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Email: contact@bearsofhope.org.au

Grief Support: 1300 11 HOPE
Email: support@bearsofhope.org.au

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The Days Ahead

Getting through today, let alone facing tomorrow, may seem impossible for you at the moment. You may feel as though this heartache is never going to ease. We know there is nothing we can do or say to lift your heart but we hope we can give you some insight into what to expect as you travel this devastating journey. It can be a matter of placing one foot in front of the other, moment by moment, day by day. During the time ahead your strength is going to be challenged, and this is part of your healing process. Be gentle on yourself and know you have support through us if needed.
Some of the experiences to expect as you face each day:

Paperwork Formalities

If your baby is born after 20weeks gestation, you will be given paperwork to register the birth and death of your baby. After payment, you will receive a birth certificate for your baby. You also have the opportunity to purchase a commemorative birth certificate.
Bears Of Hope have a Recognition Of Life Certificate you can purchase if your baby was born before 20 weeks gestation. Please contact us for further information.

Funeral Arrangements

In NSW after 20 weeks gestation, it is a legal requirement to hold a funeral for your baby. There are many decisions involved in this process. You will need to contact a Funeral Director who will help you through this process. Please read our Arranging a Funeral section which may also help you with this special way of saying goodbye. For babies born before 20 weeks gestation, you can still hold a funeral or special service. You will need to let the hospital know of this.

Baby Bonus

You will receive a Baby Bonus from the Government for the birth of your baby or for each baby born after 20 weeks gestation, once you have sent in the Birth & Death Certificate forms.

Telling friends and family

There may be friends and family who have not yet heard of your devastation, and speaking these words may be very difficult. You may choose to email, or ask someone else to call on your behalf if you are not up to it. You may also have people question you about your baby; how is the pregnancy going? How far are you? When did you have your baby? All the while not realizing you have lost your baby. These will be very difficult moments you may want to try and mentally prepare yourself for. You may wish to print off our Information For Family and Friends article or email this link to them.

Seeing & Hearing other Babies

You may not be able to face the general public yet, or have no choice but to through work, but there may be a time where you’re confronted with a baby, invited to a baby shower, or hear babies crying. This can be very distressing, depending on where you are at emotionally. Do what you feel is right for you. There is no need to be in a situation if it is just way too much to cope with. If you feel you will try, and then it becomes too much, leave the situation. There is no need to try and be strong when that is not how you’re feeling.

How Many Babies/Children Do You Have?

You may be asked one day how many children do you have, or how many have you had? This may be something you have already experienced and you weren’t sure how to answer at the time. Or you did, and feel guilty for not being completely truthful or felt it wasn’t respectful to your baby. Say what feels right for you at the time. If you are not up to saying 3 when you have only 2 by your side and one angel, and not wanting to explain, it’s ok to just say 2. Other times you may be confident enough to say 3 but one is in heaven for example. Our emotions and our strength are forever changing. We can only do the best at that time.

If Only’s, What If’s and Should Have Beens

You may constantly go over the details leading up to when your baby passed away, searching for answers as to why this happened. You may feel guilty for not seeing your baby, or for not spending as much time holding your baby before you left the hospital. Beating up on yourself is of course a normal reaction. It’s hard not to blame ourselves at times; as it’s our natural instinct to protect our children and also to know if we did all we could. What if I had rested more? If only I had gone to the hospital when movements decreased. If only I took more photos instead of the one. What if I had done this? What if I had done that? We know that blaming ourselves is not going to change the situation, but we understand it’s hard not to at times. Just try and keep it in perspective that you did the best you could at that time.

As time moves on, all the “should have beens” arise as we face important or special times of the year. “I should be going on maternity leave now”, “I should be having my baby shower”, “I should be feeding my baby, changing dirty nappies and doing loads of washing”. Years pass and you still may have these moments. Our loss stays with us forever, we just have to manage how to live with it.

Triggers

Just when you are having a good day, or further down the track when you’re generally going ok, there will be something that triggers you back to the heartbreak of losing your baby. It may be a song playing over the speakers in a shop, a twin pram, a baby crying, a certain scent, something that someone says, or a place you perhaps visited whilst pregnant. These triggers may expose your pain again when you least expect it, and test your strength over and over. As time moves forward, they will become further between as you resolve your pain, but they never seem to completely disappear.

