The agony of losing a child at any age is unparalleled. There is no age or point in time that makes it any easier. No parent ever expects that they will have to deal with the death of their child.
The death of a child goes against the natural order we expect life to follow and the feeling has been compared to a physical amputation. The loss carries with it the loss of the future, the hopes, dreams and potential that can never be fulfilled. The longing for the child and the feeling of emptiness can last a lifetime.
You may suffer feelings of guilt, believing the child was your responsibility, it was your duty to keep him/her safe, that there should have been something you could have done to prevent your child’s death. However irrational, these feelings can be strong and can be replayed over and over again as you try to make sense of what has happened. When a child dies, parents sometimes express guilt that they have survived their child.
if your baby has died before they were born or around the time of birth, when there are so few memories, scan images or photographs are one of the most precious mementos that you can have. Keepsakes such as foot and hand prints, perhaps a lock of hair or a written description of what your baby looked like can capture a memory of your baby’s life, however short, and can give you a focus for your grief.
You might like to make something in memory of your child, or if you don’t feel you can do this, you might like to buy something or ask someone to make something for you.
“This was very, very serious, our lives had suddenly changed forever. Everything we thought we knew, everything we had learnt to that moment was no longer valid and everything needed to be reassessed” – Bob, bereaved father after the death of his son