Losing a baby at 20-24 weeks of pregnancy

​Talking to children after losing a baby

Some parents already had children before their loss. Many had involved their children in the new pregnancy and talked about how excited their children were at being a big brother or sister.
So while grieving the loss of their baby, parents had to “put on a front” for their older children. But they did find that the focus and routine of caring for their children helped their grieving process. For Helen, her son was “a joy and he pulled us through the dark days”. Mothers who had spent a long time in hospital worried about their child at home. Lindsay remembered her son often asking, “Will you be here when I wake up?” as she had suddenly been admitted to hospital for several days.
Telling children their baby brother or sister had died was extremely difficult. Deciding when was the right time was a very individual choice and depended on the age of the child. Some parents told their children when they got home from hospital. Maxine and Steve found out that their baby would not survive just before Christmas, but it was several days until Maxine gave birth, and they decided to pretend everything was normal for their daughter until Christmas was over. Some felt they wanted to make their child aware throughout life about their sibling, while others felt their child wasn’t old enough at the time to understand the death. Helen told her son several years later when discussing why he didn’t have any brothers or sisters. Parents who had children from a subsequent pregnancy also talked about the difficulty of telling these children about their earlier loss. Some wanted their children to be aware of their brother or sister from a very early age while others left it until later when they thought they could better cope with understanding it. Alison was keen that her daughter knew that “she's not our first child, that we were pregnant before” but was unsure when would be the right time.
For Sarah, information from the hospital and Sands was really helpful and helped her and her husband counsel their children. Helen could only find general advice on talking about bereavement and nothing specific to help discuss the loss of a sibling at birth. 

Parents said that their children reacted in different ways when they were told about the loss. Maxine and Steve described how their daughter would talk about the baby “for say two minutes and then the next minute, it's the next subject, do you know what I mean?... Their grief is very different to ours.”


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