Losing a baby at birth

Sep 28, 2007 at 9:29 p.m. ET

Ann Douglas, author of The Mother of All Baby Books: The Ultimate Guide to Your Baby's First Year is here at GeoParent! Read Ann's advice on everything related to having a baby. Have a question for Ann? Ask her here!

The question:
My baby was stillborn five months ago. I'm feeling really alone because no one will talk to me about my baby's death anymore -- not even my husband -- and yet it's all I can think about. Sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy.

Ann answers:

What you are experiencing is a very common and frustrating problem: having people assume that you are no longer in need of their support when, in fact, you need their support more than ever. The best way to handle the situation is to let people know what would be helpful to you. Be as specific as possible so that there aren't any misunderstandings. For example, you might tell a good friend that you need someone to talk to about the hopes and dreams you had for the baby who died, and you might let your husband know that you would like to find a special way to mark the six-month anniversary of your baby's death.

If you're unable to get the support you need from family members and friends -- and, sadly, that's often the case -- then you might want to join a support group for bereaved parents and/or to seek out the services of a therapist who specializes in grief. You might want to encourage your husband to accompany you to the support group or to therapy: fathers often feel tremendously pressure to "hold it together" -- something that can leave them feeling very isolated in their grief.

And as for feeling like you're "going crazy," that, too, is a very normal reaction to grief, at least according to the grief experts and bereaved parents I interviewed for my book Trying Again. The emotions you're experiencing are so powerful that you may feel like you're going a little crazy.

The days ahead may be difficult for you, but I want you to know that it is possible to work through the painful emotions surrounding your baby's death and to find joy in your life again. I wish you all the best.