“It was very dark to begin with and I felt like I was in a black hole and would never get out. Slowly, the fog lifted as time went on. With support I realised I could still live and enjoy life with my baby in my heart.”
They often feel isolated as friends and family may not know how to support them. Some parents will turn to Health visitors, GPs, counsellors and community midwives that for support and guidance. All parents will meet health professionals in the community when they are emotionally vulnerable, whether it be for routine postnatal appointments or other non-pregnancy reasons years later. Appropriate language and sensitive communication is vital when working bereaved parents as they learn live without their baby.
Bereaved parents are more likely develop mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). As many as 60% don’t receive the help they need, often because health professionals in the community don’t understand the impact of baby loss. Limited knowledge leads to parents being referred to inappropriate services, which has the potential to cause more psychological harm. Understanding how baby loss affects mental health and knowledge of relevant referral pathways is key to ensuring those parents who need it, have access to vital mental health services.
“I suffered from PTSD as a result of my daughter’s birth. It took me four years to get a diagnosis as everyone said I was grieving and needed counselling. No one fully addressed or listened to how severe my symptoms were.”