For parents of Angel Babies

The loss of your baby at any gestation or age is tragic, unfair, shocking and unbelievably heart-breaking. You will feel a mixture of emotions, from feeling a huge loss of control and anger, to numbness and shock. Not only have you lost your precious angel, with that comes the loss of all your hopes and dreams that you had for your baby. The one thing you do need right now is time. Time to stop and just be. Time to let things sink in, time to heal physically and time to process what has happened. Feeling so out of control is totally normal and understandable.

Everyone’s experience is different and there is never a wrong or a right way to feel. Your mind and your body are dealing with a tragedy and whilst your body heals, your mind struggles to. HUG will help you cope with these terrible times. You are a priority and you are not alone.

What to expect

Feeling isolated, angry, helpless and in shock are understandable reactions to the loss of your baby. You and your partner will feel different things at different times. No two grieving processes are the same and although you may sometimes feel angry towards your partner, you must remember, they are feeling it too and are on their own grieving path.

Dads tend to feel the same numbness, anger and fear that the mums do. They also feel very helpless as they have to watch the mother go through the physical process and this can be extremely distressing. You may feel like you aren’t ready to talk and that is ok, but by sticking together and communicating with your partner or someone you are close to will help you so much through your first weeks and months after the loss of your baby. You can download the Sands Bereavement  Support Pack which has lots of helpful information by clicking here.

Try and make a rule that whenever things are difficult, talk to someone. Prioritise your mental health and seek help. You can call the Miscarriage Association helpline on 01924 200799 Mon-Fri 9am-4pm)or the Sands helpline 02074365881 who are available Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30pm or 6pm-10pm Tuesday and Thursday evenings.

You can always call Samaritans on 116 123 which is available anytime.

Mums,

Your body has been through a rough ride. Make sure you take it easy and give your body time to heal. This process can be distressing as you go home and heal as it is a physical reminder of what you have been through. Click on this link for more information

Always contact your GP if you have concerns or 111 for NHS advice and 999 in a medical emergency.

Chat to other mums who understand how you feel now by signing up to our forum; just click here.

Dads,

We care about you just as much as the mums. We recognise the profound effects that the loss of a baby has on both parents. You will find that a lot of Dads are feeling the same as you do and HUG needs to highlight this. Click on this link for more information.

Chat to other dads now who understand how you feel by signing up to our forum; just click here.

Losing a baby is heart-breaking and has a tremendous effect on your mental health. At HUG, we understand how crucial it is to recognise the effects a loss has on the baby’s parents and family.

Doctors at Imperial College London have said that "a third of the women have post-traumatic stress symptoms", following the loss of their baby. Doctor Jessica Farren stated that "many (women) will suffer from moderate-to-severe anxiety". This is an incredible amount of people who will need support with their mental health following the loss of a baby and who aren't getting it. Click here to read more. These findings bring to light the importance of aftercare following the loss of a baby on the mother, the father and their families. At HUG, we want to change this. Visit this link for more information on depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder following the loss of a baby, or you can visit Footsteps Counselling who also offer counselling services. Make an appointment with your GP to discuss counselling options for you and your partner. This can be extremely helpful for you both, individually or together.

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Ideas of remembrance for the loss of a baby at any gestation
It has always baffled us why all babies do not get recognised by ways of a birth certificate. Following the recent Coronation Street story that addresses the loss of a baby at a later gestation. Kym Marsh is campaigning for this to change and HUG is right behind her! Why are we feeling that our baby didn’t count just because of their gestation? We will keep you updated on this campaign.

HUG knows all too well the importance of the recognition of your baby’s existence. Unfortunately, depending on the hospital and the gestation, you will be offered different services. If it is an earlier loss, you may not be offered the same services as those who are later in the pregnancy. It is important to remember that there are ways that you can remember your little angel baby. Whether with planting a tree, holding a remembrance memorial or having a frame personalised with your scan picture in. If you feel disappointed with the services that you have or have not been provided, there are lots of things that you can do yourself. Click this link for more information.

You may have been asked by the hospital chaplaincy what your wishes are in terms of a funeral. Unfortunately, this service is not available to everyone (yet!) depending on circumstances and gestation but they may offer a book of remembrance for you. It is a very personal and extremely painful process and you need support for this. The most important thing is to talk. Talk to your partner, your friends, your family, and your hospital about what your needs are. Some people find it helpful to plan a funeral, some people don’t. It is personal choice and you do not have to do anything that you can't face.

Our hospital chaplain, Edith, was amazing with us when we lost our daughter 5 months into our pregnancy and I distinctly remember a piece of advice that she offered to myself and my husband that still features daily in our lives today. She told us to light a candle if ever we felt low, to silently show how we were feeling. This gave us the chance to say that we were struggling that particular day without having to bring it up. Of course, when we see that the other has lit the candle, we do end up talking about it and this really helps us.

We bought trees and planted them in our garden in memory of our babies, and we also bought a bench with their names on.

You may wish to have family and friends present at your baby’s funeral or memorial. Equally, you may wish to go alone. The decision is yours and whatever you choose is your right. Click on this link for more information.

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How to tell your children

If you have children at home and they know about your pregnancy, they will be as upset at the news of your family’s loss. Especially with younger children who don’t quite understand, it is very difficult to explain what has happened but they will still feel sad and disappointed and possibly angry too. Your children will have questions, regardless of how old they are.

There are some helpful books you can get that explain what has happened to children. ‘We were going to have a baby but we had an angel instead’ by Pat Schweibert, ‘Ethan’s butterflies’ by Christine Jonas-Simpson and ‘Something Happened’ by Cathy Blanford are some of the recommended books by parents.

You may not wish to tell anyone who didn’t already know and that is absolutely your decision.

I have great pride in my daughter who knew that mummy had ‘a baby in her tummy’ and she was very upset and angry that she didn’t get her sisters that she desperately wanted and waited for. Children pick up on everything and because I had a significant bump, of course she knew I was pregnant. She talks about her sisters a lot. She feels included with her friends who have siblings by including her sisters and I find great comfort in that.

I remember her first day at school when someone asked her if she had any brothers or sisters of which her answer was of course ‘yes’. When she then asked whether they went to that school too, my daughters reply was ‘of course not they are in heaven.’ The lady looked in complete shock and I felt uncomfortable for her as she clearly did not know what to say. I explained that my daughter is very proud of her angel sisters and they are very much a part of our family and its very normal for us to be open about them. Interestingly, she then went on to talk about a family member that had suffered a miscarriage and still struggles to cope to this day. I felt very proud of my little girl that day for being proud of her sisters. Being this way is not for everyone, but it has certainly helped my family cope.

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Relationship advice

It's no secret that unfortunately, tragedy puts a huge amount of pressure on a relationship. Especially when you will feel differently at different times. Your relationship needs more attention than normal during this time so make each other a priority.

There is some really helpful advice for the difficult times ahead that will help bring you closer to people rather than becoming more isolated. From when it is safe to have sex again to when you feel ready to try again, take a look at this link for more information.

Dealing with an unbelievable stressful and upsetting time can make you feel like your relationship is falling apart. Considering what you have both been through, it is completely understandable and there are places to go for help.

Relate is a great place to go when struggling to cope within a relationship.

Can't find what you are looking for? Email Amy now!

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me

An angel opened up the book of life and wrote down my baby's birth..

Then he whispered as he closed the book...

"She's too beautiful for earth."