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Stillborn baby, Miscarriage and Ectopic - Time to Grieve

Updated on March 13, 2012

What you feel after having a stillborn, miscarriage or ectopic baby die baby is normal

You've delivered a stillborn baby or had a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy. You've taken the long ride home from the hospital and left your baby behind. The birth was traumatic and your dream has come to an end. The baby you dreamed of has died and your heart is broken.

Nothing is the same. Your heart beats in your ears and the world around you is non-existent. You are numb, then everything makes you cry. Everything reminds you of your baby.

You ask yourself, "How can I go on?" , "Am I going crazy?" , "How can I miss someone I didn't even know?" "Am I a mother?" "What is wrong with me?"

You are normal!

Even if you don't cry, you are normal. If you cry all the time at first, you are normal. Missing your baby is normal. Nothing is wrong with you.

You are a mother! You knew your baby. From the moment you found out you were pregnant you started dreaming. You undoubtedly had a picture in your head of the first time you would hold your baby. Your body changed and you already paid the price for being a mother with morning sickness, tender breasts, food cravings and more. You feared for your child's safety and you hurt because they are gone. You love your baby even now. You are a mother with empty arms.

Even if you didn't experience any symptoms or didn't know you were pregnant you may still grieve. You may have dreamed your entire life of having a baby, or possibly never considered parenthood until you lost your baby. Either way, a life has come to an end and it's normal to be sad and to grieve.

Stillborn baby footprints

One of the few things I have from my stillborn baby. Footprints, hand prints that are not very good and a bracelet on the blanket he was wrapped in at the hospital. I feel lucky to have these. With my ectopic and miscarriages I had nothing.
One of the few things I have from my stillborn baby. Footprints, hand prints that are not very good and a bracelet on the blanket he was wrapped in at the hospital. I feel lucky to have these. With my ectopic and miscarriages I had nothing.

How much time will you grieve after having a stillborn, miscarriage or ectopic

I wish I could tell you there was a maximum amount of time you will grieve. The fact is there is no appropriate time limit for grief. Some people grieve for a few days, while others grieve for years. Some grieve and seemingly move on and return to the grief later.

There are no rules for what is an appropriate amount of time to grieve. It is highly dependent on how attached you were to the idea of having a baby to begin with. The circumstances surrounding your baby dying will also affect the amount of time you grieve. Whether or not you can have another child will also change the length of time you grieve. I'm not saying another child will stop the grief. I am saying if you are not able to have another child it may extend the amount of time you will grieve as this may have been your last hope to raise a child.

The most important thing is you allow yourself time to grieve. Sending it to the back of your mind will only allow it to rear it's ugly head later when you aren't likely to expect it. It's best to allow yourself to go through the stages of grief naturally.

Signs you need help after a stillborn, miscarriage or ectopic

While there is no right way to grieve, some signs indicate you need help coping with losing your baby.

If you experience any of these signs, you should consider talking to a professional.

  • You can't stop constantly crying after a few days.
  • You cannot eat or sleep for more than a couple of days.
  • You sleep all the time.
  • You stop taking care of yourself. (bathing, brushing your teeth, hair, basic hygiene)
  • You feel worthless and the feeling won't go away or feel unusually depressed.
  • You refuse to go out in public for fear of seeing a pregnant woman or baby for an extended period of time.
  • You cannot find a way to return to your normal daily life after a couple of weeks even though you're still grieving.
  • You find yourself destroying your relationships because you are angry about losing your baby.
  • You find yourself turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with the grief.
  • You have no interest in intimacy after a few weeks and it affects you or your relationship.
  • You feel the need to talk to a professional.

If you experience these feelings you should seek help immediately from a professional.

  • You feel suicidal and/or have thoughts or plans to end your life.
  • You feel the people in your life are better off without you.
  • You think of taking someone else's baby.

Do you feel alone after a losing a baby. Everyone seems to have forgotten.

After a baby dies, people may not know what to say. They may be afraid to talk about the baby or the pregnancy because they think they're saving you the pain of remembering. Sometimes they hurt too badly to talk about it themselves.

