened to them. While they rationally know the other families work hard to keep their children healthy, it can still stir up negative and complex emotions.
Families dealing with stillbirth will often experience feelings of profound loss that are extremely difficult to overcome. They will need help from family, friends, and the community to begin to rebuild their lives. If you know someone dealing with a stillbirth, make sure to allow them the space they need to grieve the sudden loss of their child. It can also be helpful for you to gather resources like counselors and support groups that can help the family to learn how to deal with the loss of their child.