Going back to Work

The decision of when to go back to work is entirely individual. It’s going to be difficult and perhaps strange to be in a “normal” environment, when you’re probably feeling far from it. There may be pressure from work to return earlier than you’re capable, and we hope this isn’t the case. You may also put pressure on yourself, thinking you will handle it, or that you need to do this. It is totally up to you when you’re ready to go back. Certainly a big step to face and not one you have to rush. Allow yourself some time to grieve privately. It may be advantageous to let your manager or even colleagues know of your circumstances, to better facilitate your return. Perhaps others had no idea you were even pregnant, and you wish to keep your loss to yourself. What is important is doing what is right for you.

Insensitive Remarks

We hope that you do not experience hurtful comments that can be said surrounding the loss of your baby, particularly concerning miscarriages. Some people may not understand the significance the loss of your baby has on you, and may say off the cuff comments that weren’t meant to hurt, but certainly come across that way. You may plan in your mind some comments that may be said, so that you are verbally ready and able to respond with your answer, or you may choose to not surround yourself with those who are not understanding during this time.

Physical Changes

Your body is going to experience physical changes, depending on how long your pregnancy was. Everybody is different but some of the changes that may occur are passing blood clots for a couple of weeks afterwards, hair falling out, breast engorgement, hair & skin changes, hormonal changes, change in taste buds, lack of sleep, lack of appetite, lethargy.

Mental Changes

Lack of concentration, finding it hard to make decisions, memory loss.

Emotional Changes

There may be days, weeks and probably months, where you are going to feel as though you are trapped in a deep black hole and there is no escaping the relentless pain. Slowly, a day may pass where you have found yourself to have managed okay, and then the next you’re thrown back into heavy grieving again. This rollercoaster of emotional responses is to be expected and may happen often. In your own time, you will have easier moments, better days and in hindsight, you will find that you are learning ways to cope with this new normal.

One day you may just start crying out of the blue. You may be having a good time at an event for example, and all of sudden these powerful emotions overcome you and you are left in a heap. This may frighten you as it comes so unexpected and is almost uncontrollable. Allow yourself to weather this as you will find this is part of your healing.

You will find a sense of life again, but this is definitely not something that happens quickly or even easily; we know and understand this. You need not rush yourself because of what others may expect of you, or what you expect of yourself. Your pain is real even if others cannot see this.

Depression & Anxiety

Depression and anxiety can occur after the loss of your baby. Something that may develop over time and creep up on you. When your feelings of loneliness and sadness become deeper and last longer, along with lack of sleep, motivation and appetite occurring more than not, you may need to see a doctor. It cannot hurt to have a check of your overall well-being to guage your physical, emotional and mental capacity after this tragedy. If you are feeling ill thoughts or having anxiety attacks, you need to see a doctor to help you get back on your feet.

Feeling Alone

During your mourning, you may experience times of loneliness. This can happen with or without support around you. It feels as though you're the only one who has ever experienced this tragedy, and nobody completely understands what you're feeling.

Loneliness may set in when you notice that friends and family have started to get on with their lives, have stopped contacting you, or do not approach the topic of your loss. It may also occur when you and your partner grieve so differently.

Loneliness can set in when you don't have any real support at all. Please know there are a range of Bears Of Hope services, and that we can put you in touch with other support services. You do not need to grieve alone.

Friendships

Unfortunately, some friendships are tested during times of tragedy. When we expect certain friends or family members to be there for us, and they aren't, it can be quite hurtful. In many cases, they can be unsure of what to say or even do so don't do anything at all. Friendships can be tested when a pregnancy is announced by a friend during your time of mourning. We hope that your friends are considerate and understanding of all that you are going through, and let you know they are still there.

Special Dates

The first year is generally the most raw and hardest as there are many firsts you will experience without your baby. Although so heartbreaking, by planning your day it can be made into a memorable one. Please read Special Dates for more information and ideas.

A Subsequent Pregnancy

A time may come when you decide to try for a baby again. With this, many different emotions may surface. It may be difficult to allow yourself to be joyful, you may be full of reservation and anxiety, you may pass certain special dates of your angel baby while you're pregnant with this one. We know that your baby is never far from your mind. We also know that having another baby will never replace the one you had to say goodbye to. Bears Of Hope offer an Online forum for Pregnancy After Loss Support. Please know we are always here to support you.

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