Psychological impacts of stillbirth | Baby Loss Awareness Week 2023
This week, Clarke Willmott are aiming to raise awareness about baby loss in the UK through Baby Loss Awareness Week 2023. There are numerous psychological impacts of stillbirth, especially as part of the parent’s future has now changed significantly due to the loss of their baby, and many stillbirths occur at near or full term after the parents have spent months preparing for their baby. Many individuals will experience psychiatric illness which requires specialist support, resulting from the trauma of their experience.
The emotions experienced following a stillbirth are complicated and have potential to cause both short-term and long-term psychological problems. The grieving parents may experience loss of self-esteem, loss of enjoyment and a negative perception over the aspiration to want a family. This grieving can feel like a very lonely process, due to the bond formed between the stillborn baby and the parents. Lack of understanding also plays a big part, as many parents may not understand what has happened to cause the death of their baby, and the hospitals do not always do a good job of explaining this either.
It is common for both parents to suffer from depression and think that they are not worthy of having another child or becoming parents. Some individuals may suffer from anxiety, and this may create a fear of making a new life. Many individuals may try to have another baby after a stillbirth; however some women cannot put themselves through the further trauma. It is important to understand that all individuals are affected differently and there is no correct way to feel in these circumstances.
A stillbirth can also psychologically impact wider family, especially siblings who are aware of what has happened, but may not fully understand the reasons behind this. A stillbirth may also cause a strain in relationships and sadly can cause many relationships to break down or make couples feel further pressure from family and friends to fall pregnant again.
There is plenty of support available to those in need through charities, and websites such as Baby Loss Awareness which provides a list of the relevant charities and further information regarding stillbirths. We work closely with Lily Mae Foundation who support families after baby loss. There are also support groups which you can attend both in person, or join online for example through Facebook. The important thing to remember is you are not on your own, even though it may feel like this at times.
If you have concerns about the treatment you received during your pregnancy and childbirth or if your baby has been injured as a result, you may be able to bring a medical negligence claim, and we can help you with this. Our compassionate team will take the time to listen to what has happened and advise you accordingly.
How do you get in touch?
You can contact our clinical negligence team who will be happy to assist on 0800 316 8892 or contact us online.