Reaching Out & Getting Support
It goes without saying that losing a child is devastating and takes you to some really dark and lonely places and its important to seek support from others.
If your depression is so bad that you think you may harm yourself please immediately text or call:
The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline 988
It seems like it should be obvious after a devastating loss that counseling would be beneficial. However, sometimes the motivation to go can be challenging. My husband and I went to a counselor the first several months after the loss of our precious daughter. She helped us process so much: our loss, our feelings towards God, how to interact with others (especially those who have kids or are pregnant), and to reassure us that how we were feeling was part of a normal healthy grieving process.
We ended up moving and couldn't see her anymore but I used the website Better Help to find an online therapist. She helped talk me through the trauma and use EMDR Therapy.
It helps so much talking to someone who is trained to deal with grief and loss. It is one of the most important steps in healing.
Join a Support Group
There is an amazing nurse named Fran who works at the hospital we were at and has a heart for bereavement care. She started a support group for families who lost their children there. She doesn't get paid but she takes time out of her crazy nursing schedule to message us, send us encouraging newsletters and hosts a monthly zoom call connecting us with others who truly understand what we are going through.
I don't know what we would do without her. I encourage you to see if your hospital or community has a support group, Sometimes it is hard to go and it can be painful, but being able to cry and be open with others who understand your pain helps so much with healing.
There are also amazing support groups online if you can't find one locally. It may not be for everyone, I didn't think I would want to go. However having a small group to open up to, saying your baby's name with people who understand means so much.
It is hard to accept that we might need Antidepressants to heal.
About 9 months after our loss I spiraled again, feeling like I was almost back to how I was right after we lost her. Honestly one thing I regret is that I waited so long go to a doctor get help. Taking something to balance out my hormones was a game changer.
I understand some people can be hesitant to take medication, I was one of them. However, It really helped give me clarity. It helped me figure out why I was sad: was it Aveline, work, or just my normal emotions. Before, they all blended together. I didn't know if it could be fixed because I didn't know what was wrong.
It doesn't erase the pain but it helped me really work through stuff in counseling. I started to look forward to the future again instead trying to figure out how I was going to get out of bed and survive the day ahead.
Having supportive friends and family makes a huge difference. After a loss it is so hard to know what you need but when you can, communicate that to your family and friends. You may want someone to bring over dinner, or send food gift cards so you don't have to cook. You many want someone to check on you once a week or once a day.
Our families were so incredibly supportive and helpful in too many ways to count.
A neighbor brought over amazing food we lost our daughter and she continued to do so several weeks after. I especially appreciated the beautiful bouquets of flowers that came with the meals. She was an angel!
I also had a couple of close friends who called me every week like clockwork. When I was a mess, they asked if I wanted to talk about it or be distracted. It meant the world.
Try to tell people what you need. Do you need to talk, do you need space, do you need dinner, or do you just want a hug?
Facebook Support Groups
If you can I recommend going a Facebook group, there are so many and it has been so helpful hearing stories from other parents who went through exactly what we did. Those who lost their baby to the same medical condition, who had people question the impossible choices we were forced to make, who had the same fear of trying again because our odds of it happening again are higher, and mostly to gain hope and to hear of all of the rainbow babies that have been born.
There are so many groups online and I highly encourage you to find one that offers support and understanding. It helps so much knowing you are not alone. Keep in mind in these groups everyone is at a different place in their healing so some things might be difficult to read at times.
Below are a few groups I am apart of.
"Welcome to Loved Baby. We are a Christian community where you can talk, vent, share experiences, grieve, receive & give encouragement, and ask questions to other women about miscarriage, stillbirth, & all forms of pregnancy loss. We love you and support you.
This is a safe, non-judgmental, peaceful place for support and understanding. We think of it as a table, where you can sit with a tribe of women who are believers and also have experienced pregnancy loss. It's an extension of the book Loved Baby: 31 Devotions Helping You Grieve & Cherish Your Child After Pregnancy Loss."
Please request to join if you have suffered the loss of your baby due to anencephaly or any birth defect. I have created this support group as a safe haven for those who have suffered the tragic loss of their baby due to this birth defect...whether carried to term, induced, miscarried, or terminated. This is a closed group for the safety and well being of our grieving moms and dads.
(Your posts will not show up on your wall or newsfeed. But they will show up to anyone you have friended that is in the group.)
I had never heard of this organization until I delivered Aveline. They make these beautiful little crochet cradles and hats for tiny babies that are too little for clothes. I was so grateful because even the tiniest clothes we could find were way too big as Aveline only weighed 8.8oz.
They also sew a little pendant onto the cradles for the moms to keep as a necklace. I wore mine for months before I bought a separate necklace with her name on it. Now the original stays safely in a box for special occasions. I am so grateful for these people who started this ministry. Looking back I wonder if I should have kept the cradle but at the time it gave me some comfort seeing her in it as we had to walk away without her.