Grief & Loss Resources

Dealing with Grief & Loss

Losing a child is one of the most painful experiences a family can have. If you are here because of a loss, we want to support you. A word from our founder: My name is Bethany Weathersby and I am the founder of the Allo Hope Foundation. I lost my daughter at 19 weeks to anti-Kell antibodies. There truly is no pain in the world like the death of a child. I hate that we have to have a baby loss section on our website but unfortunately this is a part of this disease for some families. I hope that we can support you and walk alongside you as you navigate this difficult road. I will include my personal experience in each section below in hopes that you will feel a little less alone. Nearly one in four pregnancies end in loss.

Helpful Resources

Bereavement doulas are specially trained to provide physical, emotional and informational support to families experiencing miscarriage or stillbirth. A bereavement doula can provide comfort and support in lots of different ways such as: accompanying you to appointments, assisting with the birth, taking photos, helping you make memories and keepsakes, providing lactation and postpartum support, helping with funeral arrangements, providing grief resources and supporting you in the days and weeks after your loss. Bethany says, “I did not have a bereavement doula or anyone to help me navigate the stillbirth of my daughter. I felt shocked, confused and alone. I did not know how to make the many tough decisions we were suddenly faced with. I remember asking one of my nurses, “How am I supposed to go through labor and delivery knowing my baby is dead?” She just teared up and said nothing. I desperately needed comfort, support and direction but no one was there to provide it for me. A bereavement doula would have been an incredible help to me and my husband during that time.” The links below can help connect you to a bereavement doula. Stillbirthday – A pregnancy loss is still a birthday. Marissa Peterson – Stillbirthday Doula. Connect with SBD Doulas Support Group.

No one ever expects to have to face the death of their child and then go through labor and delivery knowing their baby isn’t alive. Baby loss is often completely unexpected and not planned for, especially during an alloimmunized pregnancy. Despite the horrible circumstances, you still can have a say in aspects of the birth process so that you can experience the birth of your child in a way that honors their life and their death. Labor where the baby cannot help in delivery is often longer and more painful than other types of birth. Fear, worry, and stress all make birth more difficult. Try to keep your environment calm and relaxing, change positions, and focus only on giving birth. After your baby is here you can work on saying hello and goodbye.

Bethany says, “My labor and delivery experience was very similar to the labor and delivery process I went through with my two previous (living) babies. I was induced and once contractions became too painful I was given an epidural. Labor lasted about 15 hours and I delivered my baby vaginally. Out of all six of my births, this birth has remained the most physically painful. It seemed like the doctors were not as vigilant and attentive to certain things like my pain management since my daughter was already dead. In hindsight I wish I had had a birth plan ahead of time, even if it was just a discussion with the doctor about what I wanted during labor and delivery. I wish I had known to advocate for myself or have my husband advocate for me during the process but we were just too devastated at the time to think about it. “

You can find links to resources below that will help you create a birth plan and help you know what to expect during delivery.

Stillbirthday plans for at home and at the hospital.

Birth Plan – Crouse Hospital.

Birth Plan – Texas Pediatric Society.

Giving birth to a stillborn baby – Tommy’s.

After your baby is born you will be faced with many decisions such as:
Do you want to see/hold/photograph your baby?
Do you want an autopsy to be performed?
Will you choose burial or cremation?
Do you want family members to meet the baby as well?

It can feel completely overwhelming to have to make these decisions in the midst of such unfathomable grief and shock. You and your partner should make decisions based on what YOU are comfortable with. It is natural to feel overwhelmed by the thought of having to say goodbye to your baby so soon after meeting him or her, but try not to overlook the MEETING part. This is still a very special moment. You just had a beautiful baby that you are proud of. Try to savor this time with your new baby.

Most families choose to see their babies, hold them, spend time with them and take photographs with them after they are born. Some feel that it would be too traumatic to see their child. This is your personal decision but try to remember that this is the only chance you will get to see your baby and hold your baby. If you feel like it would be too painful to see your baby, maybe you could have someone else take photographs of your baby for you. The photos can be stored away in a special place so that they are available in the future if you ever decide that you do want to see pictures of your baby. Studies have shown that seeing your baby (even if it is not right away) is an important part of the grieving and healing process. Mothers who do not meet their little ones are at higher risks for depression and other mental health problems, trauma, and have a longer grief/healing process.

Some hospitals have CuddleCots available to give you more time with your baby. These cooled bassinets allow for grieving parents to keep their child in the room with them and have time to bond with their baby. You may change your child’s diaper, dress the baby, take remembrance portraits, make keepsakes, and simply be together. Time with your child greatly improves the healing process and can improve your mental health.

