For many parents stillbirth is a loss that hits unexpectedly. In fact, up to half of all stillbirths occur in pregnancies that seem to be problem-free. It doesn’t matter what your races, religion and socio-economic status may be.
With any loss, grief can come in many different forms. The initial shock and numbness will eventually give way to other emotions. The grieving process is different for everyone but with the one common thread... pain.
I hope there was a time for you to spend time alone with your baby. This can be a very important time for you; touching, and talking to your baby. Most parents find it helpful to make memories in these precious moments that will last a life time.
You may have had the opportunity to:
• Name your baby.
• Give your baby a bath and dress him/her them in a special outfit.
• Take pictures of your baby.
• Have your baby christened or blessed while in the hospital. A certificate of baptism/blessing may also be issued to you – according to your faith belief.
• Have an imprint of his/her handprints and/or footprints.
• Gather information about your baby’s height and weight.
• Clip a lock of your baby’s hair.
Keepsakes are beautiful reminders that this baby will always be part of your family. It is my hope you were able to spend as much time as you needed with your baby.
Contact the funeral home- you/your partner may be allowed to hold the baby as you ride from hospital to funeral home. Most funeral homes are very caring and may provide a free coffin, for your stillborn baby. Although there may be other expenses, this contribution will help with the financial strain.
At some point you will need to say goodbye. This will probably be one of the most challenging things to do because it is so final.
The time will come when you are ready to sort through your baby items you have bought or received as gifts. You will need to decide what do to do with these items. This is a task you should do as parents. It is healing to sort through these items. Try not to make any hasty decisions about what to do with these items which you may regret later. You may want to give some items to charity or keep them-the choice is yours.
There will be a time again when your heart will not ache as it does now. You will have hopes and dreams to look forward to again. This is a sign that you are healing not forgetting.
“In life I loved you dearly; in death I love you still.
“In my heart you hold a place that nobody could ever fill.
“It broke my heart to lose you, but you didn’t go alone.
“For part of me went with you, the day God took you home.”
– Unknown source
Margaret Anne Yost nursed for 35 years, working mostly on medical floors. She has journeyed with many clients who were dying, and she tried to comfort their families during this difficult time. She has completed two units of Clinical Pastoral Education.
Returning back to school she completed classes from the Red River College in the areas of Gerontology, Bereavement, Death and Dying. She was enrolled eight years in lay ministry training. At present, she enjoys her role at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Yorkton in the area of parish work. For the past ten years she has also been employed at Bailey’s Funeral Home working in the area of Continuing Care.
Comments and articles may be forwarded by mail to: Margaret Anne Yost, P.0. Box 554 Melville, Sask. S0A 2P0
Or phone 1-306-621-9877 (9 am-5 pm) or at home 1-306-728-4744 (evenings).