For Parents

Dear Parents,

We are so sorry that your precious baby died. As parents, we do not expect to outlive our children. The death of a child robs us of a lifetime of enjoying a unique and irreplaceable piece of ourselves.

We are the parents and volunteers of HAND, Helping After Neonatal Death. We are a support group offering a variety of free services for parents who have lost a child, or children, through miscarriage, stillbirth, genetic abortion or infant death.

No two people experience such a loss in the same way. Our losses and circumstances differ. The intensity of our emotions and the time we need to heal differs. And yet, we have much in common. We combine elements of the grief process in our own unique patterns…

…The disbelief and shock. The denial.

…The anger and frustration that can be uncharacteristic and frightening.

…The yearning and longing that can make your arms ache. Bargaining for what can never be.

…The depression and disorganization. Times of utter despair when we question our sanity and simple tasks seem impossible.

…The acceptance. Each at our own pace, we find a balance between ‘holding on’ and ‘letting go’ and find some sense of order in our lives again.

The mourning process can be long and lonely. After the death of a baby, it generally takes twelve to twenty-four months simply to find your new base. The worst times often occur four to seven months after your loss, when many people expect you to be well into ‘getting over’ it

Some of us have other, living children. We try to cope with our child’s experience of loss, and daily needs, even as we struggle to understand our own grief and get through the day. We are often reminded of how lucky we are to have our other children. (Do we need to be told?!) But the child who died was, like them, wanted and unique.

Even partners of many years can find it hard to understand or support each other. Fathers and mothers mourn so differently. The bereaved parent faces new challenges in every area of life.

…We will never be the same again. We will never forget, or want to. But we will be happy and feel normal again, in a different way.

Understanding Grief
Helping Siblings
Creating Memories
Getting Through the Holidays
Reaction of Family & Friends
Poetry & Stories
Stop Baby Related Mail
HAND Services in Northern California
The Quilt Project