Support for the Loss of a Newborn (Perinatal Loss)

Our PSP members have shared resources to help you manage the pain of losing a newborn. 

 

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IN THIS ARTICLE

Support groups and professional services

Reading, podcasts, and resources from around the web

Online communities

Additional resources and considerations

 

 

Read more on Park Slope Parents:

Support Available for Miscarriage, Bereavement and Loss

Advice for after a miscarriage

Helping Others Through Tough Times

 

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Support groups and professional services

 

 

Local Grief Counselors

PSP has a list of member-reviewed Grief Counselors. Read reviews for each entry to learn more about their specialties and how they may be able to help with your specific situation.

 

 

The Seleni Institute

The Seleni Institute specializes in full-spectrum support for the emotional health of individuals and their families during the family-building years. They’ve put together this article about how to get the support you need after a pregnancy loss.

Read member reviews on the PSP website.

 

 

The Pregnancy Loss Support Program of the National Council of Jewish Women

The Pregnancy Loss Support Program offers free support services to parents who have experienced a miscarriage, stillbirth, newborn death, or termination. These programs have no religious aspect, and all faiths are welcome.

 

“I had one first trimester and one second trimester loss. For both I received help from the The Pregnancy Loss Support Program of the National Council of Jewish Women. It is non-religious and many women who are not Jewish receive support. They have various supports from telephone counseling with another parent who has had a loss and been  given a training, to groups, bereavement rituals and so on. I would also be glad to offer any connection of interest to someone with perinatal loss. ... I know every loss is different but I found comfort in being connected to others who knew the pain of this kind of loss.”

 

 

Mount Sinai

Mount Sinai offers bereavement services for families who need support at any time following a loss. Support groups are offered for individuals or couples dealing with stillbirth, miscarriage, and neonatal death, as well as for people who have had to terminate a wanted pregnancy. This falls under the auspices of Mount Sinai’s Perinatal and Pediatric Bereavement Support Program, which provides counseling, education, and support referrals for individuals, couples, and families.

 

 

1st Breath 

1st Breath provides education, advocacy, and public awareness of stillbirth, in addition to assisting families and professionals dealing with the death of a baby.

 

 

Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support 

Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support is a community for anyone who experiences the death of a baby - parents, grandparents, siblings, other family members, and professionals. Services include phone support, in-person group meetings, online resources and communities, and caregiver trainings. 

 

 

Empty Arms Bereavement Support

Empty Arms Bereavement Support offers support to bereaved families and professional trainings to caregivers. In-person support is available in Western Massachusetts, and there is a wealth of resources available online. 

 

 

Hope After Loss

Hope After Loss offers peer-to-support, outreach, and education for pregnancy and infant loss. Zoom support groups offered include a weekly “Pregnancy and Infant Loss” group, and a bi-weekly “Trying to Conceive/Pregnancy After Loss” group. 

 

 

The MISS Foundation 

The MISS Foundation provides Family Support Packets, one-on-one support from a trained volunteer who has also experienced loss, in-person and online support groups, and counseling. 

 

 

Mending Hearts After Loss

Mending Hearts After Loss offers free programming for bereaved parents, designed by Dr. Tara May after the loss of her own daughter. This program provides bereaved parents with practical tools and reflection exercise to help bereaved parents create their personal path to healing. 

 

 

Star Legacy Foundation

Star Legacy Foundation is an online community of families, health professionals, researchers, policy makers, and individuals who are dedicated to reducing the number of stillbirths, and providing support to families who endure this loss. Their activities include research support, conferences, patient education, a grief support phone line, online video support groups, newsletters, blog posts, and podcasts.  

 

 

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Reading, podcasts, and resources from around the web

 

Books

 

An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination: A Memoir, by Elizabeth McCracken

In this memoir about stillbirth, a grieving mother describes her experience of living through loss. 

 

Expecting Sunshine: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After Loss, by Alexis Marie Chute

A mother explores her experience of expecting a baby while still moving through the grief for a child that was lost. 

 

 

Articles

 

Stillbirths, a series from The Lancet 

This extensive series presents the rates and causes of stillbirth globally; explores interventions to prevent stillbirths, maternal deaths, and neonatal deaths); and proposes actions to drastically reduce stillbirth rates. (This series was recommended by The Longest Shortest Time.)

 

The Grief Wall: Loss of Identity After Stillbirth,” from What’s Your Grief?

A bereaved mother shares the confusion and loss of identity she experienced after the loss of her son. 

 

 

Blogs and Websites

 

Ending a Wanted Pregnancy

This website offers nonjudgmental abortion grief support to those who have gone through this misunderstood form of pregnancy loss. 

"[Ending a Wanted Pregnancy] provides testimonials and advice for those who have had to face hard decisions about continuing a pregnancy.  They also have a ‘secret’ Facebook group for parents that you can sign up for through the site.  It has been an invaluable resource for me and others in this community, so I wanted to share it."

 

Modern Loss

The Modern Loss website is an online space where people can share personal and candid stories about grief. It has a category for candid conversations from various authors on Miscarriage and Stillbirth.

 

Reconceiving Loss

The Reconceiving Loss magazine’s website shares stories, articles, and resources for those who have experienced baby loss, in order to help shift the way society discusses loss and empower others to speak about their own experiences with loss.