CuddleCots website.

The photographs of your baby will probably become your most treasured possessions. Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is a national organization that provides “the gift of remembrance portraits to parents experiencing the death of a baby”. Read one of the beautiful testimonials from the NILMDS website:

“When the hospital approached us about Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep I was unsure if I wanted images due to the great emotional pain I was in. The private portrait session was done with the utmost care, patience, sensitivity, and love. No one ever felt as though someone was there to just take ‘pictures’, but that you were there with us during the last moments while we held our daughter in our arms. The hospital staff and yourself has made this experience so much easier. We now know that in a blink of an eye the world you have built can come crashing down. Until now we have been like most couples, working way more than we should and focusing on things that we know now are not that important. We are closer as a family and have taken time to re-evaluate our lives. We now cherish every day. I strongly urge parents to take advantage of the service you provide. Working with you has helped to ease some of our pain and realize that we now have hope for the future.”

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep website.

Angel Pics offers professional portrait retouching.

Keepsakes are an important part of remembering your baby and healing. They can help you to bond with your baby and feel close to him/her in the weeks and months afterwards. Bethany says, “We got our daughter’s hospital bracelet, the gown and hat she wore, the blanket and pillow she used in the hospital and her footprints. We framed her footprints and had an artist write her name and date of birth on it. We treasure these special items that belonged to our Lucy. ” Here are a few keepsake ideas: My baby’s heartbeat bear records up to 20 seconds of your baby’s heartbeat or a message from you to your child. La Belle Dame creates beautiful memorial jewelry and cards. Angel Babies provides clothing and blankets for stillborn babies.

Farewell celebrations can be a meaningful way to honor your baby. You can have a traditional funeral, family memorial service or you may choose to remember your baby in a different way.

Bethany says, “We had a memorial service for our daughter at our church a week after she died. We invited only close friends and family. Since she was cremated and we were not doing a traditional burial we displayed photos of Lucy, her blanket, pillow, gown and hat. Her father and I spoke about how much Lucy meant to us and my friend sang a couple of songs I had picked out. We read scripture and planted an oak tree in her memory (her middle name means oak tree).”

Some ways you might want to honor your baby:

    • Light a candle (in person or online).
    • Light a paper lantern.
    • Name a star after your baby.
    • Create a birth and/or death announcement for the newspaper, family/friends, or as a keepsake.
    • Make your baby’s name or birth verse into something significant (a craft, painting, or jewelry).
    • Create a custom picture frame with your baby’s name.
    • Start a blog.
  • Donate your breast milk.

Recurring things that you can do to help others in honor of your baby:

    • Donate blood or plasma to help other women with antibodies.
    • Participate in research relating to HDFN.
  • Host a birthday fundraiser to support organizations close to your heart or to provide RhoGAM to women who cannot afford it.

“Mothers who experience pregnancy & infant loss are at risk of developing major postpartum depression. The risk of this depression is highest within the first six months after birth.”

The emotional trauma of losing a child can impact every area of life and often leads to postpartum depression and/or post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD.) Exercise, medication, counseling and meditation or some of the things that you can do to heal.

Bethany says, “I struggled with depression, anxiety and PTSD after losing my daughter and being told that I couldn’t have any more children. I saw a grief counselor once per week for seven months after my daughter died. She helped me learn how to live with my grief and she used a treatment called EMDR to treat my PTSD. Some other things that helped me keep my head above water were: my faith, daily exercise, starting a blog, medication, books, podcasts, helping other allo moms, joining discussion groups, donating plasma and finding something to look forward to (even something as small as a camping trip or a haircut). “

Still Unanswered, Always Remembered: The Powerful Legacy of Stillbirth – Ann Douglas.

maternal mental health hotline: 1-833-943-5746

Taken from

    • COPEline offers phone support (leave a message if it’s after hours and a volunteer will call you back): 516.364.COPE (2673)
    • National Council of Jewish Women free phone support (212) 687-5030 ext. 28 or at
    • US National Suicide Prevention Hotline offers 24/7 confidential support: 800.273.TALK
    • Grassroots Crisis Hotline: 410.531.6677
    • SIDS Hotline (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome): 800.232.SIDS (7437)
    • Canada Crisis Line: 888.322.3019
    • Canada Suicide Prevention Hotline: 877.435.7170
    • Befrienders offers crisis support and suicide prevention by country
You are not alone.

Nearly 1 in 4 pregnancies end in loss.
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