When we lost our son, we weren't sure what to do. We searched the internet for answers... Why did this happen? Could we have prevented it, and what do we do now? Our goal is to provide a resource center for you to learn, grieve, and educate others.
Firstly, we are so sorry for your loss. We've been in your shoes & want to provided what has helped us grieve the loss of our son, Bastion. Many of these link to articles that Autumn had written while grieving, if you'd like to read more.
This is going to be quite different for everyone. There are the 5 stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Which is just a basis point, not a tell-all. For me (Brandon), it came in the form of; shock, sadness, confusion/anger (why me?), shopping, donating, depression, and finally acceptance.
It was really important for us, as a couple, to talk with each other. If you aren't able to communicate your thoughts with your significant other, try talking with a parent, sibling, friend, or find a Facebook group. If you're still having trouble finding someone to talk to, there are plenty of books and videos made for this situation.
A therapist is highly beneficial. This helped us greatly in our first months without him.
I'd like to add a bit more of coping mechanisms we used:
• Retail Therapy - Boy did we shop. I set out to find something I could wear with Bastion's ashes. I found an Etsy shop that made a bracelet with my son's name engraved. We bought a weighted teddy bear, a shadow box, bracelets, beads to make bracelets, picture frames, the list goes on. Maybe this is considered unhealthy, but all of it made us feel better. At the very least, get a teddy bear to cuddle with (even better if you already had one ready for your baby). I can't tell you how much this helped.
• Donating - This was and still is a coping mechanism for us. We searched for charities to donate to, but had a hard time finding one that fit what we were looking for. We created Still Loved for this reason.
It is so important to get help if you are experiencing depression.
Please, if you have suicidal thoughts, seek help! Suicide hotline: 800-273-8255
Easy therapy access: BetterHelp, TalkSpace, or Online Counseling
If you're at the hospital, you may feel like you have no idea what to do. We don't want you to have regrets, so linked below will be a list of things to do with your stillborn or angel baby. Cherish any time you have. I don't think there will ever be a time where thinking of our stay in the hospital won't make me cry. I held him, talked to him, sang songs, showed him videos, and napped near him. But these are our only memories with him, outside of pregnancy.
Telling family and friends about your tragedy is difficult. Some people won't know what to say and some wont say anything at all. You have enough going on, don't worry about making others feel good or special. It's important to take care of yourself and your immediate family. The hardest part for us was telling our 2 year old -- "We thought we were giving our daughter the ultimate gift... a baby brother. Instead we set her up for the biggest let down of our lives."
We send parents handmade cards, so they know someone is thinking about their little one.
Often times, family and friends don't know what to do or say when you lose a loved one, even more-so stillborn child. During the first few months, you'll hopefully have a ton of support, but this typically stops. A year later when it's your child's birthday (or angelversary) bereaved parents may not hear anything from family or friends.
Birthday cards for your angel baby are FREE. We rely on donations to provide this service.
We have two types of cards we send out.
1. For the first year, we send a personalized / handmade birthday card. These cost us ~$5 to create and send.
2. For all subsequent birthdays, we'll still send out a card to honor your little one, but they wont be handmade. These cost ~$2.
It's simple, just fill out a form and we'll do the rest. Be sure to accurately fill out all of the information so you get the birthday card to the right place & on time.
Send us an email at SBSLFoundation@gmail.com to opt out of this service or to update your address.
While Still Loved Foundation is a charity, it's not my intention to force anyone to give to us. When we lost our baby boy, we did our best to turn our grief into something positive. We raised over $5k in 4 days to purchase a CuddleCot for a local hospital.
CuddleCots cost a little over $3k
For every $1k+ donated specifically towards a CuddleCot, we'll have your baby's name engraved on a plaque to be placed on it.
Facebook has an option on your birthday to donate to a non-profit. It'll be broadcasted to all of your friends that you are raising money for that cause. Still Loved isn't available yet as a FB donation option, but there are plenty of other charities you can choose from.
After you go through a tragedy like this, you find out that it is more common than you previously realized. Could your doctors have told you anything to help prevent this? Did they express to you that kicks counting can be a matter of life or death?
It is important to know that- this is in NO WAY your fault.
As you learn more about your situation, don't be afraid to share the information with friends and family. Hopefully they never have to go through the same experience. #BreakTheSilence
There is a lot of known and unknown information about stillbirths. We'll continue to update this with the most important frequently asked questions.
According to March of Dimes, "Common causes are; infections, defects, and complications like preeclampsia. Most women who have a stillborn baby can still get pregnant again and have a healthy baby."
We wrote about our experience on this, but the short version is, sometimes. Most obviously, avoid alcohol, drugs, and smoking. Aside from that, count your baby's kicks and pay attention for irregular movement. Don't be afraid to call your doctor. Everyone's experience is different.