 

Still Mothers

Still Mothers is a website offering blog posts, support, and resources for mothers who have lost their only child(ren) and feel lost and left behind in a community of families.

 

 

Podcasts

 

The Shortest Day,” from The Longest Shortest Time podcast

In this episode, a grieving mother shares her experience with a stillbirth. 

“‘The Shortest Day’ is the best episode of the entire podcast and its page has a number of resources at the bottom.”

 

Stillbirths and Infant Deaths with Amy Wright Glenn,” from the Birthful podcast

This episode offers guidance and advice to grieving parents struggling to cope, find support, or navigate this difficult journey. 

 

 

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Online communities

 

 

Grieving Parents Support Network on Facebook

The Grieving Parents Support Network (GPSN) is an online community with over 25,000 members that offers curated information and support to bereaved parents.

 

 

Grieving Mothers on Facebook

This is an online gathering space of over 75,000 bereaved mothers supporting each other as they cope with the ways loss and grief have changed them. 

 

 

I Am A Mother to An Angel on Facebook

In this group, over 300,000 mothers share compassion, support, and keepsakes. 

 

 

The Compassionate Friends Infant and Toddler Loss Group on Facebook

This group is run by The Compassionate Friends, a nonprofit support organization that offers friendship, understanding, and hope to families grieving the death of a child of any age, from any cause.

 

 

Miscarriage, Stillbirth, & Infant Loss Support forum via BabyCenter

This online support forum is a space where bereaved parents can share their stories and find community and compassionate support at any stage of their loss.  

 

 

Glow In The Woods

This website is for moms and dads (but mostly moms) who have lost babies and seek comfort and community. In addition to information, you’ll find other women who have just been through the same heartbreaking experience posting and supporting each other on the for one and all discussion board. It is a compassionate and comforting community. 

 

 

Grieving Dads

Dads grieve too, and the Grieving Dads blog is a resource that was created specifically for them. Grieving Dads offers blog posts, opportunities to share stories, a book, workbook, and in-person workshops. (This website was recommended by The Longest Shortest Time).

 

 

First Candle

Members of First Candle’s online support groups can offer one another emotional comfort and share information and experiences surrounding pregnancy and infant loss. 

 

 

Graham's Foundation

Graham's Foundation supports parents of preemies, including those managing bereavement after preemie loss or uncertainty after NICU stays. 

 

 

A Group Of Internet Friends Helped Me Survive After My Son Died

In this piece from mothering.com, a mother shares how support from online communities was essential for her to deal with the isolation she felt in her grief. 

 

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Additional resources and considerations

 

 

The Angel Garden at Virtua Voorhees

The Angel Garden at Virtua Voorhees in South Jersey is a peaceful outdoor sanctuary where parents can honor the life of a baby they lost. This space is intended to be a unique and meaningful place to heal, and is filled with flowers, trees, a wall of names honoring lost babies, and an onlooking angel statue.

 

“For someone who would like to have a lasting memory for their child, there’s an angel garden at Virtua hospital in southern NJ. I realize it’s far from NYC, but it’s close to where I grew up and the only place I’ve heard of like this.” 

 

 

Donating Breastmilk

Occasionally, bereaved mothers will donate milk, which is just extraordinary. It can be a part of the healing process after a late loss, stillbirth or neonatal loss. 

 

Here are a couple of articles that explain more:

Donating breast milk helps bereaved mothers deal with loss,” The Milk Bank

Freya’s Gold: Milk Donation After Loss,” Lactation Matters

How to Donate Breast Milk,” Park Slope Parents

Lactation after Loss: A Guide for Bereaved Mothers, Empty Arms Bereavement

Support

 

“All of my losses were early, and ultimately my son was carried by a gestational carrier. This meant I wasn’t able to breastfeed him, but he did receive donated breastmilk and I’ve been an active member of the milk donation community ever since. This was something we consulted with our pediatrician on before doing and she was supportive of our choice.”

 

"My cousins had this experience a couple of years ago and handled it very proactively ... I recall that my cousin pumped and donated her breast milk for perhaps as long as a year to help other mothers who couldn't pump or produce milk and it helped her feel like something good was coming out of what happened.”

 

 

Faith's Lodge

Faith’s Lodge is a retreat facility in Northwestern Wisconsin that supports parents, children, and families coping with the serious illness or death of a child. Visitors can participate in a flexible schedule of programming in a peaceful environment and reflect on the past, renew strength for the present, and build hope for the future. 

 

 

Advice for anyone supporting those who have lost a baby

 

For family and friends – how to give support after a stillbirth,” from Tommy’s

 

15 Simple Ways To Help Grieving Families Following Stillbirth,” from Still Standing

 

"I have several close friends who have dealt with the devastating loss of a baby through stillbirth, prematurity, and full-term newborn loss. All of them have said that they actually welcomed discussion of the baby and were upset by too much avoidance on the part of family and friends. This was the case regardless of religious belief or lack thereof; whether the baby was named and formally put to rest or not. Needing acknowledgement of the existence of the life and loss was universal. Talk with them -- more than once, since the grieving evolves -- about what they want in this regard and urge others to do the same."