How to Cope With Grief & Death During Pregnancy

Mid adult woman with hand on forehead,crying,close-up
Grieving while pregnant can be a difficult task. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Pregnancy should be a joyous period of life. When something tragic happens during your pregnancy, however, it is often difficult to remember the happiness you previously felt. Facing grief and death is hard for everyone. Combined with the heightened emotions of pregnancy, it can sometimes feel unbearable. Maintaining your health and sanity is important for both you and your baby though, and there are some steps you can follow in order to cope during this difficult time.

Step 1

Recognize the stages of grief and accept where you are in the process. Understand that you may alternate between the stages of denial, bargaining, depression, anger, and acceptance. Realize that the stages of grief are not linear, and you may move forwards and backwards as you heal.

Step 2

Grant yourself permission to mourn. Allow periods throughout the day where you cry and reflect upon the person you are saying goodbye to. Take time alone if that is what you feel you need, and don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t capable of doing everything you normally would.

Step 3

Take care of yourself. Remember that you have another life relying on you, and eat and sleep when necessary. Focus on a healthy diet as a way to honor your body and baby, even as you are grieving the loss of someone you love. Avoid pushing too hard when what you need now is rest and relaxation.

Step 4

Lean on friends and family to help get you through. Ask for assistance when you need it, and accept it when offered. Make a list of things people can do to help. Step back from household duties if possible, at least for a short period of time. Focus your attention on remaining healthy for both you and your baby. Accept that you cannot do it all.

Step 5

Seek out happiness. Wait for some time to pass, and then go out in search of laughter. Take a walk through the park, or go miniature golfing with your kids. Ask your husband to take you on a date. Engage in activities you enjoy to take your mind off of your loss.

Step 6

Turn to a professional if you feel as though you aren’t dealing with this in a healthy way. Educate yourself on the signs of depression and monitor symptoms that may indicate this is a lingering problem. Talk to someone immediately if you begin to have thoughts of harming yourself or anyone else.

Warning

Stay in touch with your doctor to ensure this new stress does not have a negative effect on your pregnancy.

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