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Moving towards recovery

Here are some coping techniques that may help you to manage your grief.

  • Be patient with yourself and your feelings. It is normal to have “good” and “bad” days over a long period. There is no time limit for grieving. Some days may seem better than others. Focus on getting through one day at a time.
  • Make your own decisions. People around you may suggest that you put away all reminders of your child, such as baby items or maternity clothes. Do not feel pressurised if you are not ready to do so. Take as much time as you need.
  • Keep a journal. Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a good outlet for your pain.
  • Self-care. Take care of yourself, have adequate rest and a balanced diet. Do not feel guilty about giving yourself a treat or doing things that you enjoy.
  • Time with others. Allow yourself to laugh and enjoy time with your family and close friends. It does not mean that you have stopped grieving, rather you recognise that life goes on outside the pain.
  • Seek support. Grieving is exhausting and too heavy a burden to bear alone. Share it with someone. You can choose to talk to your partner, or with a counsellor who specialises in working through grief.
  • Join a support group. Talking to others who have had similar experiences can be very comforting. You can contact the Child Bereavement Support for more information.
  • Creating memories of your unborn child. Creating something in memory of your unborn child can be a helpful way of continuing the loving bond you have with this child. It provides a tangible opportunity to recognise the importance of your child’s existence, often when others are encouraging you to move on. As time passes, parents find that these memories are often their greatest comfort.
    • Some things you can do:
      • Name your baby
      • Create a memory box of mementos of your pregnancy or baby including positive pregnancy test kit, photos of your blossoming belly, ultrasound scans, something special you bought for your baby, photographs of your baby, handprints or footprints of your baby
    • Write a letter/poem to your baby
    • Do what feels right for you to help you better remember your baby

Differences in coping between men and women

Men and women may deal with the loss differently. Some of these differences are presented below.



She has a higher need to talk about the loss, and tends to go over the event repeatedly trying to understand ‘why’ and ‘how’.

He feels uncomfortable having to talk about it frequently on an emotional level and prefers to avoid the topic.

She tends to withdraw, prefers to read up on grief and may choose to write as means of expressing her loss.

He immerses himself in work, hobbies or other activities to avoid the pain.

She expects him to grieve in a manner and pattern similar to herself and feels that he does not care when his grieving pattern is not similar to hers.

He needs personal space to grieve over the loss in his own manner and hates it when she imposes her feelings on him.

She tends to feel more sorrow.

He feels more anger, fear and loss of control.

She seeks to talk to others about the loss to gain support.

He prefers to avoid public sharing for fear of showing his pain to others.

She has a decreased pleasure for sexual intimacy and finds it unappealing to think about sex at this time.

He wants to have sexual intimacy to feel assured and comforted in this time of loss.

She may need 9 to 24 months to get recover from the loss.

He may need 3 to 6 months (or less) to recover from the grief.

Helpful suggestions for the couple

  • Engage in open communication about the loss with your partner. Share your individual perspective and meaning of the loss. This promotes connectedness as you both construct theories of healing together.
  • Do not be afraid to cry or to display strong emotions of loss to each other as this helps to validate each other’s feelings.
  • Accept that your partner may not cope in the same way that you do. Respect your partner’s preferred coping method. For example, women generally appreciate a listening ear from their partner while men may appreciate time to engage in activities to avoid thinking about the loss.
  • Help each other out with tasks, e.g. household chores, if the other party needs space to grief.
  • Sometimes, non-verbal actions, e.g. a touch or a hug can communicate more comfort than words.
  • Find something positive together in this experience or in each other, e.g. “Sure we dealt with things differently but at least we could talk to each other about it. It really brought us closer together.” Avoid blaming each other for the loss.
  • Find something to work on together as a team. This can help the couple to focus on something other than themselves and to emphasize their identity as a couple.