Resources for parents of stillborn babies

Hand in hand by John Krzesinski via Flickr.

Hand in hand by John Krzesinski via Flickr.

There’s a lot of information out there for stillbirth and miscarriage but it’s been hard to pick through them to find resources that are actually useful, rather than lists of statistics and syrupy platitudes. Here are some resources that have helped me.

Even though a lot of these materials seem obvious, it still helps to reinforce the ideas of how to take care of yourself mentally and physically during grief.

Connect

Helplines

Just talking to someone about what happened can really help, more than you’d expect.

  • Grief Counselors (free, 24/7 on the phone at 800-221-7437) from First Candle. You have to call, then leave your number, and a counselor will call you back.
  • If you’re a US federal employee, your agency may be enrolled in WorkLife4You which has free 24/7 counselors, offers up to 8 free sessions of in-person counseling for the employee and family members, and has resources on grief.

Groups

Facebook

Information

Tips

  • Don’t even bother wearing mascara.
  • Stop most (if not all) baby coupons and other emails by creating a filter for the word unsubscribe that goes right to  a folder. You can go in and unsubscribe later, when you feel ready. Thanks to a good friend for this idea.
  • Some stores allow you to delete the registry online. Thank you to these stores!
    • Kohl’s: log in and click the trash can.
    • Target: log in, click on edit, then delete registry.
    • Etsy: log in, click on edit, the delete registry.
  • Unfortunately, some stores make it difficult to delete a registry (the jerks). Here are the numbers to call, make sure you have the registry number so they can look it up faster.
    • Babies R Us 888-222-9787
    • Buy Buy Baby 877-328-9222
    • JC Penny 800-527-4438

General information

  • Stillbirth FAQs from First Candle. This organization mostly focuses on SIDS but has stillbirth resources too.
  • See Me, Feel Me stillbirth prevention from the Star Legacy Foundation.

Mental health

Physical health

  • Pain after Childbirth: What Is Normal and What Isn’t? Concise summary of what to expect. It seems pretty complete, but it doesn’t mention too much about endometritis, which is inflammation of the uterine lining. There were a lot of hands and instruments down there, especially if you had to be induced vaginally, so infection is fairly common. Be sure to ask your doctor for antibiotics if the cramping pain is bad.
  • Lactation prevention from Share (this has information different from what my doctor told me, which was to wear a tight bra and use ice packs – thankfully, this worked).

Memorial planning

Blogs and newsletters

Books

Video/audio

  • Born in Silence. Beautiful video that helps you remember that you are not alone, and that you have a right to tell your story.
  • I Hate This, by David Hansen. Takes you from the moment his son was born and through the year that follows … but not in that order. An honest, horrible, and even humorous trip through one father’s experience with stillbirth.
  • Picture of a Lifetime: “A visual ethnography of postmortem photography for families of stillbirth”. A project created by a doctoral student. Video includes images of stillborn babies. Beautiful but heartbreaking. I wish we had taken more photos.
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