It might be challenging to discuss a miscarriage with children. Whether or not you need to say to your children about the pregnancy will depend on their age and whether or not you have already told them.
Pregnancy Loss and Talking to Children
Even as a parent, you may struggle to find the right words. Keep the following points in mind when discussing a miscarriage or stillbirth with your children.
More Experienced Kids
Do not hide the truth about what transpired from your adolescent children (or preteens). Inform them that you are fine and that a miscarriage or stillbirth does not indicate that you have a medical problem.
Make sure they understand the causes of miscarriage and stillbirth and that there was nothing they could have done to avert the loss.
Your older children may also be affected by the loss of a kid. Because the baby you lost was your older child’s sibling, they may be mourning as well.
Allow your older children, if you’re aware that they may also be grieving, so that they can help you through this difficult time. A miscarriage can bring your family together in various instances. Older children can also use it to work on their empathy skills. After a miscarriage or stillbirth, there may be a “silver lining” in the form of these opportunities to connect and grow.
A younger age group:
It is necessary to explain the reason for the loss if you tell your younger children about the pregnancy. Be sure to choose words and concepts that your audience can simply identify and comprehend.
For example, words like “miscarriage” may be difficult for young children to comprehend. Definitions and explanations in simpler terms may be necessary.
A miscarriage may not be disclosed if your children are too young to understand the pregnancy concept or if they were not informed of the pregnancy.
Children are around adults, their behavior may change due to what they see and hear. If your tiny children become more clingy or disturbed than usual, try to be kind and patient with them. Your children may be able to see that you are depressed, even though you don’t know why. In this scenario, you may need to present a rationale.
Helping Children Make Sense of the World
Helping your children absorb the information you’ve shared with them can be accomplished in numerous ways. To help you get started, here are a few suggestions.
Don’t Blame Them for Your Problems
Remember that if you’re feeling down, it’s not your children’s fault; therefore, make it clear to them (regardless of the explanation you choose). Tell them you’re upset because you’re missing the baby, and nothing they did has anything to do with your sadness (or did not do).
Be there for your children, reassuring them that you care about them and addressing any concerns they may have about what happened.
According to the Miscarriage Association of the United Kingdom, only a few seeds grow into complete plants. Parents can use this analogy to explain pregnancy to their children. Little ones don’t require a lot of explanation. In this case, you may decide to explain that the baby was unable to remain in Mom’s womb because it was not growing correctly or because it was no longer safe to do so.
Promote Interaction Amongst Members of the Family
Do something together as a family to say goodbye to the baby, no matter how old your children are. For example, even a tree can be planted in honor of a deceased child. Religious people may seek to use traditions that are relevant to their beliefs.
The “sitting still” component of grieving for children (especially younger children) can be tough. One method to involve your children in remembering your infant is to create a memorial garden. They should participate in the activity to assist them in dealing with their sadness and allow them to move around.
Personal Hygiene and Self-Care
“If Mom ain’t happy, nobody’s happy,” goes the old saying. A lot of truth may be gleaned from the statement. Parents set the tone of family relations. Helping children cope with their grief is one of the most important responsibilities of parents.
First and foremost, they must ensure that they properly care for their own needs. Every parent’s experience with a recent miscarriage is unique. It’s okay to get distracted, but don’t try to run away from your pain.
Don’t succumb to the temptation to occupy yourself with other pursuits to avoid the pain of your loss. Grieving is a way of acknowledging that your miscarriage was significant and painful.
Friends and family may be great sources of encouragement and support. Seek someone who can simply listen and isn’t concerned with “fixing” problems when you share your feelings. Talking to others who have had a miscarriage can be a source of comfort. Sharing with another person can be incredibly helpful if the other person is coping well with their loss.
Following a miscarriage, you may suffer from depression. This is not out of the ordinary. After a miscarriage, you may also feel complicated grief, anxiety problems, or even PTSD.
Counseling is not a show of weakness if you are unhappy or anxious after losing a pregnancy.
Talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing grief that’s beyond “normal” grieving. They can help you get the support you need. During this trying time, it’s more important than ever to prioritize your own well-being before that of your loved ones.
What’s at Stake
As parents, we frequently do everything we can to shield our children from the pain and heartache of life’s challenges. Children may feel more alienated and terrified as a result of our trying to protect them.
There are several ways in which children’s grief differs from that of adults’ grief. In addition, if a child sees their parents in distress, they may try to cheer them up in whatever way they can. Grieving parents may see this conduct as a sign that their child isn’t affected by the death.
As a parent, it may be tough for you to talk about the loss with your kids. Only you know how to help your loved ones cope with their loss. It is possible that what works for someone else may not be the greatest option for you.
You’ll hear a lot of advice from your friends about dealing with the grief process, but what works for your friends with their children may not work for you and your children. Make the best decision for your child’s well-being by relying on your abilities.
Pregnancy Loss Books for Children
Pregnancy loss is a complex topic to discuss with young children, but there are many books that might help, such as:
- Janice Cohn and Gail Owens’ Molly’s Rosebush. An anecdote about Molly’s mother’s miscarriage is featured in this book, aimed at youngsters between the ages of 4 and 7. Her family plants a rose bush as they work through their loss.
- Pat Schwiebert and Taylor Bill’s We Were Going to Have a Baby, But We Got an Angel instead. To assist parents in better communicating pregnancy loss to their children, this 24-page picture book is available.
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