Children And Miscarriage Or Stillbirth
The Loss Affects The Entire Family
The loss of a baby through miscarriage or stillbirth is devastating for parents, and if there are other children in the family, there is an added dimension to the grieving process. Sometimes, if the miscarriage was in the very early stages of pregnancy and the child/ren didn't know about a new baby coming, parents may want to sidestep the issue and not say anything at all. What should be remembered is that children are very sensitive and pick up on the emotions of their parents without a word being spoken. While communication opens doors, the final decision is in the hands of the parents as to what they say or whether they say anything at all.
Explaining Miscarriage Or Stillbirth To Young Children
If the child or children are young and were told about the pregnancy before the loss, it is important that they be told that something happened. If they understand that you are sad they may believe they have done something to hurt you, so they should be assured that it is not their fault. By telling the child/ren that you are sad because the baby is missing and not because they did anything, they are reassured of your love for them. Be prepared to answer simply and honestly any questions they may have.
Remember that children don't need lengthy explanations. Use uncomplicated analogies where appropriate to help them grasp what has happened without frightening or confusing them. The idea of plants and flowers, which has been used for ages, is always a great way to explain things. You could use that concept and tell your child/ren that pregnancy is like planting seeds in a garden, some things grow and some don't. The seed growing in their Mommy's tummy wasn't growing well and had to go. Often that's enough.
Teens & Preteens Will Grieve Their Loss As Well
If the children are either teens or preteens, straight talking is the best policy. Tell them what happened in language and terminology they will understand and also, as with the younger child/ren, be ready to answer questions and give explanations if asked. Let them know you are fine and that the situation does not mean you have a serious illness or that something is wrong with you. Sometimes these things happen, and the situation may prove an opportune teaching moment to help them understand why miscarriages and stillbirths happen.
Create A Memorial To Honor Your Family Member
The older child/ren may grieve the loss of their sibling with you as you grieve. They are old enough to understand that the loss affects the family-a little brother or sister is missing. Regardless the age of the child/ren, by doing something together as a family to honor and say farewell to the baby is a good way to bring closure and comfort to everyone.