If you want to talk about your baby, you may feel you are bothersome to them. Chances are, you are not bothering anyone by talking about your baby. It's true, people don't know what to say and their kind-meaning words are frequently the wrong words, but you need to find someone to listen. Keeping the pain all to yourself is difficult and there is nothing wrong with needing to talk to someone.

Death isn't a comfortable subject for anyone. Simply asking someone you trust if they can handle you talking about your baby can open the door for you. If you find you can't talk about anything else for a long period of time, you may consider talking to a professional, but from time to time we all find a need to talk to a friend or family member about someone who has died.

The father may grieve differently. He may seem like he doesn't even care.

Your spouse or baby's father may even seem to forget the baby. He may seem emotionless and cold when you talk about the baby. He may even seem to lose interest intimately. Frequently men feel the need to take on the role of being strong. They do it because they think you need them to be level-headed. They feel that if they cry then they're not helping you get through it and they will be seen as weak.

Things you can do to help him and you.

  • Remember grief is different for each person. Don't expect him to feel exactly like you feel.
  • Let him know he can cry and/or talk about the baby too.
  • Tell him he doesn't have to hide his emotions and talking about them could help you feel less alone in your grief.
  • Tell him you are ready to be intimate. He may feel you are not ready for intimacy. The idea of getting you pregnant again may be overwhelming for him right now. Subtle hints may not be enough right now, you may have to tell him directly.

He is in a difficult position. He hasn't even gotten the opportunity to carry his child. The only physical attachment to the baby is what he had through touching your belly. He may feel cheated or lesser a man. He may be depressed or detached. If he shows signs of depression or feeling worthless he may need to see a professional as well.

How to Move on After Losing a Baby

  1. Take walks with a friend.
  2. Exercise a few days a week as permitted by your doctor.
  3. Write. Poetry, stories, letters. Write about the baby if you want or anything else you feel.
  4. Get out of the house with friends. At first it will be difficult but it will get easier.
  5. Start a new hobby. Painting, drawing, crafts, etc.
  6. Join a support group.
  7. Join a forum online with others who have suffered the loss of a child.
  8. If you don't work, consider a part-time job.
  9. If possible take a short vacation with your partner.
  10. Set a schedule for your daily activities and stick to the schedule for awhile.

Regardless of what method you choose to move through your grief, it is important you allow yourself to grieve.

As a mother of a stillborn baby, miscarriages and ectopic pregnancy, I have battled grief for many years. I have finally moved through my grief and have been able to tell my story. I still cry from time to time, but my child's death no longer consumes me.

Please know, you are not alone!


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    • amazmerizing profile image


      6 years ago from PACIFIC NORTHWEST, USA

      Very well done. This is a difficult topic for everyone.

    • Tams R profile imageAUTHOR

      Tams R 

      8 years ago from Missouri

      Thankyou, I'm sorry you too must endure this pain. We will always be mothers. Hugs! Here's to never being alone.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I really appreciate the words you have written. They mean so much when a heart is so broken. Though my method of grieving is different, just like every pregnancy is, knowing that I'm not the only one that has gone through this helps to a degree, knowing that someone else has made it through makes it easier. My child wasn't even far enough along to know the gender but I was very attached to the idea and the loss is very painful. This has given me comfort and I can not express in enough words how much I appreciate it.

    • Tams R profile imageAUTHOR

      Tams R 

      9 years ago from Missouri

      Raising humans and The Finance Hub, thank you for commenting. I truly hope to help people through my experience. Then it won't be all for nothing. Thank you for commenting.

    • raising humans profile image

      raising humans 

      9 years ago from North Carolina

      Very well written and moving description of something so sad and terrible that you had to live through. I am sure this will be helpful to others in a similar situation.

    • Tams R profile imageAUTHOR

      Tams R 

      9 years ago from Missouri

      Thank you Susan! I certainly hope to help people through their struggle. It is one way I see the internet working positively.

      Thanks for commenting!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Moving description of a very difficult life event. I really like the way you divided the article in sections and you were very thorough in your discussion of this issue. I KNOW that your very sensitive treatment of this will be helpful to someone who has just suffered through this tragedy. Well done!


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