Taking Care of Your Emotional Health after a Loss

There is not a timeline for when you will feel better emotionally, and things may never truly “return to normal,” so it is important to be patient and loving toward yourself and your loved ones. Taking care of both your physical and emotional health is necessary for your overall healing process. Here are some recommendations for self-care:

  • Focus on getting sleep every night.
  • Keep hydrated by drinking water or juice. Avoid caffeine (in coffee, tea and soda) in the afternoon, as these items may make it hard for you to sleep.
  • Eat healthy food, such as fruits and vegetables. Stay away from junk food, fast food and too many sweets.
  • Avoid drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with the sadness and anger you may be feeling.
  • Try to do something active every day once you have been medically cleared by your provider.
  • Go for a walk. Get outside for a while. Feel the warmth of the sunshine on your face.
  • Seek out quiet moments for meditation or prayer.
  • Write your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Start a blog. Find ways to express what you are thinking and feeling.
  • Practice deep breathing, taking in slow, deep breaths through your nose and then releasing the air slowly through your mouth.
  • Read books and poems or listen to music that you like and find comforting.
  • Practice progressive muscle relaxation: Lie on a bed or couch and simply be aware of your entire body.
  • Begin by focusing attention on your toes and work your way up to the top of your head. Note any tension or physical discomfort. Contract your muscles in each of those areas and then, with a big exhale, let the tension drop away.
  • Ask others for help and support. Tell them exactly what they can do for you. Ask them to help with childcare, pet sitting, grocery shopping, making meals, or just spending time with you at home.
  • Talk about your thoughts and feelings with your partner, family members and other supportive loved ones.
  • Join a support group of other parents or couples who have also experienced a pregnancy loss.
  • Try not to make big changes in your life (like moving to a new place or taking a new job) right away. Wait a few months. Give yourself time to grieve the loss of your pregnancy.
  • Consider creating a memory box with special mementos and meaningful items and/or find ways that are meaningful to you to honor your child. This could be in the form of planting flowers or a tree, or finding another ritual for your family, if you wish.

Next Steps
Forget me not flowers

Loss Resources

If you have experienced a loss in pregnancy or loss of a child, we hope you’ll find these resources helpful to you during this difficult time.

Pregnant Mom with Dad Hands on Belly

Perinatal Palliative Care and Bereavement

CHOP offers perinatal palliative care services to support families who learn that their baby is at high risk of dying either before or shortly after birth.