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Dealing with grief

  • Everyone grieves in his own way. It’s OK to feel like you do.
  • Your grief may feel overwhelming. Ask for help if you need it.
  • Take as much time as you need to grieve.
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Remembering your baby

When you are ready, it's important for you and your family to remember your baby in ways that are special. Even if you may not have had the chance to see, touch or hold him or even give him a name, there are things you can do to help you remember your baby.

Collect things that remind you of your baby. These might be ultrasound pictures, footprints, a hospital bracelet, photos, clothes, blankets or toys. Put them in a special box or scrapbook. Do or make something special to remember your baby. You may want to:

  • Light a candle on special days and holidays.
  • Say a prayer.
  • Write a poem.
  • Paint a picture.
  • Plant a tree or a small garden.
  • Have a piece of jewelry made, perhaps with the baby's birthstone.
  • Donate to a charity or give something to a needy child who is about the same age as your baby would be.
  • Get involved in a special project dedicated to your baby, such as raising money to build a swing set in a park in your baby’s name, or volunteer for a local charity.
  • Have a service to honor your baby. This can be a memorial service, funeral, or saying Kaddish (the Jewish prayer for the dead). It can be at your home or at your place of worship. It can be with just a few people or with all friends and family. It may include burying your baby or spreading his ashes in a special place. A service can give you a chance to say goodbye to your baby. And it gives you a time to share your sorrow with family and friends.
  • Have a special time to remember. Pick a date that’s meaningful to you--your baby's birthday or the day he died. Do something on your own, or bring family and friends together to remember your baby.

Order bereavement materials

Order our resources for grieving families, including the booklet From Hurt to Healing.

Most common questions

How do you know if you’re clinically depressed?

Some grieving parents may show signs of depression. This is a medical condition in which a person has strong feelings of sadness that last for a long time. If you’re depressed, you may need special treatment from a health care provider.

Some signs that you may be depressed include:

  • Having little interest in usual activities or hobbies
  • Feeling tired all the time
  • Gaining or losing weight
  • Having trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
  • Thinking about suicide or death

If you think you may have depression, talk to your health care provider. Your provider can help treat your depression.

How long does grief last?

There’s no right amount of time to grieve. It takes as long as it takes. You may feel better in a few weeks or months. Or it may take longer. If you feel like your grief is lasting longer than it should, talk to your health care provider.

NICU Family Support®

Your gift helps provide comfort and support to families with a baby in the NICU.

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