The one thing no parent ever plans for is becoming a bereaved one. As a bereaved parent, you’re suffering not just the loss of your baby, but also shattered hopes, dreams and expectations of becoming a parent. It’s not uncommon to have questions about the journey ahead in preparation for living as a bereaved parent. In this blog post, I’m sharing with you the top 5 questions asked by bereaved parents.
Top 5 Questions Bereaved Parents Ask
1. “How do I respond when people ask me how many children I have?”
This is a common question that’s innocently asked all the time. I recommend you go with what feels right for you in the moment. You may find that there are times when you want to engage in a full conversation that might involve sharing details about your loss. Other times, you might feel differently and that’s okay too. Each situation may call for a different response from you.
So the short answer is, it depends. It depends on who you’re talking to and where you are. If you’re in the grocery store checkout line and you’re asked this question, you are under no obligation to share any part of your story that you’re not comfortable with. There is no right or wrong answer.
Remember these 3 things:
- You are not betraying your child or being a bad mother if you decide not to share about the loss of your baby.
- Take a deep breath and release the guilt.
- Regardless of how you decide to answer this question, you’re still a good mother and you still love your baby. That never changes.
2. “When is it okay to start trying to conceive again?”
Here’s another question where the answer depends. Depending on the type of pregnancy loss you experienced, you may need to wait for a long time. For example, with a molar pregnancy, doctors typically recommend waiting for 12 months before conceiving again. The recommended waiting period can be 3 months for other types of miscarriages. Be sure to check with your doctor as they can recommend what’s best based on your unique circumstances.
Beyond physical healing, your emotional readiness is also important. You may be ready physically and find that emotionally you don’t quite feel up to the task. That’s okay too. Your heart also needs time to heal. There’s no recipe for knowing when the right time is to start trying again. There’s no real way to be sure. It’s one of those things where you have to feel the fear (and there will be some fear) and do it anyway.
3. “When should I go back to work?”
I wish these questions all had simple and straightforward answers. It would make healing so much easier for everyone that’s experienced pregnancy loss. The answer to this also depends. Your body needs to heal because it’s just experienced something traumatic. The healing process cannot be sped up. It takes as long as it takes.
Consider these 3 things when making the decision to return to work:
- How soon you feel able to return
- How soon you want to return
- How soon you need to return
There’s no easy and fast rule to follow that tells you how much time to take off from work. However, I do recommend having a transition plan for going back to work. From my experience working with moms, I’ve seen far too many return to work without a plan which can cause an unintended re-traumatizing effect.
Ask yourself these questions before you decide to return to work.
- Which of my colleagues do I want to share details with about my loss?
- Who is my support system at work?
- What do I need my boss to know or understand about my needs/situation?
- Do I need a modified work schedule to help with my transition?
- If my co-workers knew I was pregnant, what do they need to know that would be helpful for me (i.e. talk about the loss or not talk about the loss at work. etc.)
These are just a few things to consider and have some plans for.
4. “Am I still considered a mom even though my baby isn’t here anymore?”
Your baby may no longer be here but your relationship with your child doesn’t have to end. You are still a mother and a parent. You may not be able to hold your baby in your arms but you will certainly carry that child in your heart forever. Motherhood isn’t defined by the number of children you carry in your arms.
5. “Will I ever feel better?”
The healing journey is a deeply personal one and it cannot be rushed. You cannot get over your loss. You must walk through it, one step at a time. Please know that you don’t have to walk through it alone. There’s a community of women who’ve been on the same journey, who understand and can support you. Grieving is hard work and requires you to be patient and have self-compassion. With support, you can feel better and have a renewed sense of hope and purpose.
If you’re needing help with navigating how to get helpful support from your loved ones, you can access my free guide for family and friends on giving compassionate and gentle support here.
I can help you on your journey to hope and healing after the loss of your baby. You’ll learn how to navigate life after loss when you work with me. If you’re ready to do this work, please reach out here to set up an appointment today.