Counselling for Mothers after baby loss:
The grief is intolerable, unimaginable and mothers are at risk of experiencing post-traumatic stress, anxiety and depression. Specialist counselling can improve the mental and emotional wellbeing of Mum and the rest of the family.
If Mum has other children it is vital to explore the impact on the family. Many women need to be supported to enter their ‘new world’ of living life without their baby, many will talk about how they no longer know how to be with friends, what to do or say in the workplace, and the impact of other family members. For example, her own mother/father, siblings etc.
Recent research has shown the impact on perinatal mental health of mum before falling pregnant again. It is proven that if Mum has not come to terms with the loss of her baby, her raised anxiety and stress can affect the new unborn baby she is carrying, not only whilst in utreo, but subsequently through that child’s life.
Counselling for Fathers after baby loss:
Specialist counselling is rarely offered to couples, let alone fathers it is common that he feels his wife/partner should be the one having the counselling as it was her body who felt the baby move and the one who went through labour. Generally, men tend to think that they have to be ‘the strong ones’ for their partners. It is also vital that dads have the opportunity to have some emotionally support and a space, which is confidential in order to explore his own emotions and how best to support his partner and his family.
Counselling for couples after baby loss:
This is an extremely testing time for any relationship, but sadly it is not uncommon to hear that couples separate after such a tragic loss. Counselling allows couples to explore feeling and emotions they may not wish to discuss when they are alone, as neither of them want to hurt each other. It is often the space when they realise that both men and women grieve but their timings may be different and that each may grieve in different ways. Counselling re-iterates that there is no right or wrong way to feel.
Counselling for siblings after baby loss:
Existing children within the family are also experiencing loss when a baby brother or sister dies. Even if the child is only a toddler, they sense that ‘something is wrong’ and it is common to see a change in their behaviour because of this. Research has shown that older children (approx. 6-8 yr olds) can develop a fear around death. Counselling can help the living children and help parents strike a balance with acknowledging and mourning the lost baby without over shadowing the living child.
How to learn to live with loss
Abigail’s Footsteps launched a new campaign in 2019, after realising the lack of support for bereaved families from the NHS, we fund counselling sessions with a specialist baby loss counsellor. We are working in partnership with Naomi at Lifecare Counselling, to offer private sessions from three Kent locations; Sevenoaks, Westerham and Bluewater Shopping Centre, The Place of Quiet, in Greenhithe.
If you have recently experienced a late miscarriage, fetal anomaly, stillbirth or neonatal loss and want to book in, or know of someone that would benefit from private counselling sessions please email for more details.
Abigail’s Footsteps is a member of the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance, in 2019 they published a campaign report, which revealed that 60% of bereaved parents surveyed felt they needed specialist psychological support for their mental health, but were not able to access it on the NHS. You can read the full report here; Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Bereaved parents falling through the gaps in mental health care. Following the report the Baby Loss Awareness Alliance have put forward a set of recommendations, including:
- Governments across the UK to undertake a review of current provision including an evaluation of models of best practice, involving parents and professionals.
- National guidance to help the NHS plan, fund, and deliver specialist psychological services.
- Training for GPs and other frontline healthcare workers to understand and assess the risk of bereaved parents developing a psychiatric illness.
Feedback from parents that have accessed our counselling...
Mum, baby stillborn at 31 weeks
“The past 6 weeks have really helped me to understand my grief, allowed me to talk through my feelings and allowed me to express my deepest thoughts. I am so grateful to of had this opportunity, it has helped me through the darkest moment of my life. I would recommend specialist counselling to any parent who has lost a baby. I am so grateful to Abigail’s Footsteps for funding this fantastic service.”
Mum, baby stillborn at 33 weeks
“I had never had counselling before, so I did not know what to expect. I realised that this was the first time I could really be open and honest about my inner thoughts, fear and feelings.
These sessions have been so valuable to me, not only about baby loss but about me personally too. I have decided to continue to see the counsellor for some further sessions.”
Mum, baby stillborn at 39 weeks
“The counselling sessions have changed me in ways I never thought about, I am now calmer, nowhere near as anxious as I was after losing my baby and now learning to live with my loss and cope with life.
It was really helpful to reflect on how losing my baby affected me parenting my living children – I did not want this experience to define who I was.”
Mum, baby stillborn at 37 weeks
“Thank you Abigail’s Footsteps, you will never know how grateful I am for your support, you have helped me in more ways than you realise.
I now realise the impact that these session has had on me and how I view others and myself. I have started to be more assertive and not let people take advantage or take me for granted.”
Mum, baby stillborn at 24 weeks
“I never realised how counselling could help empower me and help me get stronger despite all I have been through. Naomi has also taught me how to control my challenges instead of them overwhelming and controlling me. These sessions have exceeded all my expectations, I can’t thank Naomi and Abigail Footsteps enough.”