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Email: contact@bearsofhope.org.au

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Email: support@bearsofhope.org.au

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Pregnant Friends and Other Babies

Many parents we are in touch with have spoken about being confronted with friends and family who are pregnant or have babies in the months after the loss of their own baby. Through our own experiences we wanted to provide some support and suggestions if you are faced with this scenario.

Finding out about or seeing a pregnancy or a baby to a close friend or family member may expose different, and sometimes unexpected or strong emotions. Some may take you by surprise; however they are quite common among bereaved parents.

Feelings you may experience are:

  • Anger
  • Jealousy
  • Sadness
  • Anxiety
  • Resentfulness
  • Bittersweetness
  • Tearfulness
  • Depression
  • Happiness
  • Protectiveness
  • Distress
  • Numbness

These feelings may be felt for a brief time, they may interchange on a daily, weekly basis depending on your emotional strength and how supported you are feeling, or even stay with you till you are pregnant again.

As a result of these feelings, you may find yourself:

  • Avoiding that person
  • Evading other pregnant mothers, newborn babies and prams whilst out shopping.
  • Avoiding scenarios where there may be pregnant women or babies
  • Staring
  • Putting on a brave (poker) face
  • Believing the “right thing to do” is to go to the baby shower or see their newborn baby
  • Feeling guilty for not being “happy” for them
  • Emotionally capable to be around pregnant mothers and babies
  • Avoiding going back to work knowing there are pregnant women there

No matter your reactions or the way you try and cope, do the best you can. It’s your response and an important element of your grieving and healing. Sometimes it’s just impossible not to feel negative emotions toward another when the baby you had hoped and dreamed for is no longer here. This doesn’t make you a bad person, just one whose heart is trying to heal.

Suggestions:

  • Do what feels right for you
  • Do not be pressured into going to a baby shower, seeing a baby, or holding a baby
  • If you are not up to visiting, talk to or email your friend or family member about your feelings. Express that you are just not able to be around pregnancies or babies at the moment and not sure when you will be.
  • You may feel you may never be ready to be around others, so you might test your strength and take this step
  • Take a deep breath and draw on your inner strength if taken by surprise
  • It’s ok to leave a situation if it becomes too much for you
  • Join a support group to help you through this time
  • Have a good friend you can talk to, who you feel supported by during this time
  • Express your emotions, don’t bottle them up

There is no rush for you to “be strong” and definitely no obligation for you to “do what is right for others”. Take your time. As your strength grows and your ability to cope increases there will be a time you will manage being around another pregnant mother or baby again. It’s one small step in front of the other.